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Federer reigns supreme

Indian Wells: March 21, 2017, Agencies 0:39 IST

Swiss maestro beats compatriot Wawrinka in final; Vesnina wins women's title

CHAMPION: Switzerland's Roger Federer with the Indian Wells title on Sunday. Swiss ace beat Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 in the final. PTI photo

CHAMPION: Switzerland's Roger Federer with the Indian Wells title on Sunday. Swiss ace beat Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 in the final. PTI photo

A rejuvenated Roger Federer beat fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 in the BNP Paribas Open final on Sunday to earn a record-equalling fifth Indian Wells title and the distinction of being the tournament's oldest winner. The 35-year-old capped an impressive run in the California desert in which he did not lose a set.

"I have totally exceeded my expectations. My goal was to be top eight by Wimbledon," Federer, who will climb four spots to world number six on Monday, told Sky Sports courtside. "It's been just a fairytale week once again," said Federer.

"I'm not as surprised as I was in Australia, but still this comes as a big, big surprise to me, nevertheless, to win here again and beating the players that I did and the way I did.

"I couldn't be more happy. It's an absolute, huge start to the year for me. Last year I didn't win any titles. I don't think I was in any finals except maybe Brisbane last year. The change is dramatic, and it feels great,” he said.

Federer now joins Djokovic as a five-time winner at the event and becomes the oldest champion in the tournament's history, surpassing Jimmy Connors who was 31 when he triumphed in 1984.

The re-match of the Australian Open semifinal saw the close friends hold serve until the 10th game of the opening set when Federer, ahead 5-4, outlasted Wawrinka in a thrilling 21-shot rally for the service break.

Wawrinka came out firing in the second set as he became the first player to break Federer this fortnight and then saved a pair of break points in the next game to move ahead 2-0.

But Federer never wavered as he coolly won the next three games and then broke Wawrinka in the 12th game to close out the match in 80 minutes. While the defeat left Wawrinka an emotional wreck, with the teary-eyed US Open champion calling himself Federer's "biggest fan", the popular champion was left to soak up a standing ovation.

Vesnina triumphs
Elena Vesnina survived a battle of attrition and nerves to beat fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4 in the women’s final to secure the biggest title of her career.

After more than three hours in the scorching midday sun on the hard court, Vesnina finally clinched victory on her second championship point when eighth seed Kuznetsova sent a service return long.

The win marked by far the biggest title of Vesnina's career and will boost the 30-year-old to 13th in the world rankings, surpassing her current career-high of 15th reached last month.

Vesnina stared defeat in the face, down 4-1 in the second set before reeling off four consecutive games after starting to play more aggressive in an effort to keep the points short and conserve energy.

"Well, I was playing a bit more free when I was down in the score and I think Svetlana got a bit tight on some moment and I saw that and I just took my chances," the Ukrainian said.

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