Federer wins Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Yesterday, in Indian Wells, California, Roger Federer, the top ranked tennis player in the world, defeated James Blake 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 to win his third consecutive Pacific Life Open, part of the ATP Masters Series. Blake held an early lead 4-1 in the first set, but Federer came back and dominated the last two sets. Federer is the first player to win three Pacific Life Opens in a row since 1976. Federer remained at number 1, while Blake moved up from 14th to 9th in the world rankings.

Federer struggled to find his game at first, but he caught on to Blake's playing style during the start of the game. "He played aggressively, took the ball early, put away his forehands when he could, didn't miss on the backhand, made me run around," Federer said. "That's usually what I do. He gave me a little bit of my own medicine." Federer has now won three titles this year, one of them being the Australian Open. He has a 22-1 record, with his only loss going to Rafael Nadal at the Dubai Tennis Championship. His final statement was, "It was a hard-fought battle in the beginning. Really got the better of me in the beginning, so I had to react and not panic. I did a good job there. In the end, I played fantastic tennis with some great shots once again ... the form is excellent right now."

Blake took out 2nd seeded Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and nearly cruised through the first set. Unfortunately, he made just enough mistakes in the end of the set for Federer to pull through after a 5-4 lead. Blake is now 19-5 for the year, with wins at the Sydney International and the Tennis Channel Open. After the match, he said, "A couple of shots he was swinging at, you could tell, just he had that confidence where he feels like he's not going to miss. Everything was going in ... here are a lot of guys that can go through little runs like that, three or four games where they feel like they can't miss, you wait it out, wait it out, then you get your chance. I couldn't wait any longer. He's one of the guys that can keep it up. He kept it up for that whole set, probably set and a half really. Actually, from early in the second set, he was playing like that. It's tough to combat that. It's been a great week. This stings right now. I think as long as I'm a competitor, as long as I'm on tour, it's always going to sting after a loss. But I'll just reflect on the fact that it's a good week, I moved up in the rankings played some great tennis, had some fun out here."