photo credit: matteo_dudek
The Indian Wells Open Men’s Singles Final was between the No.7 seed Andy Roddick and No.20 seed Ivan Ljubicic. The American went into the final with a 7-3 advantage in his previous meetings with Ljubicic and the support of the crowd.
The last match they played was 3 years ago also at Indian Wells where Roddick won 2 tie-breaks by 9 points to 7 and then 10 points to 8. This year went very much along the same lines with the match being decided by 2 tie-breaks with Ljubicic winning 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) on his 4th Championship point.
The standard of tennis in the final was very high and put that together with how close, intense and fiercely competitive both players were and you have the sort of final that you can only hope for. Both players went head to head all the way through the match. Each player won 12 service games, saved all break points against their serve – including coming back from 0-40 AND won exactly the same amount of points each in both sets so finished with 84 points a piece.
The battle of the big servers and aggressive games was decided in the tie breaks in which Ljubicic held firm and was able serve aces, unreturnable serves whereas Roddick’s serve was neutralised with Ljubicic being able to go on the attack after returning the Roddick serve. Roddick played a more defensive game despite his 1.88m frame, where he fought valiantly chasing down the Croatian’s attacks, throwing up lobs and really hustling, reminiscent of Michael Chang.
As predicted in The Men’s Singles Final Preview, the final was decided by the player who was able to be aggressive, dictate the points and serve better under pressure. Ljubicic is pictured above after having made contact with this forehand drive. Ljubicic was playing the best tennis and fully deserved to win his first ever ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title where he defeated 3 Top 10 players.
Ljubicic peaked in the tie-break of his last 3 sets in Indian Wells, which were all tie-breaks, the final set against Rafael Nadal & both in the final. Ljubicic spoke about the tie-breaks: “I think it was more mental. Both tie-breaks I felt more relaxed, especially in the second tie-break. In fact, there was some strange things happening by the end of that match, but that just shows you how relaxed I was.”
The 31 year old Ljubicic is now 4-7 against Roddick and has moved up from No.26 to No.13 from his great performance. Ljubicic has set his sights on trying to qualify for the ATP Tour Finals in London after the final he said, “I want to fight for London and try to finish Top 10 another year,” he said.
Ljubicic has finished in the Top 10 for 3 of the years in his career and with the form his consistently displayed in defeating Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roddick looks set for his best Wimbledon later in June.
Another player aiming to peak at Wimbledon is Roddick who is in good form. The Indian Wells final match had far more winners than unforced between the 2 players, which is a great indicator of the quality of play. Combined there were 73 winners to 45 unforced errors whereas the majority of matches end with more unforced errors than winners.
The 27 year old Roddick said, “I played well. I hit the ball real well, even today, I felt like I was winning my fair share of the rallies once we got into them. I just ran into a guy who served great on the big points.”
Stay tuned to this tennis website for further coverage of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events and Grand Slam tournaments. Next up is the Miami Open, click this link for more details ->Miami 2010: March 22-April 4.
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