Tennis: Federer and Azarenka win Indian Wells

Roger Federer may have won his 4th title at Indian Wells, his 19th career Masters-1000 title and his 73rd career title overall…but the story most are taking away from the BNP Paribas Open is the emergence of John Isner’s game.

Prior to yesterday’s final, John had two things going for him that have most fans convinced he can hang with the top-3 in Men’s Tennis today:

1. John’s 4-set Davis Cup victory over Roger on clay, in Switzerland back in February

2. The fact that he’d just gone three sets with World #1 Novak Djokovic, and beat the Serb in a 3rd set tie-break.

Unfortunately for John, Roger had more answers and more control of Isner’s big serve than Novak, and Federer walked away with another million dollar check.

We’ll see if the two meet again over the next two weeks in Miami as both the ATP and WTA head south for another Masters-1000 Event at the Sony Ericsson Open. With his performance in the Coachella Valley, John is now ranked World #10, just two paces behind Mardy Fish.

The Men’s Doubles Final saw a familiar face, as John Isner and Sam Querrey faced Rafael Nadal (who’d lost to Federer on Saturday) and Marc Lopez. Marc and Rafael picked up the win in a second-set tie-break…in a match featuring several mind-blowing points:

On the women’s side, Victoria Azarenka has yet to lose in 2012 – dominating Maria Sharapova again, a la the Australian Open Final. That’s 23 consecutive wins for Vika this year. Martina Hingis set the bar high back in ’97 with 37 consecutive victories before dropping a match.

Women’s doubles is a story of dominance, as well – as Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber earned the Indian Wells trophy…that’s their 4th straight title and 16th straight match win.

The other big storyline from the 2012 BNP Paribas Open, aside from the scattered showers and airborne stomach virus, was Ana Ivanovic. She was tearing it up at Indian Wells – playing out of her mind – but in her semifinal with Sharapova, she aggravated her left hip and had to retire. She’ll receive an MRI on the hip this week.

From one to another, I need to extend big ups to Andrew Krasny, as well. He’s the announcer at Indian Wells, along with a number of other tournaments on the circuit. Thanks to ABC’s coverage, I finally got a chance to see and hear Andrew emcee trophy ceremonies – and I thought he did a fantastic job. I enjoyed his mix of formality, while at the same time – keeping it light and relatable. It was nice to see television step back from the stage and ‘cover’ a ceremony that caters to the ticket-holder, rather than ‘owning’ the stage focused mostly on the viewer, slumped on the couch. Thank you ABC – and well done, Andrew…have a great show in Miami.

2012 Indian Wells Results:

Men’s Final – Roger Federer over John Isner 7-6(7), 6-3

Women’s Final – Victoria Azarenka over Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-3

Women’s Doubles Final – Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond over Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-3

Men’s Doubles Final – Marc Lopez and Rafael Nadal over John Isner and Sam Querrey 6-2, 7-6(3)

Next up: The Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, where Djokovic and Vika are defending champs. (Novak beat Rafa in 3-sets last year, Vika defeated Sharapopva in two). Venus Williams will also play in Miami, granted a wildcard entry into the main draw.