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2019 Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open Final, Roger Federer vs Dominic Thiem: Preview and Prediction

726   //    17 Mar 2019, 14:35 IST

Federer and Thiem at 2018Nitto ATP Finals
Federer and Thiem at 2018Nitto ATP Finals

The disappointment of Nadal’s withdrawal has definitely taken out some gloss from the 2019 BNP Paribas Open tournament. The whole tennis world was looking forward to a match between two of the greatest players ever, after a gap of more than one and a half years!

But there is still a lot to look forward to in the summit clash of the Indian Wells Masters. It was here last year that Roger Federer’s season had nosedived after his loss in the final to Juan Martin del Potro.

A loss this year could have a similar effect on the ageing star. On the other hand, a win here could mean that he would have two back to back high profile titles, catapulting him to even bigger heights later this season.

Similarly, his opponent in the final is the unassuming Austrian, a great talent and a thorough gentleman, who is a breath of fresh air among the new generation of stars known for their brashness. In a way, he is similar to the great Swiss maestro when it comes to his on-court conduct.

If Dominic Thiem could manage a win here, it would be a thoroughly deserved first Masters title for the Austrian. Though he is known more for his exploits on clay which includes him reaching the French Open final last year, he is no pushover on other surfaces as well.

Of his two wins against Federer out of the four they have played against each other, one was on Federer’s favourite surface – grass – at 2016 Stuttgart Open semi-final. But this will be their first clash in the final of a tournament.

Though there is no doubt that Federer is the favourite, Thiem could yet spring a surprise the way del Potro did here last year. One is not sure an extra day of rest would necessarily be helpful for Federer. He would be well-rested, but lack of competitive matches could prove to be his undoing here.

Moreover, Thiem has been in excellent form in this tournament. He played one of his best hard court matches against Milos Raonic in the semi-final. He won a tight three-setter against the Canadian, and a lot of credit goes to the way he served. He won 82% of his first serve points and a creditable 67% on his second serve. He broke the big-serving Canadian once and served well enough to not be broken even once.

BNP Paribas Open - Day 13
BNP Paribas Open - Day 13

If he plays that well against Federer, he certainly has a chance to etch his name as one of the very few players who has won on each surface against Federer.

Prediction: Roger Federer to win in 3 Sets

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