Roger Federer marched into the fourth round at the Miami Masters following his 6-3, 6-4 victory over Juan Martin Del Potro. He will now take on 14th-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut who came from a set behind to defeat Mexican Open champion Sam Querrey in the third round.
Federer is now inching closer to winning the Sunshine Double i.e. winning the Indian Wells and Miami Masters in the same year. Winning both tournaments itself is a great achievement, and winning them in the same year is something that’s considered one of the toughest feats in tennis.
Greats like Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis and Rafael Nadal have never achieved the coveted Sunshine Double. However, over the years, there have been a few standout players who have been able to achieve this feat. Take a look.
#1 Jim Courier – 1991
The first player to complete the Sunshine Double was former World No. 1 Jim Courier in 1991. At the time, the Indian Wells Masters was known as the Newsweek Champions Cup and the final used to be played in the “best of five sets” format.
Courier was the 16th seed and he stunned higher-ranked players like Andre Agassi, Emilio Sanchez and Michael Stich en route to the final where he defeated 3rd seed Guy Forget in five exciting sets.
Courier followed this with a victory at the Miami Masters (then known as the Lipton International Championships) where he was the 13th seed. He once again defeated Forget, this time in the fourth round, before beating fellow Americans Derrick Rostagno, Richey Reneberg, and David Wheaton en route to his only title at Miami.
This was the start of a purple patch for Courier as he went on to win the French Open and reach the final of the US Open later that year.
#2 Michael Chang – 1992
After Courier, the Sunshine Double was completed in the very next year, this time by 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang. At Indian Wells, Chang was the 12th seed and did not win a match in straight sets until the quarter-finals where he defeated Russian Andrei Cherkasov.
Chang thrashed Spaniard Francisco Clavet 6-0, 6-1 in the semi-finals before beating another Russian Andrei Chesnokov (whom he had beaten in the semis of the 1989 French Open) in the final in straight sets.
The American was the sixth seed at Miami and defeated Pete Sampras and defending champion cum top seed Jim Courier in the semi-finals in straight sets to reach the final where he beat 20th-seeded Argentine Alberto Mancini 7-5, 7-5 to complete the Sunshine Double.
#3 Pete Sampras – 1994
The third player to complete the Sunshine Double was 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras in 1994. Sampras was having a terrific year, having won the Australian Open, and was the top seed coming into Indian Wells.
The American won his first three matches in straight sets before beating Stefan Edberg in a closely contested semi-final in three sets. He then came back from a set down to beat 10th seeded Czech Petr Korda in the final to win his first ever title at Indian Wells.
Sampras was the defending champion and top seed at the Miami Masters and once again defeated Korda, this time in the quarter-finals. He then beat Jim Courier in straight sets to set up a final against rival Andre Agassi.
Sampras came back from a set down to beat his American counterpart 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 to defend his title at Miami and complete the Sunshine Double.
#4 Steffi Graf – 1994, 1996
Along with Sampras, a woman also completed the Sunshine Double in 1994, thus becoming the first female tennis player to do so. She was none other than the mighty Steffi Graf. Back then, the Indian Wells Masters was known as the Evert Cup (for women) and Graf was the top seed.
The German won the tournament by defeating Amanda Coetzer in the final in straight sets. She did not lose a single set and dropped only 16 games throughout the course of the tournament.
Graf was the previous year’s runner-up at Miami and was the top seed going into the tournament. She did not drop a single set en route to the final where she would meet Natasha Zvereva. Zvereva took the first set 6-4 but Graf rebounded by taking the next two sets 6-1, 6-2 to win her first title at Miami and become the first woman to complete the Sunshine Double.
In 1996, Graf became the first player to complete the Sunshine Double twice as she won at both Indian Wells and Miami, beating Conchita Martinez and Chanda Rubin in the finals, respectively.
#5 Marcelo Rios – 1998
Chile’s Marcelo Rios became the first non-American to complete the Sunshine Double. He attained this feat in 1998 when he was at his peak. At Indian Wells, the 7th-seeded Rios avenged his Australian Open final defeat to Petr Korda by defeating the Czech in straight sets in the quarter-finals.
He then went on to defeat wildcard Jan-Michael Gambill in the semi-finals before beating then-US Open runner-up Greg Rusedski in the final in four sets to become the first and till date, only South American player to win at Indian Wells.
At Miami, Rios was the third seed and did not drop a single set before the semi-finals where he beat Brit Tim Henman in three sets to set up a final against Andre Agassi. Rios defeated Agassi in straight sets to complete the Sunshine Double and become the first Chilean player to be ranked World No. 1.
#6 Andre Agassi – 2001
Andre Agassi has numerous records at both Indian Wells and Miami including the most number of tournaments played at Indian Wells with 18, most number of finals at the Miami Masters with 8 and joint-most number of titles at Miami with 6.
At the Indian Wells Masters, the fourth-seeded Agassi defeated Lleyton Hewitt in the semi-finals to reach his first final at Indian Wells in six years. In the final, the American defeated arch-rival Pete Sampras to win his first title at Indian Wells.
At the Miami Masters, Agassi defeated another American in Jan-Michael Gambill to win his fourth title and complete the Sunshine Double.
#7 Roger Federer – 2005, 2006
Roger Federer has completed the Sunshine Double twice, the first of which came in 2005. At Indian Wells, Federer dominated throughout as he did not drop a single set en route to his title defence where he beat 2nd seed Lleyton Hewitt in the final.
At the Miami Masters, Federer was up against Rafael Nadal (who was seeded 29th) in the final. Nadal took the first two sets but the Swiss held his nerve to come back and win the match, thereby claiming his first ever title at Miami and completing the Sunshine Double.
Federer successfully defended his title at Indian Wells in 2006 by defeating James Blake in the final in straight sets. He then defeated Blake once again, in the quarter-finals of the Miami Masters and defeated David Ferrer in the semi-finals to set up a final against Croat, Ivan Ljubicic.
Federer defeated Ljubicic in straight sets; both of which were decided by a tie-breaker. In the process, the Swiss became the first man to complete the Sunshine Double twice and the second player after Steffi Graf.
#8 Kim Clijsters – 2005
It is not much of a surprise that Kim Clijsters has completed a Sunshine Double but it’s an enormous surprise that she did it in 2004. The Belgian had to deal with injuries that year and in the beginning of 2005 which resulted in her ranking dropping to 133 ahead of the Indian Wells Masters.
Clijsters staged one of the most remarkable comebacks of her career at the 2005 Indian Wells Masters as she won the title by defeating Elena Dementieva in the semi-finals before beating top seed Lindsay Davenport in the final to win her second title at Indian Wells.
She had an even better tournament at Miami as she defeated four Top 5 players in Anastasia Myskina, Elena Dementieva, Amelie Mauresmo, and Maria Sharapova; all in straight sets, en route to her first title in Miami, thus becoming the second female tennis player to complete the Sunshine Double.
Clijsters went on to win her first Grand Slam title at the US Open later that year.
#9 Novak Djokovic – 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016
Novak Djokovic has numerous records to his name but one that people might not be familiar with is that he has completed the Sunshine Double four times.
The first of these came in 2011 which was arguably the best season of his career. The Serb beat Roger Federer in the semi-finals before defeating Rafael Nadal in the final in three sets to capture his second Indian Wells crown. He beat Nadal again, this time in the Miami Masters final, to win his second title and complete the Sunshine Double.
He completed the Double again in 2014 by defeating Federer in the final of the Indian Wells Masters before beating Nadal in the Miami final. Djokovic scripted history in 2015 by completing the Sunshine Double a record third time by beating Federer and Murray at the finals of Indian Wells and Miami respectively.
The Serb then bettered his own record last year by completing the Double for the fourth time. He defeated Milos Raonic in the Indian Wells final before defeating Kei Nishikori for a record-equaling sixth Miami Masters title.
#10 Victoria Azarenka – 2016
Azarenka had injury issues in 2014 and 2015 which lowered her rankings drastically but she made a remarkable comeback in 2016. After reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, Azarenka withdrew from the Mexican Open. Her next tournament was the Indian Wells Masters where she was the 13th seed.
The Belarussian shocked the world by beating Serena Williams in the final in straight sets to win her second title at Indian Wells. She continued her good form at the Miami Masters where she avenged her Australian Open quarter-final defeat to Angelique Kerber before beating Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final to win her third Miami Masters title and complete the Sunshine Double.