ATP Indian Wells: Stan Wawrinka powers into first final

ATP Indian Wells: Stan Wawrinka powers into first final

Stan Wawrinka will contest his first career Masters 1000 final on hard courts on Sunday after blowing out Pablo Carreno Busta on Saturday.

pete-borkowski
Pete Borkowski

Third seed Stan Wawrinka is through to his fourth career Masters 1000 final, his first in Indian Wells and first on hard courts, after cruising past first-time Masters 1000 semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta to reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday. The Swiss was dominant from start to finish, never so much as facing a deuce, let alone a break point on his own serve. Wawrinka needed a mere hour and six minutes to race past his Spanish opponent 6-3, 6-2.

Late breaks goes to Wawrinka

The match-up seemed uneven on paper going into the match, with Wawrinka being a three-time major champion contesting his ninth Masters 1000 semifinal, while Carreno Busta was in uncharted territory, having advanced past the third round of a Masters 1000 for only the second time in his career, and first time in almost three years. But the Spaniard was not overwhelmed by the occasion, matching his experienced opponent shot for shot in the early stages. Through the first five games of the match, neither man was able to put any real pressure on their opponent’s serve.

Pablo Carreno Busta hits a backhand during his semifinal loss. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Pablo Carreno Busta hits a backhand during his semifinal loss. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Wawrinka started to take control of the match in the sixth game, when he reached a break point for the first time in the match. Carreno Busta would respond and hold, but he could only keep the Swiss at bay for so long. In the Spaniard’s next service game, Wawrinka raced ahead 15-40 and this time would not be denied, converting the first break point to take a 5-3 lead. The third seed wrapped up the set with a hold to love.

Swiss powers into final

After the pair split the opening two games of the second set, Wawrinka got back to work on return. An epic third game saw Carreno Busta save four break points, squander three game points and face seven deuces before his resistance finally crumbled. The Swiss converted his fifth break point of the game to take a break lead in the second set. He easily consolidated with a hold to love for a 3-1 lead.

Wawrinka lines up a backhand on Saturday in Indian Wells. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Wawrinka lines up a backhand on Saturday in Indian Wells. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Spaniard could not hang with his veteran opponent as the set progressed. The conclusion of the second set was identical to that of the first. Wawrinka would break to 15 to give himself a chance to serve out the set, this time at 5-2, at booked his place in the final with another hold to love. The Swiss only lost three points on serve in the second set.

By the numbers

Wawrinka dominated his service games, winning 80 percent of his first serve points and a strong 76 percent of second serve points. The Swiss only lost ten points on serve in the entire match and did not face a break point. He was also impressive on return, overcoming Carreno Busta’s impressive 80 percent of first serves in by winning 45 percent of the Spaniard’s first serve points and took advantage of what few missed first serves he saw, winning 50 percent of his second serve return points.

The world number three is through to his fourth career Masters 1000 final and first since winning Monte Carlo in 2014. All three of Wawrinka’s previous Masters 1000 finals were played on clay courts. In the final, Wawrinka will renew his rivalry with fellow Swiss Roger Federer. Federer dominates their head-to-head 19-3, having won their last three meetings, including their most recent meeting in the Australian Open semifinals back in January in five sets, although Wawrinka beat Federer for his lone Masters 1000 title, which was also their only meeting in a Masters 1000 final. However, Federer has won all 14 of their meetings on clay, with all three of Wawrinka’s wins coming on clay. 

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