Roger Federer: Swiss can flourish in Indian Wells after ending trophy hoodoo
By Barry Cowan. Last Updated: 02/03/14 4:02pm
Roger Federer has got his confidence back - and that spells danger for tennis' big guns.
That is the view of Sky Sports pundit Barry Cowan after Federer won his 78th career singles title by coming from a set and a break down to conquer Tomas Berdych in Dubai.
The Swiss had previously failed to collect any silverware since beating Russia's Mikhail Youzhny, on grass, in the final of the Gerry Weber Open in June.
Federer was subsequently sent packing in the second round of Wimbledon by Sergiy Stakhovsky and in the fourth round of the US Open by Tommy Robredo.
But the 32-year-old showcased his glittering array of skills en route to making the semi-finals of the 2014 Australian Open, and after ending his trophy hoodoo in the United Arab Emirates, Cowan feels Federer could thrive in Indian Wells and Miami.
"Roger didn't play his best but that will give him heart as there have been doubts about his ability to close out big matches," said Cowan, about the 17-time Grand Slam Champion, whose win in Dubai was his sixth in that event.
"Towards the end, though, he felt comfortable, moved better, struck the ball well and, at times, didn't look like he was going to miss - but this has been coming so he has a chance of winning big events."
Federer's victory lifted him above John McEnroe (77) in the list of singles titles amassed in the Open Era, though he remains a distant third overall behind Jimmy Connors (109) and Ivan Lendl (94).
The former world number one will next get to tackle the world's best in the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells - a tournament the Basel-born shot-maker has won a record four times before, most recently in 2012, when he edged home favourite John Isner in the final.
"Roger played the big points better than Berdych and came forward well."
Cowan feels Federer's new-found penchant for coming into the net bodes well ahead of the hard-court competition, which you can see live on Sky Sports from Saturday evening.
But he believes the Stefan Edberg-coached star - who toppled Novak Djokovic in the last four in Dubai - must strengthen his serving game to make in-roads in California following a period of slackness in that department against Berdych.
"Roger played the big points better than Berdych and came forward well," added Cowan. "But the biggest thing is that he won a title, something he hasn't put himself in a position do for a while.
"He gave Berdych too many looks at his serve, though, and got hit off the court at some points so he must improve that."