SONY ERICSSON OPEN 2012
Federer The Form Player To Beat
by Matt Fitzgerald|
World No. 3 Roger Federer comes into the Sony Ericsson Open as the most in-form player on the ATP World Tour. Since losing to John Isner in a Davis Cup World Group first round singles rubber, Federer has reeled off 15 straight victories, lifting trophies in Rotterdam, Dubai and most recently, in Indian Wells.
The Swiss has a chance to pull off an unprecedented third ‘Indian Wells–Miami double’, and is driven by the challenge of the achievement.
“I'd love to win another double, [at] Indian Wells and Miami,” Federer said Thursday. “I've done it twice before. I know how to do it, but I know how difficult it is. Just because I'm playing well doesn't mean that the rest of the group is not.”
After falling to Novak Djokovic in a spellbinding semi-final at last year’s US Open, Federer has dug deep to send a message to his competitors that he still possesses the game to compete with the world’s best, winning three consecutive tournaments to close the 2011 season, including a record-breaking sixth Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
“I'm just happy I have been able to win six out of eight tournaments. It's special,” said Federer. “I come into this tournament hoping to survive the first round. Let's be honest, that is my focus right now.”
In the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals, Federer put together a complete performance to avenge his Australian Open semi-final loss to Rafael Nadal, and followed it up by knocking off Isner in the final to win his fourth Indian Wells crown.
“I think you go into a new tournament after winning one before with a lot of confidence, so that's the good thing,” believes Federer. “Do I feel more pressure? Not really, just because I have been around for so long that I know how to handle pressure situations.”
Federer has had moderate success of late in Miami, unable to reach the final since winning back-to-back titles in 2005-2006. He bowed out to Nadal in the semi-finals last year.
“I'm not the defending champion here. I only have a semi-final to defend,” said Federer. “So things are going really well for me. It's about doing all the right things, being professional, before the match, and hopefully sort of find a good way into the tournament. That's my first priority right now.”
The 30 year old will take on Ryan Harrison in his opening-round match. Federer defeated the American teenager in the round of 16 at Indian Wells in 2011.
“I think he's very talented, and I'm sure he's going to be making his move up the rankings very easily this year and the coming years. He has a big game,” Federer stated. “Obviously he's the classical American hard-court player. But he's also got some good defensive skills and has a lot of good confidence, I'd say. That's why it makes him a very difficult opponent in the [second] round here.”