Roger Federer will play John Isner in the final of the ATP Indian Wells and it is difficult to know who will have the biggest support in California
John Isner produced the shock of the season when he beat Novak Djokovic 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 in the Indian Wells semi finals on Saturday and his reward is a meeting with world number three Roger Federer in the final on Sunday. The Swiss vanquished Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4 in a dominant semi final display in California and will go into the final as a huge favourite to claim the BNP Paribas Open title.
Federer is just 1/5 at bet365 to beat the American and he will be well supported at that price by an adoring public who are keen to see arguably the greatest player of all time retain his position at the top of the world rankings this year. The 30-year-old has been way behind Djokovic and Nadal in recent seasons but this year he looks back to his best and if he wins in Dubai then it would two successive ranking titles for the Swiss.
Isner, by contrast, has never played in a Masters 1000 final and it is a huge surprise to see him reach this far. He received a very favourable draw until the semi finals but nothing should be taken away from his serving performance against the game's best returner in the last four.
The 6ft 9in American is 7/2 to pull off another upset and win the BNP Paribas Open and a home victory would bring the house down in California. The partisan crowd will be give hope by the fact that Isner has already beaten Federer this year, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 in the Davis Cup.
However, Federer wasn't at his best then and now he has reached a new level. His tennis against Nadal was arguably as good as it is has ever been and one would expect him to see off Isner pretty comfortably. The effort expelled by the American, whose fitness isn't comparable to the top players, may see him arrive a little flat this evening and Federer will pounce on that.
It is 5/4 at bet365
that Federer covers a 4.5 game handicap and that could well be the best bet on the game. The world number three passed this line against another big server - Milos Raonic - earlier at Indian Wells and even if Isner takes a tie-break then it is possible for Federer to win by five games or more.
Roger Federer (-4.5 Games) - 5/4 bet365