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By Chris Oddo | Friday, March 7, 2014


Roger Federer has always been awesome at Indian Wells, but there was a time when the Swiss Maestro was flat-out invincible in the desert.

Photo Source: Chris Levy

In the 38 years since tennis has been played in the Coachella Valley, what is now the BNP Paribas Open has had 12 different names. But the event has only had one three-peat champion and that man's name is Roger Federer.

>>> Video: Federer's Wacky Warm-up, Rafa's Romantic Vacay

Federer, who is also the only player to own four titles at the prestigious California event, also used the title at Indian Wells as a springboard to the difficult-to-achieve Indian Wells-Miami double, which he captured in 2005 and 2006.

Also of note is the fact that Federer only lost two sets in 18 matches during his three-year-long run of imperiousness in the desert. Federer dropped the first set to Andre Agassi in the 2004 semifinal before defeating Agassi, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, and he dropped the first set to Olivier Rochus in the third round of his run to the title in 2006 before vanquishing the Belgian, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

In 2004, Federer turned the corner in his matchup with British No. 1 Tim Henman to win his first Indian Wells title, notching his second match in eight lifetime matches versus Henman, racing past him in the final, 6-3, 6-3.

Henman was the only man who had beaten Federer in his last 28 matches heading into the final, but he stood little chance against him in this final. Federer would never drop a set against Henman again, winning the pair's final six matches and concluding his lifetime head-to-head at 7-6.

In 2005, when the tournament switched to a best-of-five sets final, two-time champion Lleyton Hewitt was Federer's victim in the final. Hewitt would outclass the Aussie (though he couldn't get him on the point you'll watch below), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4, to become the first back-to-back champion in the desert since Hewitt had done it in 2002 and 2003.

In 2006, Federer downed a rising James Blake for the title to finalize the three-peat. After trailing 4-1 in the first set, the Swiss maestro raced past Blake in decisive fashion, ending his three year run by not losing a single set in three finals, 7-5, 6-3, 6-0.

At the time, the win was Federer's 25th title in 36 events since the beginning of 2004. It truly was a period of unprecedented dominance for Federer, both at the Grand Slam level and at Indian Wells.


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