The first Masters 1000 tournament of 2007 season in Indian Wells gathered the world’s leading players, with Roger Federer as the favorite to win the fourth straight title in the desert. His winning streak at Indian Wells started back in 2004 and was the dominant figure in men’s tennis ever since, especially on the hard courts. In the summer of 2006, Federer claimed Wimbledon and Canada Masters titles before Andy Murray defeated him in the second round of Cincinnati, the fifth and last loss he suffered that year! The Swiss won five titles by the end of the season, including the US Open and Masters Cup, with no one stopping him at the beginning of 2007 as well, dominating at both the Australian Open and Dubai to clinch seven straight crowns and win a career-high 41 matches in a row! The Swiss was free in the opening round at Indian Wells and faced a lucky loser Guillermo Canas in the second, with the Argentine beating world no. 1 7-5, 6-2 in an hour and 45 minutes to deliver Federer’s first loss since August last year!
It was their third meeting and the second win for Canas, who also toppled Roger at Canada Masters five years ago, with the only triumph for Federer coming here at Indian Wells in the semi-final of 2005. Canas defended the second serve more effectively and outplayed Roger from the baseline to score one of the most shocking results of the season, saving two out of three break points and stealing Federer’s serve four times from seven opportunities. The Argentine tamed his shots nicely while Roger sprayed too many errors, unable to find the rhythm and impose the strokes that would give him the upper hand in the exchanges. The first break of serve came in game five after Roger’s forced error, although he pulled it back in the very next one after stealing Canas’ serve at love to level the score at 3-3.
After 41 consecutive wins, Roger Federer lost to Guillermo Canas in Indian Wells 2007.
Things could have been different had Roger managed to convert a set point on the return in game ten, netting an easy forehand to miss a great chance and wasting another set point before Guillermo finally held after his rival’s backhand error. Federer squandered a game point at 5-5 with another forehand mistake and got broken when his backhand found the net three points later to send Canas 6-5 ahead. The Argentine closed the opener with a forehand winner after 56 minutes, and Roger received medical treatment on his right foot in the pause between sets.
Carried by the momentum gathered in the opener, Guillermo broke Federer in the third game of the second set and held after a few deuces in game six to forge a 4-2 lead. A forehand winner in game seven sealed the deal for the Argentine as he moved two breaks clear of Federer, with a chance to seal the deal on his serve in the game that followed. Canas delivered a solid hold and crossed the finish line with Roger’s forced error, scoring the biggest win of his career after serving a 15-month ban for doping. Two weeks later, he would beat Federer again in Miami, with the Swiss failing to reach the final in back-to-back ATP tournaments for the first time since the summer of 2004!