Cowan, Oxenstierna to meet in Indian Wells finale
3/21/10 3:52 AM | Jonny Garcia
With just two career titles between them, fifth and sixth seeds Darcy Cowan and Sven Oxenstierna this Sunday do battle in the Indian Wells final for their first PTA Masters Series title. Oxenstierna is fighting to shake his tag as a choker on the big stage, whilst Cowan looks for his first title on home soil.
It really amazing that following this week, these two players will both be ranked inside the world's top five yet one of them will have just one title under their belt. In their first career meeting, it is probably Cowan who takes in the edge having proven himself on the big arena with his one and only triumph coming on the grandest stage of them all at Wimbledon. Half a year on, Cowan has been unable to add to that trophy cabinet and competes in his first final of the season after semi finals in San Jose and Dubai.
Oxenstierna, meanwhile, also has appeared in a Grand Slam final. He took a set off World No. 2 Daniel Páez Blanco, but was thrashed in the third and fourth sets in his first appearance in the round of two. His one title came in Tokyo where he beat Jefferson Drake, but for the most part his ranking is propped up by his consistent showings that have seen him make semi finals at the Tennis Masters Cup and Indian Wells, and a final in Clowich. His record in finals, however, is 1-3 and he will hope to rectify that against a younger opponent and a hostile crowd.
The two meet for the first time tomorrow, and it is Cowan who comes in on the back of arguably better form having dropped just one set this week. He came from a set down to beat Rob Bowenburg 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 before taking out Antonio Bachunelli, Jojo Mustard and defending champion Radivoj Daneu in straight sets. He followed it up yesterday by blitzing Jefferson Drake in the first set tiebreaker and then rolling him in the second 7-6(0), 6-2.
Oxenstierna, meanwhile, has had it tougher. He accounted for countryman Scotland Rivers in straight sets before being made to work through sticky situations against Morgan Carter, Danijel Micic, Becker Haas and then Jason Hall. Four three-setters in a row cannot be easy for him, especially coming into the best-of-five finale.
The PTA announced at the start of the season that all Masters Series 1000 finals would come in line with the World Tour Finals by having a five-set conclusion to the tournaments, and Indian Wells plays host to the first one. Cowan has spent more than three hours less time on court than Oxenstierna and should be able to outlast him as this one goes the journey.
Oxenstierna will keep it close, but look for Cowan to show he's the real deal in five.