The American version of the ATP’s “Big 4”—Hall of Famers Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, Jim Courier and Andre Agassi—all took home the title at the year’s first Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells during their careers.
However, U.S. men have come up dry in the desert as far as winning the title goes over the years: The last one to triumph was Agassi in 2001.
There have been some successes, though, since then and the current crop of Americans in the field can find some more recent inspiration—including among their peers.
Here’s a look at five players that have come close to grabbing the crown.
In 2010, Roddick reached his first Masters 1000 final in more than three years when he advanced to the title match in Indian Wells. He was stopped by Roger Federer’s current coach, Ivan Ljubicic, but rebounded in his next tournament to win the title in Miami.
With his massive serve it’s not too surprising when Isner plays a 7-5 or 7-6 set over the course of a match. In 2012, all five of his matches on his way to the final had such close score lines, including his win over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, which he took in a third-set tiebreak. Federer put an end to Isner’s run in the final.
Blake advanced to his first career Masters 1000 final in 2006. The big-hitting American defeated four seeds on his way to the title match, including world No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. Federer halted Blake’s run in straight sets in the final.
Unseeded and undaunted, Fish was on a mission in 2008, defeating three top 10 players on his way to the final: Nikolay Davydenko, David Nalbandian and Federer. He almost added a fourth, but Novak Djokovic beat him in three sets.
Just last year, in his breakout season, Sock reached his first Masters semi in Indian Wells. Along the way, the 17th seed notched his first career top-five win over Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals and escaped with a third-set tiebreak win over Grigor Dimitrov earlier.
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