Novak Djokovic was able to knock off fan favorite Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 to claim his third BNP Paribas Indian Wells Tournament championship, capping off an entertaining two weeks. Djokovic, who was the second seed of the tournament, played an incredible match against the eighth seeded Federer.
After losing the first set, Djokovic battled both Federer and the crowd to claw himself back into the match, eventually taking the second set. Once he got his game going, Federer, who is playing unbelievable tennis himself, just did not have enough answers for him. The Serb had his serve working late and Federer had a difficult time breaking him as Novak scored on 76 percent of his first serve points.
Both players elevated their games in the third set, making for an instant classic. Djokovic served for the match at 5-4, but Federer was finally able to break him. Djokovic shook it off and eventually dominated the tie breaker 7-3 in route to his third BNP Paribas title.
The two players have met 33 times overall with Federer narrowly leading the head-to-head matchup 17-16. Djokovic was able to get a little bit of revenge against Federer for knocking him out of last month’s’ Dubai semi-finals. The loss also snapped Federer’s 11-match win streak, but Federer, overall, is still happy with his game, stating, “It was overall a good performance. I’m actually very happy with the tournament.” The 32-year-old Swiss is expected to jump to number five overall in the tennis rankings on Monday.
For Djokovic, it was his 42nd career title, moving the 26-year-old into 14th all time. Djokovic has also won 17 Masters 1000 titles in his career, tied for third with Andre Agassi, and trailing only Roger Federer (21) and Rafael Nadal (26). Pretty good company to be in.
Overall, it was another outstanding tournament in Indian Wells, California. From the expanding venues and brand new restaurants, to the perfect weather and outstanding fan support, to the overall tournament play itself – Indian Wells has turned into the place to be. Now considered by some to be the “Fifth Major,” it drew nearly 450,000 in attendance over the past two weeks, eclipsing its previous high in year’s past. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has done wonders for the tournament, making it the highest attended non-major in the world.
The dominant performance by Novak Djokovic was the perfect way to cap off the entertaining two weeks. It looks to be another promising season for the Serb, who still appears to be as tough of a matchup as ever. As for Federer, his game and health appear to also be back on the rise. At 33 years old, Federer was hardly pushed by any opponent until Sunday’s final. Sometimes he appears to be ageless. Even in defeat, his grace and elegance are a reminder that he is the greatest tennis player of all time, and he showed over the past two weeks that he still has more than enough left in the tank. Look for both players to make their presence felt throughout the rest of this season.
Commentary by Rich Peters