Novak Djovokic outlasted long-time rival, Roger Federer at the BNP Paribas Open in California. Djovokic defeated Federer in three sets, with the final set going to a tiebreak.
Federer started the match on fire, as he blasted forehand winners all across the court. Federer would take the early lead and eventually the first set 6-3. In the second set, Djokovic was able to slow the game down and answer the attack of Federer. Djokovic would answer in the second set with a 6-3 victory of his own.
Djokovic got an early break the final set and it appeared as though he would hold to that break and take the third. Djokovic had a chance to serve out the match as he led 5-4 in the third, but Federer dug deep and gave himself a triple break point. He would eventually cash in on the break and tie the set at 5. Both players exchanged holds of serve as the BNP Paribas Open title came down to one final tiebreak.
The tiebreak saw Djokovic get out to a quick 5-1 lead on the changeover and he did not look back from there. On championship point, a Federer backhand clipped the tape, giving Djokovic the tiebreak 7-3, and the BNP Paribas Open title. The victory at Indian Wells marked Djokovic’s third BNP Paribas Open title, 17th ATP master’s 1000 title and his first title of the 2014 tennis season. Djokivic is now tied for third most Master 1000 titles with Andre Agassi.
Federer and Djokovic have always had competitive matches and their head-to-head record reflects that, as Federer now holds a slim edge 17-16. Going back to the 2013 season, Djokovic has won three consecutive ATP master’s 1000 events. Both players came into the final playing their best tennis, but it was Djokovic who found that extra gear in the tiebreak and outlasted Federer.
Djokovic earned the first ATP 1000 victory of the 2014 tennis season and moves one step closer to reclaiming the world number ranking from current world number one, Rafael Nadal. Djokovic will be looking to carry his momentum into the Sony Open Tennis Championship in Miami next week.
Despite the loss, Roger Federer has rebounded from a sub-par 2013 season and gotten off to quick start in 2014. Federer has reached at least the semi-finals in all four of the tournaments he has entered in 2014, including the Australian Open. His runner-up finish this week will boost his ATP ranking from eighth in the world up to fifth, surpassing Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Murray, and Tomas Berdych.
Federer only won one title in the entire 2013 season. In 2014, he already has a title, as well as appearances in two other finals. With his title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships earlier this season, Federer has now won at least one singles title in 13 consecutive years.
The Federer-Djokovic rivalry has been one of the most exciting rivalries in tennis for the past few years and this one did not disappoint. Both players put on an excellent show for the fans, but in the end it was Novak Djokovic who outlasted 17 time grand slam champion Roger Federer. It is likely that these two titans of tennis will meet again this tennis season, so stay tuned.
Commentary By Eric Kummel