Djokovic emphatically defends Indian Wells title defeating Murray and Federer along the way
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Novak Djokovic defended his BNP Paribas Open title with a 6-3 6-7 6-2 win over Roger Federer, a rematch of both the Dubai final, and the 2014 Indian Wells final. With the win, the world number one tied Federer with four career Indian Wells titles. In the final, Djokovic had the upper hand early, and very well could have closed the match out in 2 sets, from a set and a break (4-2) up, but Federer refused to go away quietly, forcing a second set tiebreak and later a third set, as Djokovic threw in a pair of double faults in the tiebreak. As expected, the slower, higher bouncing courts of Indian Wells seem to disadvantage Federer’s preferred attacking style of play, as Djokovic broke early in set 3, and though Federer would pull it back to 2-2, he lost the plot from there as Djokovic slammed the door shut for the final time.
Novak only dropped the one set to Federer all tournament, as he demolished Marcos Baghdatis, slipped past a surprisingly valiant Albert Ramos, who played the best of any opponent against Novak before the final, and gritted past John Isner with a break, and a tiebreak victory to reach the quarterfinals. Djokovic got a walkover in the quarters, as Bernard Tomic saw his great tournament derailed by a host of injuries including a back problem and wisdom teeth pain. The lack of match play didn’t disadvantage Djokovic in the slighest in the semis, as he crushed Andy Murray 6-2 6-3, the Scots serve deserted him in the match.
Federer was also with a blemish on his record before the final, sweeping Diego Sebastian Schwartzman, Andreas Seppi, Jack Sock, and Tomas Berdych, before edging past Milos Raonic with a break of serve in each set against the Manitoba missile. His tennis was fresh, crisp, and aggressively brutal all week, and on top of that, he played excellent defense, but Djokovic is a different caliber of player compared to any other on the tour. It was also a good tournament for Raonic as the Canadian scored his first ever win over Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals with a clutch 3 set win coming back from a set down and improving the whole match.
The successful pairing of Sock and Vasek Pospisil won their second elite caliber doubles title together (Wimbledon 2014 the other), as they beat the equally successful pairing of singles players Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli in a highly anticipated doubles final. It was an incredible week for Sock in his first tournament back from hip surgery, as he reached the round of 16 in singles with a trio of comeback wins from a set down, along with winning the doubles title.