For an entire decade, the men’s tennis landscape has been dominated by a remarkable quartet of players.
Second seed Novak Djokovic avenged the recent Dubai semi-final defeat by turning around the high-quality BNP Paribas Open 2014 title clash against seed number seven Roger Federer and claiming his third Indian Wells crown after conquering the Masters Series tournament in 2008 and 2011. He won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) and reduced Roger’s head-to-head lead to 17-16 as a result.
The Swiss Maestro got out the blocks quickly in the opener as he instantly took control of the proceedings with an energetic display and by approaching the net whenever possible. He broke in the Novak’s initial service game after the third deuce and consolidated the break with ease. FedEx double faulted for the first time in the sixth game, but bailed himself out with a couple of aces and a service winner to make it 5-2. He then pulled off a love hold to grab the opening set with thirty-one minutes on the clock.
Roger seemed to have lost some of his freshness in the set two and became less dominant on his serve, but it was not until the eighth game when the Serb champion produced a double break point. He converted in the second attempt and came back from 0-30 in the subsequent service game to make it all square. It was the first set Federer has surrendered since the beginning of the tournament.
Novak then picked up where he had let go in the previous set and it was only a question of time when he would make a breakthrough – he seized the rival’s serve in the third game and confirmed it for a 3-1 advantage. FedEx found himself on the brink of defeat as his opponent served for the championship, but he stunned the Serb by creating a triple break back point and capitalized on Djokovic’s forehand sailing wide to make it 5 all. The final set would thus be decided in a tie-break drama with Nole coming out a hero and securing the title after the Swiss netted the last shot of the tournament. The match lasted two hours and fourteen minutes.
Flavia Pennetta breezed past the injured Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-1 to win the Indian Wells title.
The 32-year-old Italian capitalised after the Pole suffered a knee injury that required a lengthy medical time-out in the second set.
Pennetta, the 20th seed, wrapped it up with six games in a row after an hour and 13 minutes to win her first WTA title for two years and move her up to 12th in the new rankings.
“After so many years and so much work, this is the moment I’ve always been waiting for,” Pennetta said.
“And it’s coming when you don’t expect it, because in the beginning of the week I never expected to be the champion or to be in the final or semi-final.”
Radwanska, meanwhile, looked for the positives despite the disappointment of her defeat.
“The disappointing feeling always comes first, especially when you really, really have ambition to win the tournament,” said Radwanska.
“Of course, still good two weeks. First final here. Big event. And still good result. But it’s always disappointing that I really couldn’t play my 100 per cent today.”