ATP Indian Wells 2014: Novak Djokovic beats Roger Federer in three sets
Last Updated: 17/03/14 9:49am
Novak Djokovic put a halt to Roger Federer's impressive start to the 2014 season by fighting back to land his third Indian Wells ATP Masters title.
The Serbian, who had previously won in 2008 and 2011, exacted revenge over Federer, who beat him in Dubai two weeks ago, with a 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-3) success in the Californian desert.
Djokovic, a six-time Grand Slam champion, secured his first title of the year and his 42nd singles career crown after two hours and 12 minutes.
"I hadn't won a title so far this year until today and it was my first title of 2014," Djokovic told Sky Sports.
"I've played many matches, only two tournaments, so it was greatly important for me to get a title (because) it's already March.
"The way I had the previous four, five years, I was winning at least a title coming into the American hard court season, so this year was a little bit different. I felt a bit different and I was doubting myself on the court.
"But this tournament definitely means a lot to me and my confidence. Hopefully I'll carry it into Miami next week."
In the 33rd meeting between the pair, it was the 32-year-old Federer who made a blistering start by breaking his opponent in the second game before quickly establishing a 3-0 lead.
"This tournament definitely means a lot to me and my confidence. Hopefully I'll carry it into Miami next week."
The Serb was tentative and nervous, making basic unforced errors, which allowed Federer to jump on his mistakes and establish his authority.
Seventh-seeded Federer was also showing great variety to his game. He hit 12 winners on his way to serving out the opening set, which lasted 31 minutes.
The Swiss, who captured the same title in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012, was 17-0 in matches this season having won the first set.
But it was Djokovic who upped the momentum at the start of the second and started to show glimpses of his best.
The 26-year-old made a crucial break in the eighth game with more aggressive tennis to move 5-3 up, before duly serving it out to force a decider.
Both players went at it hammer and tongs at the start of the third set, but the more elegant work was coming from Djokovic, who took the lead for the first time in the match after taking advantage on his third break-point.
He consolidated the break, but then faltered badly when serving for the match at 5-4, allowing Federer to restore parity and eventually take it into a tie-breaker.
Djokovic made a crucial mini-break to move 4-1 up and he took full advantage to finally end his title drought in 2014 and also end his opponent's 11-match winning streak.