Novak Djokovic Defeats Roger Federer in BNP Paribas Open Final
Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2 in the BNP Paribas Open final in Indian Wells. The Serb had to beat not just Federer, however. He also had to take on the crowd, and, at crucial moments, himself.
Djokovic won the first set in convincing fashion. The defending champion broke Federer at 3-2 as he forced an error from the Swiss at the net.
Djokovic went on to hold serve two more times and took the set 6-3, converting set point with a service winner.
The fast balls and afternoon heat were helping Djokovic’s service- the Serb won 100 percent of his first serve deliveries and dropped just four points on serve overall.
Djokovic was also benefiting from the slow surface which was giving him plenty of time to dictate points as he hit deep to the Swiss’ feet or took the pace off the ball and hit down the middle to an error-prone Federer.
The Second Set
The Serb continued his good form into the second set, going a break up at 1-1 to lead 2-1.
At 3-4 down, Federer hit a run of good form, his shot-making stepped up a level and he broke back with a huge forehand down the line that forced an error from the Serbian.
The world no.1 lost his grip on the match as Federer’s aggressive game and his impressive defense got the better off him in rallies, but held on to take the set went into a tiebreak.
Djokovic was also struggling with the crowd who, other than the Serbian contingent, were fully behind Federer.
Djokivic got back on his feet in the second set tiebreak, getting the mini-break to lead 5-3.
But at 5-4, with the match on his racket, on the verge of overcoming Federer and the crowd, the Serbian was confronted with another opponent- himself. Djokovic, the player with arguably the best second serve in the game, hit two double-faults to go set point down.
Federer converted the set point when Djokovic’s lob attempt went long and tied the match at a set all.
On the changeover, Djokovic was so nervous his hands shook as he held his drinks bottle and took a sip. The shock of letting his lead slip and his serve deserting him when he needed it most, and the prospect of having to go back up against Federer, the crowd and his own demons, seemed to be overwhelming him.
The Third Set.
In the third set, Djokovic showed great resistance to put the double faults behind him, calm his nerves and ignore the crowd. The three time Indian Wells champion survived break points as Federer did his best to grab the momentum, continuing to unbalance Djokovic with his range of shots. But Djokovic proved too solid, too patient, and ultimately, too resilient, and held serve for 1-0.
A revived Djokovic then broke Federer to lead 2-0. But the Serb was not in the clear as a fighting Federer fought back to break for 1-2 and held serve for 2-2.
At 3-2, Djokovic once more surged ahead. At deuce, he got a look at a second serve, and on his second strike hit a loopy forehand to the Federer forehand wing that forced an error.
Break point down, Federer missed his first service and would have to rely on his second serve, a shot that in the third set he had only been able to win 16 percent of points behind. Rather than be dictated to be Djokovic, Federer went for too much on the delivery and double faulted and Djokovic was 4-2 up.
That double fault was the beginning of the end for Federer. The Serb had broken the Swiss’ greatest weapon with his own and took control of the match. Djokovic held serve for 5-2, and, now, solid and assured, he held break point, and match point, on the Federer serve.
Federer went down swinging, over-hitting a short forehand, a compliment to Djokovic’s back-court game, and the Serbian sealed the final set 6-2, and the championship.
The Serb now ties Federer with most Indian Wells titles won. The defending champion won his fourth title at the ATP 1000 event and his 50th title overall, tying coach Boris Becker in the record books.
That, though, is for the history books. For now, Djokovic has greater things to take from the match- his ability to not just take on an in-form Federer, and his doting crowd, but also himself. The world no. 1 and eight time slam champion looked to have been on the verge of collapse at the start of the third, but he picked himself up, and with it, another title for his collection.
Watch highlights of the Djokovic-Federer Indian Wells 2015 final below.
Commentary by Christian Deverille
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