World No. 1 Novak Djokovic withstood a second set rally from Roger Federer to claim his fourth ATP Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells Sunday.
Djokovic appeared to be cruising to victory when he led by a set and a break, but the Swiss maestro broke back to force a second set tiebreaker, which he won to force a decider.
But Djokovic, who has made a superb start to the season after taking the Australian Open crown, was not to be denied and four straight games from 2-2 in the third set saw him run out a 6-3 6-7 6-2 winner.
The final had not reached the heights of last year’s clash – won in a third set tiebreak by Djokovic – but the top two in the rankings look set to continue their rivalry throughout the 2015 season, particularly on faster surfaces.
Neither man had dropped a set on the way to the title match, their 38th meeting with Federer still leading the head to head 20-18.
The hard fought victory was revenge for the straight sets defeat Federer inflicted in the Dubai final and he has matched his record of four titles at the famous Californian tournament.
It was Djokovic’s 21st Masters 1000 crown and Federer conceded he had met his match towards the end of the two hour 17-minute clash.
“Novak did well to sustain the lead for most of the match; I think he found an extra gear in the end,” Federer told the official ATP Tour website.
The earlier women’s final at Indian Wells went to Simona Halep of Romania, the third seed having to come from a set down to beat 18th-seeded Jelena Jankovic, 2-6 7-5 6-4.