2 Novak Djokovic rallied to beat Roger Federer in a three-set thriller on Sunday to win the Indian Wells ATP Masters title for the third time.
In the women’s event, Italy’s Flavia Pennetta routed world No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-1 in the final.
Djokovic defeated Federer 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to add another title to those he captured in the California desert in 2008 and 2011.
Having gained an early break for a 2-1 lead in the third, Djokovic served for the match at 5-4 but was broken.
From there they went to a tiebreaker that Djokovic dominated.
Federer sent a backhand long on the first point of the breaker, and Djokovic seized a quick 3-0 lead with an overhead smash off a lacklustre Federer lob and another errant backhand from the Swiss.
“I think I played a good game to break back,” Federer said. “Got the first serve returns back, and then played well from the baseline.”
He said playing into the wind likely made it harder for Djokovic to serve it out, but then the Serb had the wind with him for the first six points of the tiebreaker.
“He took advantage of that,” Federer said. “So it was an interesting end to the match, no doubt.
“I think he played well. At the end he made sure he kept the ball in play and I might have made a few too many errors when it really mattered.”
Federer saved one match point with an ace, but Djokovic ended it on his first opportunity on his own serve when a Federer backhand found the net.
A break of Djokovic’s first service game in the match for a 2-0 lead was the only opening Federer needed to take the first set in 31 minutes, while the second set was more tightly contested.
“Today was an incredible match, an incredibly difficult match,” said Djokovic, who denied Federer an unprecedented fifth Indian Wells title to go with those he won in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012.
Djokovic claimed the 17th elite Masters title of his career and his first trophy of 2014.
Meanwhile, Pennetta, 32, claimed the biggest title of her career, needing just one hour and 13 minutes to blow past Poland’s second-seeded Radwanska, who was troubled by a left leg injury.
Pennetta’s victims tournament included world No.2 and top seed Li Na of China as well as Australia’s former US Open champion Samantha Stosur.