The Serbian overcame a shaky start when he dropped his opening
service game, then survived a nervous finish when he failed to serve
out the match at the first attempt before finally sealing victory in
"Today was an incredible match," Djokovic said after being presented
with the winner's crystal trophy.
"It was an incredibly difficult match. Roger is playing great and
it's always a pleasure playing with him."
The thrilling victory gave Djokovic his third championship in the
Californian desert tournament and lifted his career tally to 42
It was Federer's first loss in a final at Indian Wells after he had
previously won a record four times.
But the 32-year-old showed he was anything but a spent force as he
went toe to toe with the best hardcourt player in the world.
"Personally, I'm very happy. I think I'm playing great tennis now
and I'm really enjoying myself," Federer said.
"Of course, I would have liked to have more won a few more points at
the end but Novak made it tough, so congratulations to him for
Federer reached the final without dropping a set and made a flying
start against Djokovic, in their 33rd career meeting. Despite
Sunday's loss, Federer leads their head to head record 17-16.
[to top of second column]
Djokovic double-faulted twice in his opening service game as his
Swiss opponent snatched the early break and went on to take the
first set in 31 minutes.
Djokovic made a much better start to the second set, winning the
opening point with an ace right down the middle, then broke
Federer's serve in the eighth game to lead 5-3.
He served out the set then broke Federer early in the third and had
the chance to serve out the match when he led 5-4.
But with Federer chipping and charging from the baseline, Djokovic
Roared on by the crowd, Federer tied the set at 6-6 to force a
tiebreak, but Djokovic regained his composure to clinch the title
after almost two and a quarter hours.
(Reporting by Julian Linden in New York; editing by Gene Cherry)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.