Djokovic beats Nadal to win BNP Paribas Open
Sunday, March 20, 2011; 9:35 PM
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Rafael Nadal's serve deserted him in the second set, and so did his chances of beating a streaking Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic defeated the world's top-ranked player 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win the BNP Paribas Open title on Sunday, keeping the Serbian perfect this year.
Djokovic improved to 18-0, including victories at the Australian Open and in Dubai last month.
"It definitely says good things. I am playing with a lot of confidence. I'm feeling the ball well on the court," he said. "I'm very dedicated. I have a big will to win each match. I want to keep on going and keep on playing good tennis."
Djokovic will move into the No. 2 spot when the ATP Tour rankings are released Monday, having bumped Roger Federer down to third after he lost to Djokovic in the semifinals. Nadal will remain No. 1 with a 14-3 record.
After Nadal's forehand hit the net on match point, Djokovic threw his head back and let out a prolonged yell while pumping both arms.
His Monte Carlo neighbor, top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, defeated 15th-seeded Marion Bartoli 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 to win the women's title a year after the Dane lost in the final.
Djokovic became just the third player to beat Nadal and Federer in the same tournament twice, having last done it at Montreal in 2007. That year, Djokovic lost to Nadal in the final at Indiana Wells, then won in 2008.
"I know that the season is very long and I don't want to be too euphoric about the win," said Djokovic, who plays at Miami this week. "I need to celebrate a little bit and then move on."
Nadal had beaten Djokovic in all five of their previous finals meetings, and he broke him twice to win the first set.
Djokovic broke to lead 5-3 in the second set, then survived a five-deuce game on his serve to take the set, winning when Nadal's backhand went wide. It was the first of six straight games he'd win as the Spainard's first-serve percentage dipped to 25 percent.
"At the end of the first set, I started to serve really bad, and the second set still in the beginning, even if I won the games because he had more mistakes than usual with the second serve return, I play less aggressive," Nadal said. "I was thinking too much about the serve more than the game in that moment, so I stop a little bit the legs. The serve was the difference."