ATP leader Novak Djokovic will face Swiss number two Roger Federer in what is expected to be another superb Indian Wells final on Sunday. The Serb defeated Britain’s Andy Murray in the semi-final, while Federer disposed of sixth-seed Milos Raonic to reach the final.
Djokovic, who is the current BNP Paribas Open champion, will have the chance to equal Federer’s record of four Indian Wells titles, and he is reportedly determined to do so. “It doesn’t play a decisive role on how I’m going to approach the match, but it does motivate me,” the Serb said.
Djokovic had an easy game against Andy Murray on Saturday and recorded a 6-2, 6-3 win in 88 minutes. He managed four breaks against the Briton over both sets, preventing Murray to get his ninth win against him.
Things weren’t much different for Federer, who beat Milos Raonic in two sets, 7-5, 6-4 during the other semi-final which lasted two minutes longer than Djokovic’s. The two contenders will meet for the 38th time in Sunday’s final, and Federer apparently has the upper-hand against Djokovic, claiming three of their last four clashes.
This final is one of the most expected matches for both audience and players: “It’s the ultimate final that right now I can have,” Djokovic described the upcoming encounter, noting that the victory might very well belong to “probably the player that is in the best form.”
Meanwhile, Federer appeared a bit surprised about himself and the fact that he still manages to stay on top of his form even at an older age. “I’m happy I can still hang with him. He’s in his absolute prime right now and I enjoy the challenge of him,” the Swiss said about his opponent.
In the women’s tournament, world number one Serena Williams was forced to abandon before her much anticipated clash with third favorite Simona Halep, in an incident that much resembled what her sister Venus had done 14 years ago.
Less than two hours before the start of the game, Williams claimed she had a sprained right knee, and conceded the victory to the Romanian. Halep will meet 2010 Indian Wells champion Jelena Jankovic in the final that will also take place on Sunday.
There were no surprises in the women’s doubles as top favorite Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza claimed victory over second-seeded Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in two sets, 6-3, 6-4. The men’s doubles title went to Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock, who beat Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini of Italy in a close match, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 10-7.
Still, the match that traditionally gets the most attention is Sunday men’s final.
One of last year’s most memorable encounters between the two tennis giants was the Wimbledon final, where Djokovic triumphed. He joked about his victory, thanking Roger Federer for “letting him win”. It remains to be seen if the “Swiss machine” will let the Serb win again on Sunday.