INDIAN WELLS, UNITED STATES (AFP) - Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 to retain his Indian Wells crown and claim his 50th career ATP title on Sunday.
The 27-year-old world No. 1 from Serbia also captured his fourth Indian Wells crown and is now tied with world No. 2 Federer for the most men's titles in the California desert. Djokovic also raised the trophy in 2008 and 2011 at the Tennis Garden stadium.
It was another epic struggle in a long list of hardcourt battles between the two top players in the world, who have met 38 times with Swiss great Federer still holding a slight 20-18 edge.
Djokovic also needed three sets to beat Federer in the 2014 Indian Wells title match. The two have combined to win eight of the last 12 Indian Wells titles but this is the first time they have met in back-to-back finals. Djokovic blasted eight aces, 26 winners and broke Federer five times in the 2hr 17min battle in front of a crowd of 14,000.
Federer could not overcome his poor serving and 43 unforced errors on Sunday. Djokovic surpassed his coach Boris Becker (49) to become the 12th player in open era history with 50 ATP Tour titles.