Tennis: Novak Djokovic stops Rafael Nadal to reach Indian Wells final

Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns the ball to Rafael Nadal in the men's semifinals, on March 19, 2016
Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns the ball to Rafael Nadal in the men's semifinals, on March 19, 2016PHOTO: AFP

INDIAN WELLS (AFP) - Novak Djokovic toppled a resurgent Rafael Nadal in straight sets on Saturday to reach the Indian Wells final, where he will be seeking a third straight and record fifth overall title.

The 28-year-old world No. 1 from Serbia was the heavy favourite coming into the joint ATP and WTA Tour event and he showed why as he dispatched long-time rival and nine-time French Open champion Nadal 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.

"Today the first set was decided by just one or two points," Djokovic said. "The second set was very close and I played the last three games very well.

"I am glad I overcame this challenge, which is one of the greatest in sport, playing against Rafa."

Djokovic improved to 21-1 this season and will square off in Sunday's final against Canadian Milos Raonic, who beat Belgian David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

The women's final is also on Sunday with Serena Williams vying for her first Indian Wells title since 2001 when she takes on former champion Victoria Azarenka.