Djokovic Defends, Halep Ascends at Indian Wells
This doesn't happen every day.
The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells had two singles competitions and three singles winners:
- The ATP Men's No 1, Novak Djokovic, repeated with a 6-3,6-7, 6-2 decision over Roger Federer.
- The WTA No 3, Simona Halep, picked up her first silverware from the Wells by coming back for a 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 triumph over a former No 1, Jelena Janković.
- And Serena Williams was forced to withdraw due to injury, but won the PR campaign to exit on friendly terms.
Ironically, that's how Serena's sister Venus departed this event 14 years ago, nixing a match with Serena that paved the way to her younger sister defeating Kim Clijsters and drawing derision in the process. The aftermath resulted in a Williams boycott that only ended this year.
On the court, the men's final was a rematch from last year. Djokovic bolted from the gate, firing on all cylinders. After securing an early break, he contnued his dominance over the Swiss maestro throughout the first set. Federer responded in the second set's tie breaker, but it was the Serb who asked questions and gave answers as the Sunday sun set. He broke his opponent's serve twice in the final frame, making it clear that he would remain the titlist here.
Janković was holding all the cards in her match after an hour-and-a-half, but she couldn't get the job done. Even the most experienced players can choke, and it was massive moment for Jankovic to freeze where she realized how close she was to the finish line. The diminutive Romanian wanted it more and proved it after she was two points away from a finals defeat. From that moment, it was all about how much jabs and punches one take from an opponent. In that respect, Halep was the more resilient. In consolation, Janković at least returned to the WTA Top 20.
When you play not to lose, you usually end up second best.