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Djokovic crushes Nadal to take Indian Wells title

ESPN staff
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Novak Djokovic was clearly elated to defeat the world No. 1 Rafael Nadal © PA Photos
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Novak Djokovic's superb winning streak was extended to 18 games as he battled back from a set down to beat world No. 1 Rafael Nadal 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the final of the BNP Paribas Open.

Djokovic came into the final defending an unbeaten record in 2011, he beat Roger Federer in the semi-finals, but that looked set to end as Nadal produced some brilliant play at the start of the match.

However, Djokovic is high on confidence at present and he kept in touch before taking advantage of some rare lapses from Nadal in the second before powering away with the match in the third.

"I don't think anybody is unbeatable," Djokovic said afterwards. "I do have the best period of my life on the tennis court, but nobody is invincible.

"Still you are just trying to play your best in each match you're playing.

"I am playing with a lot of confidence. I'm feeling the ball well on the court. I'm very dedicated. I have a big will to win each match I'm playing on, so it will not stop here, definitely.

"I want to keep on going and keep on playing good tennis."

Nadal was totally dominant early in the match, winning 18 of 23 points on serve and the pressure told on Djokovic as a break in the 10th game earned the Spaniard the opening set.

The second set seemed likely to follow a similar path as Nadal started confidently, but Djokovic found a foothold with a break of serve in the fifth game. Losing his serve seemed to spark Nadal into action as a superb lob and a drilled forehand down the line set up the opening and Djokovic let him through with a poor double fault.

Just when it appeared the momentum Djokovic had built up would be wasted, he broke back once again and on this occasion it proved decisive. But it was not easy for the Serb to close out the second set as he squandered five set points but sealed it at the sixth attempt as Nadal flashed a backhand an inch wide.

Djokovic charged out of the blocks in the final set and broke in the first and third games to establish a stranglehold. The expected Nadal fightback failed to materialise as in the face of a barrage from Djokovic his groundstrokes failed him.

In truth, Nadal's dip was not that bad. He simply came up against a player at the top of his game as towards the end of the final set Djokovic was toying with the world No. 1. Winners flew off both wings and impudent dropshots were executed to perfection as the winning run continued in some style.

"The first set I played really good, having the control of most of the points," Nadal noted. "Then I started to serve really bad. I was thinking too much about the serve more than the game in that moment, so I stop a little bit the legs in that situation."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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