INDIAN WELLS, March 19, 2016
World number one Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic will compete for the BNP Paribas Open title in Indian Wells on Sunday.
The four time champion in the desert defeated Rafael Nadal 7-6, 6-2 in Saturday’s semi-finals. Djokovic rallied from an early break and saved set point in the 10th game of the opening set. The 28-year-old Serbian gained the decisive break in the sixth game of the second going up 4-2. After another break in the eighth game, Djokovic celebrated his 25th victory over Nadal, converting his sixth match point after one hour and 52 minutes.
“I work hard to be able to come up with the best game when it’s the most needed,” said Djokovic. “Obviously today the first set was decided in one or two points; second set was very close. Midway through the second I broke his serve, and last three games I played very well.
“So I’m just glad to overcome this challenge that is one of the greatest in sport, as it always is playing against Rafa. I’m taking the positives out of today’s performance and hoping that I can finish off this tournament tomorrow with another great performance.”
Raonic has dropped a set for the first time this week but eventually emerged victorious against the tournament’s number 15 David Goffin, winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Raonic lost the only previous meeting between the two in Basel 2014 but was the dominant player this time. The Toronto native, who had made a career best start into the 2016 season, fired 11 aces and capitalized on all of his three break point chances to reach his third ATP Masters 1000 final after two hours of play. Raonic lost in Montreal 2013 to Nadal and in Paris-Bercy one year later to Djokovic.
“I feel like I did things right,” said Raonic. “I sort of lost my way a little bit in the second set, and it’s important to me sort of to be able to recognise that and get things back on the right track and play and finish off with some good tennis like I did.
“I feel like even when I’m not playing my best this year, I’m able to find the answer and the solutions. I feel like I’m competing well. I feel like I’m dealing with the situations much better.
“Definitely have been playing higher level this year, but I think also when I have had those difficult moments or let’s say some kind of crisis throughout matches, I have found solutions better. I think I have been much more regimented about that and a lot more disciplined with myself and a lot more understanding about the way I need to go about things during the match. And also analyzing and adjusting and accepting things during matches.”