Two days after turning 31, Ivan Ljubicic prevailed over Andy Roddick 7-6, 7-6 in the final of the 2010 Indian Wells to lift his only Masters 1000 title. Thus, Ljubicic became the second-oldest Masters 1000 champion after Andre Agassi.
Ivan won only five matches in the season's opening four tournaments before producing his best tennis in the desert, lifting his tenth and last ATP title. Ljubicic defeated world no. 2 Novak Djokovic and world no. 3 Rafael Nadal en route to the final, where he faced Andy Roddick on March 21.
The Croat became the first Indian Wells champion outside Federer, Nadal and Djokovic since 2003. Also, it was the first Masters 1000 final without players from the big four since Paris 2008 when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated David Nalbandian.
The title match was equally significant for Andy Roddick. The home player tried to win his first notable title since Cincinnati 2006 and gave his best to stay in contention before falling in two tie breaks.
Ivan Ljubicic took down Andy Roddick in the 2010 Indian Wells final.
Ljubicic served at 56% and fended off all six break points.
Roddick experienced three break points in the encounter's first game, saving them and serving well until the end of the clash to stay in touch. The Croat had the advantage in the shortest exchanges after hitting nine aces more than the American.
Andy had the upper hand in the more extended rallies, and they both finished with 84 points. Roddick faced those three break points right in the opening game, saving them with powerful serves. Tables turned in game four when Ivan experienced three break points.
He erased them in style and closed the game with a backhand down the line winner to level the score at 2-2. Andy controlled the pace from the baseline in the rest of the set and won another extended point with a smash winner at 5-4 to create a set point.
Ivan fired an excellent serve to save it, which was the last opportunity for the returners before the tie break. The Croat was more focused in the crucial moments. He claimed all points on serve and scored two mini-breaks to clinch it 7-3, moving a set away from the most prominent result in a career.
It all could have been very different had Andy converted any of two break chances at 4-4. Ivan denied them with booming serves and landed an ace to wrap up a ten-minute game and extend the set. Both players held easily in the last three service games to set up another tie break, a must-win one for Roddick.
Ljubicic was again the more efficient player. He scored the first mini-break with a backhand winner at 1-1 and raced into a 5-1 lead when Roddick netted an easy forehand to move closer to the finish line. The home star pulled one mini-break back in the ninth point and reduced the deficit to 6-5 with two excellent points behind his serve.
However, Ljubicic sealed the deal with an unreturned serve in the 12th point to grab the triumph and celebrate the crown after two hours and seven minutes. Thus, he became the first Croat with a Masters 1000 title since Goran Ivanisevic in Paris 1993.
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