Fourteen and a half years ago, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic met in their first final on the Tour in Indian Wells. Novak made a great run in 2006, reaching the first Major quarter-final and cracking the top-20. Carrying by that boost, Djokovic kicked off the following season with the Adelaide title and two losses against Roger Federer at the Australian Open and Dubai ahead of the season's first Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells.
After a shaky start against Ginepri, Novak picked up the form and scored straight-sets triumphs to find himself in the title match, the first at the premium ATP level. Djokovic took down David Ferrer and Andy Murray in the quarters and semis to set the clash against Rafael Nadal.
It was not to be for the Serb, though, as Nadal beat him 6-2, 7-5 for the seventh Masters 1000 title at 20!
Novak Djokovic lost his first Masters 1000 final to Nadal in Indian Wells 2007.
The Spaniard rattled off all three break chances in the only loose service game in the second set and overcame a couple of deuces in the closing stages to remain unbroken and bring the victory home.
The Spaniard stole Novak's serve three times to cross the finish line and lift the trophy, his third at the Masters 1000 level on hard after Montreal and Madrid. Djokovic could not leave the nerves behind, taking only 12 points in the opener and bouncing back in the second to stay in touch with world no.
2. Novak lacked the pace on his backhand wing, and Rafa used that to impose his forehand top spins in the rallies to earn the first title in the desert. "I raised my level in set number two, trying to be more aggressive and go for the shots.
I was too defensive with my backhand, especially in the first set, unable to deal with heavy spins from Rafa's forehand. Rafa knew my left wing was not at its best and used his chances. I was pretty nervous in the opening games, playing in my first big final in front of the packed stadium.
I tried not to think about that, but it did not work. Nadal grabbed those two early breaks, and it was hard to bounce back from there. I wanted to start from zero in set number two and work out my way. I had my opportunities but had to settle with the runner-up prize in the end. I need more experience and encounters like this one," Novak Djokovic said.