Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer were the players to beat in Indian Wells in 2014 and 2015. Novak defeated Roger in 2014 final, and they met in the title clash again a year later. The Serb earned a 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 victory to defend the crown and become the second player after the Swiss with four titles in the desert.
It was the 18th triumph for Novak over Roger, avenging the recent Dubai final loss and adding the season's second title to his after conquering the Australian Open. The Serb had more service winners than the Swiss and a clear advantage in the mid-range rallies with five to eight shots, controlling his strokes nicely and hitting a similar number of winners and unforced errors.
On the other hand, Roger had a slight edge in the most extended rallies, but that was not enough to keep him safe in sets he lost, spraying around 40 unforced errors and losing ground in the decider to hand the trophy to Djokovic.
There were 23 break chances up for grabs, and Novak handled them more efficiently, fending off eight out of ten and delivering five successful return games to cross the finish line first and add the fourth Indian Wells crown to his tally.
Djokovic held at love in the first game for the best start. Federer leveled the score at 1-1 before facing a break chance in the fourth game, fending it off and bringing the game home with an ace for 2-2. What he missed on that occasion, Novak fixed two games later when he broke Roger's serve to move 4-2 in front.
The Serb fired a service winner to cement the break and open a 5-2 advantage before sealing the set with another booming serve at 5-3. Djokovic repelled a break chance in the second set's second game with a service winner and moved in front in the next one after a forehand error from the Swiss to take a big step towards the finish line.
Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in the 2015 Indian Wells final.
Playing against two break points in the next game, Novak remained focused and grabbed four straight points to confirm the break and open a 6-3, 3-1 advantage, leaving Federer with no room for errors.
An ace sent Novak 4-2 up, and he squandered a break chance in the next game that could have moved him closer to the title. Roger remained within one break deficit and bounced back entirely with a break in game eight that locked the score at 4-4.
Both players served well in the last four games to set up a tie break where Novak moved 5-3 up following Roger's netted smash. The Serb hit a double fault at 5-4 to lose the advantage and landed another in the next point.
Federer completed the breaker on his serve and sent the clash into a decider. His joy did not last for long, though, as he suffered a break in the final set's second game before pulling it back in the next one after seizing the fifth chance to stay in touch.
The Swiss opened a 40-15 lead in the sixth game before the Serb claimed four straight points to gain a break following his rival's costly double fault. Novak held at 15 with an ace to forge a 5-2 advantage and almost secure the victory.
In the eighth game, Federer sprayed a forehand error to lose serve again, propel Djokovic over the top and stay empty-handed against the Serb for the second straight year in the desert.