Indian Wells Flashback: Novak Djokovic sets Roger Federer clash over Andy Murray

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Indian Wells Flashback: Novak Djokovic sets Roger Federer clash over Andy Murray

Novak Djokovic regained the ATP throne after Wimbledon 2014 and remained the world's leading player until the closing stages of 2016. Novak claimed the Indian Wells title in 2014 and returned to the desert a year later as the favorite following the Australian Open crown.

The Serb toppled Marcos Baghdatis, Albert Ramos-Vinolas and John Isner before Bernard Tomic gave him a walkover and propelled Novak into the sixth Indian Wells semi-final. Djokovic faced his coeval Andy Murray in a battle for the final and scored a 6-2, 6-3 victory in an hour and 28 minutes.

It was their 25th clash and the 17th victory for Djokovic, who grabbed all six encounters versus Murray after Wimbledon 2013! Novak dominated serve and return to cross the finish line first and set the title clash against Roger Federer.

The Briton served under 50% and stood no chance against such a strong rival, hitting under ten winners and spraying around 30 mistakes to plague his chances. Murray dropped half of the points in his games and suffered four breaks from six opportunities offered to Djokovic.

Novak forged the victory in the shortest points up to four strokes despite the same number of service winners. He did more damage with the first groundstroke or return to seal the deal and stay on the title course.

In 2015, Novak Djokovic bested Andy Murray in the Indian Wells semi-final.

Djokovic held at 15 in the first game with a service winner and secured a break in game two after Murray's loose forehand.

After a couple of deuces, the Serb opened a 3-0 advantage, making a strong start and gaining a boost. In the sixth game, Andy netted an easy forehand to get broken again, staying far behind and not imposing his shots. Suddenly, the Briton pulled one break back with a backhand winner after a lucky net cord before experiencing a break at love in game eight to hand the opener to Novak after 36 minutes.

With nothing working his way, Murray lost serve in the second set's second game to fall further behind. Novak brought the next game home with a service winner to shape a 6-2, 3-0 advantage and move closer to the finish line.

Andy survived another challenging game to avoid a bagel and get himself on the scoreboard. Murray squandered two break chances in the next one, as Djokovic won four points in a row to keep the serve intact and open a 4-1 lead.

The Briton saved a match point in the eighth game before the Serb sealed the deal a couple of minutes later. Thus, Novak advanced into his fifth final in the desert and set a blockbuster duel with Roger Federer.