Indian Wells Flashback: Novak Djokovic beats Mardy Fish for first desert crown

Novak Djokovic's first Indian Wells title came in 2008, two months after his first Major triumph

by Jovica Ilic
Indian Wells Flashback: Novak Djokovic beats Mardy Fish for first desert crown

Novak Djokovic claimed his first Indian Wells title in 2008, continuing where he left in Melbourne two months earlier. The young Serb lifted five ATP titles in 2007, cracking the top-3 and setting his eyes on even higher goals in 2008.

Novak claimed his first Major crown at the Australian Open and added another notable title to his name in the desert. Djokovic lost the Indian Wells title clash to Rafael Nadal in 2007 and fixed that a year later. Novak faced the home player Mardy Fish in the final and scored a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 victory in two hours and five minutes for his first Indian Wells crown.

Mardy served at 40% and still gave his best to stay in touch with the young gun. The American earned six break points and seized three to remain competitive. On the other hand, Novak created the same number of return opportunities and grabbed five breaks to cross the finish line first and celebrate the title.

They had a similar number of winners, and Novak tamed his shots more efficiently.

Novak Djokovic claimed his first Indian Wells title in 2008.

He reduced the number of mistakes and stood strong in the mid-range rallies that delivered the crown for him.

The 20-year-old made a reliable start and held at love in the encounter's first game. Fish sprayed a forehand error in game two to experience a break and fall behind. Novak moved 3-0 up with another fine hold before facing the first issues behind the initial shot at 3-1.

Mardy earned two break chances and grabbed the first with a deep return to return to the positive side. His momentum did not last for long, though, hitting a double fault in the next game to suffer a break and fall 4-2 behind.

Novak gained a boost and produced another break at 5-2 to wrap up the opener in style. The Serb forged the advantage in the second set's sixth game when the American sprayed a forehand error. Instead of building on that, Djokovic hit a costly double fault in game seven to lose the advantage.

Fish secured another break at 5-5 after Djokovic's loose backhand and wrapped up the set with an unreturned serve in game 12 to force a decider. Djokovic made a pivotal hold in the opening game, fending off three break points and ending his downfall.

The Serb cracked a backhand down the line winner in game two to clinch a break and build the advantage. That was the crucial stroke of the entire final, with both players serving well in the remaining games. Novak sealed the deal with a service winner at 5-3, keeping everything under control after that shaky first game and conquering his third different Masters 1000 crown at such a young age.

Indian Wells Novak Djokovic Mardy Fish