Novak Djokovic had a great run in 2011, staying undefeated until the Roland Garros semi-final. Novak conquered the Australian Open and Dubai and went to Indian Wells as the favorite. Djokovic defeated Roger Federer 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the semi-final in two hours and seven minutes to improve his run to 17-0 that year.
It was the ninth triumph for Novak over Roger and the third in a row that season. He took six points more than the Swiss and prevailed with a dominant performance in the deciding set to set the clash against Rafael Nadal. Both players had their chances on the return, with 19 break chances up for grabs.
They could not find the desired rhythm behind the initial shot, spraying almost 70 unforced errors in what was not one of their best matches up to that point. In the end, Djokovic played better when it mattered the most, fending off six out of nine break chances and seizing five opportunities on the return to seal the deal and advance into the final.
Novak Djokovic reached the 2011 Indian Wells final over Roger Federer.
Novak had the upper hand in the shortest range up to four strokes, which secured his victory. Roger stayed in touch in the more advanced exchanges but not doing enough damage with his initial shot, something he lacked against such a strong rival.
The first big moment came in the fifth game when Djokovic grabbed a break following Federer's massive forehand error. The Serb fended off two break chances in the next game and closed it with a volley winner to open a 4-2 gap.
Returning at 5-3, Djokovic produced a fantastic defense to secure another break and wrap up the set when the Swiss sprayed a forehand error. There were no mistakes from Federer's forehand in the second set's third game, firing down the line winner to grab a break and forging a 3-1 advantage with a service winner.
Like Novak in the first set, Roger secured another break at 5-3 to complete the set and gain momentum ahead of the decider, eager to become the first player to beat Novak in 2011. Instead, the Serb started all over and delivered a break in the first game after a backhand error from the Swiss.
Roger had the opportunity to pull it back in the next one, only to lose four straight points as Novak held with a forehand down the line winner to cement his lead. Federer got back on the positive side of the scoreboard with a break at love in the fourth game thanks to Djokovic's double fault, taking ten of the last 11 points and gaining a boost.
However, Novak stole Roger's serve in game five after a costly double fault from the Swiss, who missed a massive chance to move in front. With the momentum on his side, Djokovic held at love to extend the advantage and fired a forehand down the line winner for another break in game seven.
Novak fended off a break chance at 5-2 to bring the victory home with an unreturned serve and set the title clash against Rafael Nadal.