By March 2007, a teenager Novak Djokovic was the player on a mission. The young Serb won the title in Adelaide at the beginning of the year, reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open where he gave his best against world no.
1 Roger Federer. Novak lost to Mikhail Youzhny in Marseille and Rotterdam before taking a set away from Federer for the first time in Dubai, gathering momentum ahead of the first Masters 1000 event of the season in Indian Wells.
In the desert, Djokovic struggled a little bit against Robby Ginepri before finding his best tennis, beating the next three rivals in straight sets to find himself in the semi-final for the first time at that level.
There, Djokovic ousted an injured Andy Murray 6-2, 6-3 in 63 minutes for the place in the first Masters 1000 final against Rafael Nadal.
On the previous night, Murray twisted his ankle against Tommy Haas, staying on the court for almost three hours and having nothing left in the tank for that clash against Novak.
"The victory means a lot to me, Indian Wells is one of the most significant tournaments after Grand Slams. I'm thrilled to get through, this is the first Masters 1000 event of the season and I'm in the final.
Grand Slams and Masters 1000 tournaments are essential for every player, with everyone trying to make a good result there. The title match gives me a lot of confidence and motivation ahead of the clash with Rafael Nadal. Breaking the top-10 is a big thing for me, achieving that at 19 after a couple of notable results in the past 12 months.
Still, I'm good enough to chase even higher goals in the years to come. I'm trying to play without pressure and not think about the ranking or that stuff. It's not a pleasant sight to see your opponent playing like that due to an injury; people certainly expected more.
I was aware of Andy's qualities and the fact he could come back straight away despite the problems; that's why I tried to remain focused. He was slow and made a lot of errors but I didn't think he would retire; Andy is a great fighter even though it was difficult for him to play today after twisting his ankle last night."
Novak Djokovic lost serve once and was all over the Briton on the return, securing five breaks and controlling the scoreboard to set the title encounter versus world no. 2