After earning convincing semifinal victories, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will battle on Sunday in Indian Wells. The BNP Paribas Open championship match will be the 38th meeting between the two superstars, and both have played in top form ahead of their rematch from last year's final.
“If I get to play Roger, it's the ultimate final that right now I can have,” Djokovic told reporters, before Federer went on to defeat Canadian Miles Raonic in the semis. “[Federer is] probably the player that is in the best form. In the last 12 months, he's been playing some of his best tennis.”
World No. 2 Federer advanced to the final by beating Raonic 7-4 6-4. Top-ranked Djokovic made easy work of Andy Murray in the other semifinal, winning 6-2 6-3 in a match that took just 88 minutes. In 2014, Djokovic defeated Federer in grueling fashion 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Djokovic is seeking his fourth Indian Wells title, having won in 2008, 2011 and 2014. Federer is chasing his fifth crown (2004, 2005, 2006, 2012) at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. The 33-year-old is on at 19-set win streak dating back to late February’s Dubai tournament.
“I'm very happy [with] how well I'm playing," Federer said to reporters. "[I] feel good physically. I feel refreshed after the holiday. I'm serving well, which is always crucial."
Djokovic has been playing at a top level. The 27-year-old took advantage of a poor Murray performance in the semifinal and hasn’t dropped a set the entire tournament.
Djokovic trails Federer 20-17 in head-to-head matchups. The Serbian star will have a chance to win back-to-back titles at Indian Wells and close the gap with the Swiss legend. The world No. 1 knows it will not be an easy task with the way Federer has performed in recent weeks.
“He's playing great, there’s no question about it,” said Djokovic. “We all know that Roger, with all his records, we know the experience that he has. He's not expected to play nothing less than his best in these stages of the tournament. He's been proving that.”
In their careers, both Federer and Djokovic have played exceptionally well in ATP Would Tour Masters events. Federer has won 23 World Masters events, and Djokovic isn’t far behind with 21. If Djokovic wins on Sunday he will be just the 12th person in history to win at least 50 tour-level titles.
Oddmakers expect Djokovic to earn his 50th title. He is the favorite with a line set at -190, according to bovada.lv.
Start Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: Stream online at Watch ESPN
Prediction: Judging by the way both have played in the desert, it will likely be another close final. Djokovic has looked a little stronger, and should pull through in the end.
Djokovic over Federer in three sets.