World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki took her first BNP Paribas Open title in Indian Wells with a hard-fought win over France's Marion Bartoli.
The 20-year-old won a zigzag encounter 6-1 2-6 6-3 in two hours and eight minutes to claim the 14th title of her career. It was also her second title in 2011 and it helped her maintain her top spot in the World rankings
The first set lasted barely 30 minutes as Wozniaki broke serve at the very first time of asking. Displaying impressive defence, she broke again and was soon leading 5-1 before serving out for set.
Bartoli, who had called for her father and coach in game three of the first set with a niggling shoulder problem, managed to fight back in the second despite her physical discomforts. The Frenchwoman stepped up the aggression and gained the advantage as she moved up 3-0 after breaking the Dane. It led to a very frustrated Wozniaki who smashed her racquet to the ground.
Bartoli was in a determined mood, and she kept Wozniacki on the run as she frequently came into the net to break again and force the decider.
The opening game of the third was tightly contested, but Wozniacki came through and moved clear at 4-1. Bartoli is nothing if not determined and she forced her way back to 4-3. The Frenchwoman looked tired though and Wozniacki stepped herself up with some energetic, tireless running and took the game when a tired Bartoli hit one long over the baseline.
The grand slam-less World number 1 said after the game, It means a lot. It's a big tournament and I'm very, very happy. It's pretty much a two-week event, and you have days in between like in the Grand Slams. Once again, I showed that I can play great tennis, and I've beaten some really good players this week.
I can keep playing out there for hours and hours. It's definitely a good sign for me when I can see the opponent getting a little bit more tired. We had a lot of long rallies, but I felt like I recovered maybe a little bit faster than she did. That's a good feeling to have on my side.
World number 17 Bartoli, whose fine tournament ensured a return to the top 10 on World rankings, said If every single match I could play like that throughout the years, I would be pretty happy. Even though I came up a bit short at the end and she was better than me, I think it was really a great fight.