The world No 1 is now tied with 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer for the most men’s titles in the California desert with four wins following his 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 success on Sunday.
It was another epic struggle in a long list of hardcourt battles between the two top players in the world, who have met 38 times with Swiss great Federer still holding a slight 20-18 edge.
Djokovic had lost his last two matches to Federer in straight sets after beating him in last year’s Wimbledon final. The five-time Australian Open winner also needed three sets to beat Federer in the 2014 Indian Wells title match.
But after the clash, the top-seeded Serb felt that he fully deserved his win against one of the greatest of all-time on the big stage.
“If you look at the big picture, I thought I deserved it in a way, because I really fought for it,” said Djokovic. “I am at the prime of my career. I am going to use every part of this fact to stay where I am and to fight for as many major titles as possible.
“I don’t think these challenges that I go through and the pressure that I feel are harming me or that I find it difficult. It is a privilege because I earned it.”??
Djokovic, who blasted eight aces, 26 winners and broke Federer five times in front of a crowd of about 15,000 inside the Tennis Garden stadium and surpassed his coach Boris Becker (49) to become the 12th player in Open Era history with 50 ATP Tour titles.