What do IW Titles Mean for Djokovic, Halep?
by Staff | March 22nd, 2015, 9:22 pm

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Simona Halep captured titles on Sunday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., but what do the two championships mean for the players nearing the tail end of the U.S. spring hardcourt season?
Halep is No. 1 — in 2015. She leads the points race in 2015-only points, meaning she has been the best player thus far in 2015, and leads the race to qualify for the year-end WTA Championships.

It didn’t hurt when No. 1 Serena Williams defaulted to her in the semifinals with a knee injury.

“This is my biggest title and I will never forget it,” said Halep after beating Jelena Jankovic in the final 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, with both players dealing with lower-body injuries.

Halep trailed practically the entire match, with Jankovic leading a set and a break in the second at 4-3, and 5-4 serving for it. But the former No. 1 Jankovic was a mess, as illustrated by a coaching visit captured by ESPN where she admitted she was lost. Her coach raining down random instruction in an attempt to give her a bit of confidence, to no avail.

In the end the two players shook hands, with Jankovic unsuccessfully trying to hide an eye-rolling expression of handing the Romanian the title after her tight play.

“I was limping three days before the tournament started,” Jankovic said in regard to a hip injury. “I was actually in doubt if I could even play. When I came to these courts, on the first day I hadn’t hit a ball for 10 days. I was hitting, but I was standing. I was not moving. But I was hitting the ball so great without any practice. I had a good feeling. I felt so great. I was just so happy to be out there again. But I didn’t think I would make the finals after not preparing.”

The 2010 Indian Wells champ Jankovic will return to the Top 20 when the WTA Rankings are released on Monday.

While the world No. 1 Djokovic beat Roger Federer 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2 in the men’s final, the Swiss showed that there continues to be little separating the two.

Djokovic showed how much his rivalry with Federer gets to him by locking up in the second-set tiebreak, throwing in two double faults to prolong the match to a third set.

Neither player had a lost a set en route to the final.

It was the fourth Indian Wells title for Djokovic, who lost to Federer a little less than a month ago in Dubai, but in the end successfully defending in Indian Wells.

Federer in the third stumbled himself at 2-3, double faulting to give Djokovic a 4-2 lead.

“Novak did well to sustain the lead for most of the match; I think he found an extra gear in the end,” Federer said. “It was tough. You know, I enjoyed the match; it had a bit of everything. Controlled aggression was the key out there to try to play like that from the baseline.”

For Djokovic it is the extension of a lead at No. 1 that may be hard to touch for Federer or anyone else.


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32 Comments for What do IW Titles Mean for Djokovic, Halep?

jane Says:

novak is set now to surpass nadal’s 141 weeks at number one for sure now. also, while he’s still behind in the overall h2h versus the two of them, he leads both in finals: 12-10 over nadal; 8-5 over fed. other than that, it was obviously very close and fed secured his position as well.

jane Says:

for simona, this may be a harbinger that she can win a slam. i believe it was chris evert who said it looks like she’s setting herself up for that now, gritting out wins when not at her best.

Patson Says:

All hail Novak Djokovic! We truly live in the Nole era.

chris ford1 Says:

Means a lot to Halep!

As for Nole, he is off to another fine start and the Nadal Clay Bastion awaits storming.
If he does look at the match as a room for improvement thing – he had a manifestation of his recurrent problem of choking when serving for the match. And again letting a crowd that didn’t universally love him, get to him. Time for a head check with a good sports psychologist..

django Says:

Chris ford.
I agree he needs a sport psych to iron that issue out. Good win for him though

danica Says:

Jane, i think that prior to this win, Nole was leading Roger 6-5 in finals.

“Federer in the third stumbled himself at 2-3, double faulting to give Djokovic a 4-2 lead.”
As if Novak didn’t totally blew the TB with, how many, THREE double faults? It is always the mistakes of Federer or Rafa that handed the win to Novak. It’s never acknowledged that Novak played better or that those mistakes are the result of his play.

jane Says:

hi danica: i took the stat from the wikipedia page, so unless they got it wrong, that’s what it said? either way, he’s leading in finals over both. :)

and yeah, wow; novak should have wrapped it up in 2 sets for sure. i agree with you.

skeezer Says:

From what I read here and saw in the match Nole was simply the better man today, no excuses overall. Each man had there troubles and high points, but Nole was overall the steadier. The margin between these 2 is very small and on any given day…..well…tomorrow is another day….today was Nole. Well fought and entertaining.

danica Says:

Hi Jane, I am too lazy to check the stats :). But before the match, and I think at one point during the match, they showed 6-5 for Nole in finals. Either way, it’s a decent indication of their rivalry.

Skeezer, agreed. Nole was a bit better, specially in the first set while I thought that Roger got tired in the third. I am never at ease when Novak plays Roger. Kudos to him big time for such level at his age. I mean really, not one of those young guns comes even close. It was a good match. Jelena drained me of all the energy in her match :) so there was no adrenaline left in me for the man’s final :).

Hippy Chick Says:

Congrats to Nole and fans Jane,Mat4,Harry,Courbon,Michael etc etc,great final i thought it would be over quickly after that first set,but what a fight back in that second set by Roger,only to be thwarted by a maurading Nole to take the third set after riding the storm….

Commies to Fed fans Skeezer,Madmax,Nirmal,Michael etc etc,not his day today,but he continues to play beautiful tennis,even at the ripe old age of 33….

Nirmal Kumar Says:

This is a loss Roger can easily take. At the end, it was more physical than mental or skill. Having played 3 consecutive days of tennis, obviously Roger could not step up in the 3rd set. Easily he played the best tennis of the tournament coming to finals.

Kudos to Novak. He again showed lots of improvement in serve and very efficient in GS. He is the Lendl of our generation, very dour tennis but every efficient.

Margot Says:

Many congratulations to Nole and fans. Better player on the day.
But OMG those doubles in the tie! The man is human after all :0
Comms to Fed and fans. Some wonderful shots, but alas, in the end a bit of a shank fest.
Interesting match, but not high quality most of the time.

Giles Says:

Ladies and gentlemen. Here is your IW champion. Wow! So macho! NOT!

Noonen Says:

I know Novak is hurt by the screaming fans for Federer when they play. I think it is that Federer more fully represents the sinners of the world, that’s why they cheer for him. There is no other explanation I can come up with. So Novak should not feel so badly when he looks at it this way.

Sidney Says:

Novak! :)

Shows once again toughness through adversity. How he overcomes an opponent AND the crowd is beyond me.

Nusi Says:

Congrats to Halep for her biggest trophy yet! Unfortunately it was NOT TWO serbs down today… the evil big nose devil had his horns on today… he IS going to go away… eventually…

mat4 Says:

Yes, Novak is human after all. The depth of his shots changed in the TB, too.

But overall, we had, last night, a false impression about the match. The level was much higher, they defended very well, defending balls nobody could imagine they would be able to reach.

Their shots were so deceptive: very deep, with a lot of spin, falling near the lines every time. The game was risky, and in most of the cases when they missed, they took their chances and missed by an inch.

They also showed both a human face, and why they are the champions that they are: Novak choked (I read somewhere that JMac said that he choked in every single of his matches) when he was in sight of the finish line twice, Roger was emptied when he broke back in the third.

I have the impression that they feel they have to play at their limits to win such a match, and it takes a toll on their psyche. This match was in many ways similar to last year’s WB: the comeback and the letdown, everything looked so familiar. The energy of despair.

Michael Says:

Congrats to Novak for becoming the 13th player in the Professional era to hit a half century of tournament wins. In the process, he has also equalled Roger’s record at Indian Wells by amassing No.4. He is surely joining the league of Greats by this spectacular showing.

Now coming to the match, it was one of strange twists and turns and it appeared Novak was coasting to a comfortable victory in straight sets when Roger just managed to break at the right moment and take it a tie break and there we were witness to Novak’s fraility and realized the fact that he is too mortal when he double faulted thrice to lose the tie break. In the third set, it was Roger who completely lost the rhythm in his play and was spraying balls at will making far too UEs whereas Novak shrugging aside his disappointment and agony in the tie break stood firm with his sold ground strokes and executed that murderous double handed back hand down the line shots with solid precision. That proved too much for Roger on this day and may be the difference in the end was the speed of the courts. But still Roger came out with flying colours that he is still managing to reach these finals at 33. It is definitely a shame for the young guns as well as the other top players that Roger is managing to do this quite consistenly despite his age constraints.

Michael Says:

Thanks Alison !!

Rafa’s good days too are approaching with the onset of Clay season soon !!!

TennisVagabond.com Says:

Novak has won the last three straight important tournaments: WTF, AO, and here. That’s a lot of juice right there and establishes him firmly at the top. I don’t think this makes a points difference between he and Fed, as they had the same results last year.

I believe Novak, Fed and Rafa will all enter the clay season with great confidence.

Huge win for Halep. I didn’t remember Jankovic as such a choker, or generally as poor a sport as she seemed. Halep is, in my opinion, the next #1. I think she’s ready to overtake Sharapova at this point, but the Queen doesn’t seem to be disappearing. Others still scrap for the trophies she drops from overfull arms. While Serena and Sharapova are offensive minded players, it seems like the tour has for years been dominated (in the sense of most top ten players, obviously not Slam titles) by defensive players. I’m happy to see more exciting players like Halep and Bouchard coming to the fore, ahead of Wozniacki or Jancovic.

tennis :) Says:

last decade has whiteness some great rivalries
Nadal Federer
Nadal Djokovic
Djokovic Murray
Nadal Djokovic
Djokovic Federer

Djokovic has been the top performer since last 4 year & it seems Djokovic will be gunning for double digit slams in 2016

Humble Rafa Says:

As someone will soon point out – if you adjust this defeat for age, seniority and parenthood ( and some delusion on part of the analyzer) – you will find that this was indeed a win for the Chosen one.

As always, be grateful that you live on the same planet as Him.

Gordon Says:

Jane and Danica,

It’s a breath mint, and a candy mint… Sort of.

Going into yesterday’s match Nole had defeated Fed 6 times to five. If you throw in the walkover from last year’s ATP Finals then it’s 7-5, but generally no one included walkovers in head to head comparisons.

RZ Says:

I’m more interested in what this means for Jelena Jankovic. She couldn’t close out the final match, but what a great tournament for her.

RZ Says:

Also, what does this mean for the ATP rankings? Obviously no change for #s 1 and 2. But Murray is now only 115 points away from that #3 slot and doesn’t have a whole lot to defend until the French Open. Nishikori is close behind though he has more to defend at Miami (semis) and during the clay season.

Margot Says:

TennisTv eavesdropped on Jelena’s talks with her coach. It seemed a bit unethical to me, but anyway she seemed in a pitiful state, close to tears, really upset about her serve etc.
I love Halep actually but she was not at her best for much of the match. She too seemed terribly tight.

Margot Says:

Actually the Murray/Federer rivalry is much closer. Andy has a poor H2H against the other two.

Okiegal Says:

Jelena has always been vocal with her team…..She needs to calm down. She had the match in hand and her serve left. I believe her age had a lot to do with it…..She just wore out. She as much said so in her on court interview, stating that she was much older than her opponent…..but hey, she made it to the final and got a nice pay check, I would imagine. It’s a shot in the arm for her. Good luck to her for the rest of the season! She is funny….love her off court humor……on, not so much…..

RZ Says:

@Margot – I think it’s a WTA rule that the coaches must have their mics on when talking to the players.

jane Says:

thanks margot; that’s lovely.

danica Says:

Gordon, thanks for clarification ;)

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