Second-seeded Novak Djokovic and seventh-seeded Roger Federer will meet for the 33rd time Sunday in the men's singles final of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Federer leads the series against Djokovic, 17-15, but the two have each won four times when they met in finals.
"Whenever we play each other it's always a huge challenge for both of us and very few points can decide the winner," said Djokovic, who advanced to the final by defeating 12th-seeded American John Isner, 7-5, 6-7 (2), 6-1, in a semifinal Saturday. "I do not expect anything less (today)."
"I just hope for myself that I will be able to perform on a high level because I'm going to need to that in order to get a chance to win against him."
Djokovic broke Isner's serve in the fourth and sixth games of the third set and held serve in the seventh to close out the victory.
"I thought I returned really well today and allowed myself to have a bunch of opportunities on his service games," Djokovic said.
"Then twice I had the chance to finish it out and I played two bad games and he played an incredible tiebreaker. And when you get to the tiebreaker with John Isner, whoever you are, you're not a favorite."
Federer avoided becoming another of Alexandr Dolgopolov's upset victims with a 6-3, 6-1 victory in Saturday's opening semifinal.
Federer won the final three games of the first set and the first two of the second. He also broke Dolgopolov's serve in a 20-point fifth game and closed out the match with a break at love.
"I was ready physically, mentally," the 28th-seeded Dolgopolov said. "I wasn't nervous much, but I wasn't sharp enough. My concentration was going away for maybe one, two points every game and you can't afford to have that in these matches."
Dolgopolov, a Ukrainian seeded 28th, upset the tournament's top seed, Spain's Rafael Nadal, Monday, and 10th-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic Thursday to advance to the semifinals of an Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour Masters 1000 tournament for the first time.
Sunday's play began at noon with the women's singles final between second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and 20th-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy. Radwanska leads the series, 4-2.
"I have to be really aggressive, but I can't rush too much because she's a wall," Pennetta said of Radwanska. "I mean I have to make seven times the winners against her. But I played really well again her in Dubai (a 6-4, 6- 1 victory last month), so I hope to play the same way this time."
Both singles winners will receive $1 million and the runners-up $500,000.
The women's and men's doubles finals were both played Saturday. The top- seeded women's team of Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan and Shuai Peng of China defeated fifth-seeded Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Sania Mirza of India, 7-6 (5), 6-2. American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, the world's top-ranked men's team, defeated the second-seeded team of Austrian Alexander Peya and Brazilian Bruno Soares, 6- 4, 6-3.
Each winning doubles team received $258,000 and the runners-up $126,000.
—City News Service.