The third meeting between world No. 5 Rafael Nadal and world No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro in Indian Wells was the most dramatic, with Nadal winning in three sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
"It's probably one of the most emotional victories of my career," Nadal said.
With the win, Nadal becomes the fourth player to win at least three tournament titles in Indian Wells joining Roger Federer (4), Michael Chang (3) and Jimmy Connors (3). The Mallorcan also raised the trophy in 2007 and 2009.
The title set several milestones for Nadal as he won his 600th career match, 53rd career singles title, and 22nd ATP Masters 1000 title. The 26-year-old also kept his winning streak alive, now at 14 matches in a row.
The former World No. 1 player missed seven months of tennis at the end of last season and the start of 2103 due to a partially torn tendon in his left knee.
In his return to tennis, Nadal has now won three tournaments adding Indian Wells to South American clay court titles in Brazil and Mexico.
Nadal and del Potro thrilled the nearly capacity crowd of 16,741 with long rallies. The Argentine rallied from 0-3 in the first set, breaking Nadal's serve twice to win the first set 6-4.
The world No. 7 del Potro broke Nadal's serve early in the second set, but the Spainard stormed back winning the second set 6-3.
Nadal could not convert three break point opportunities he had at the beginning of the third set. But the soon-to-be world No. 4 player converted his fourth break opportunity and rode that to victory.
"I got a little bit, too much aggressive for my game," Nadal told ESPN after the match. "That's why I had a few important mistakes. [del Potro] is a great player and you cannot have mistakes against a player like him."
The 24-year-old del Potro was attempting to earn his first ATP Masters 1000 title, in coming up short is now 0-3 versus Nadal in Indian Wells. The Argentine seemed to run out of energy after beating top 3 players Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic both in three sets.
Both players thanked the fans after the match.
"Thank you to all of you, you support me every single match, it's tough, come into the court and have to play Rafa, Djovokic, Murray, you were behind me every day," del Potro said.
"I have this amazing feeling to be in front of all of you [fans]," Nadal said. "Your support since I came back after the injuries has been huge, more than ever I can say thank you very much everybody, all the crowd, to make me feel like home."
"I'm very looking foward to be back for a lot of more years playing Indian Wells, it's one of my favorite tournaments," Nadal said.