New champs crowned at BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells
Rafael Nadal wins 3rd tournament title in past four outings
Rafael Nadal overcame a first-set loss to defeat Juan Martin del Potro to win the men's final and Maria Sharapova topped Caroline Wozniacki, 6-2, 6-2 in the women's final of the BNP Paribas Open.
Del Potro lost the first three games, then won nine of the next 11.
Nadal won the final five games of the second set and did not have his serve broken in the third set for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, increasing his winning streak to 14 matches and record for 2013 to 17-1, the best start of his career.
"A lot of things happened the last seven months, (so) to be back here and to have this very heavy trophy with me is amazing," said Nadal, who returned to play in February after being sidelined for seven months.
"Beating three Top 10 players and winning a title like this is just something unbelievable for me. I'm very, very happy and very emotional."
The victory was Nadal's 600th on the Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour, joining Roger Federer as the only active players to achieve the feat. Nadal has defeated del Potro in eight of their 11 meetings, including each of the last four.
"I think Rafa deserved to win," said del Potro. "The last hour of the match, he played so solid and put me so far (from) the baseline and made winners.
"Rafa played really well today in the second and third sets. He broke me early in the third. Playing against him when the score is down is tougher. I was fighting all the time but he won in the end."
Nadal, who was seeded fifth, received $1 million for winning the tournament. The seventh-seeded del Potro earned $500,000 for being the runner up.
While the men's final lasted two hours, 29 minutes, Sharapova completed her victory in 1:21.
"The scoreline makes the match look a lot easier than it was," Sharapova said. "It was a tough match, a tough battle, and there were a lot of games that went to deuce and long games.
"Those games could have easily swung the other way, especially some opportunities she had in the second set. I felt like I was always a foot ahead though, especially with the breaks."
Sharapova, who was seeded second, made 25 unforced errors to Wozniacki's 19, but had 33 winners to the Dane's two.
"She was putting pressure on me from the start," said Wozniacki, who was seeded eighth. "I felt like everything she wanted to do today was going in -- she was making very few errors, and when she did, it was at times where it didn't really matter.
"Her first and second serves were pretty much the same speed, she stepped into the returns, and even when she was running, she still came down with some shots that were going very close to the lines. I have to say she just played too well."
Sharapova did not lose a set in her six matches in the tournament.
The victory was Sharapova's fifth in her seven matches against Wozniacki and third in a row.
The 28th career Women's Tennis Association Tour championship and second in the BNP Paribas Open was worth $1 million for Sharapova. She also won the 2006 tournament, known at the time as the Pacific Life Open.
Wozniacki received $500,000.
Copyright 2014 City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.