HEAD racquet rebel Novak Djokovic has returned to the world No. 2 ranking thanks to another standout performance as the Serb won the ATP 1000 BNP Paribas Open Masters title in Indian Wells over Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Djokovic improved his record to an impressive 18-0 this season on the ATP world tour with trophies at Indian Wells, Dubai and the Australian Open and remains unbeaten since he has switched to his new HEAD YouTek IG SPEED MP 18/20 racquet. Djokovic's win followed his semi-final knockout of No. 2 Roger Federer, whom the HEAD player has now replaced in the ATP rankings.
“It makes me feel great, it’s the crown for my achievements this year," said Djokovic of his return to the second position which he also held for 26 weeks in 2010. "I think I deserve it. I’ve played the best tennis of my life in the last three months. I've been very dedicated and very professional and I want to keep on going.”
Other HEAD colleagues followed in the wake of the Serb. Stanislas Wawrinka (YouTek Prestige MP) got as far as the quarter-finals at Indian Wells, where he ran into Swiss compatriot Federer, ending his singles week 6-3, 6-4. But the all-star pair who won the Beijing Olympic gold medal also teamed in doubles for the week and reached the Indian Wells final. There was also success for HEAD's Richard Gasquet (YouTek IG Extreme Pro). The talented Frenchman joined Wawrinka in the last eight but was beaten 6-2, 6-4 by Djokovic.
In the women's draw at the stunning desert venue, newest HEAD racquet rebel Maria Sharapova played her first semi-final since last summer in Cincinnati after months of battles with injury and a recent illness. The three-time Grand Slam champion from Russia beat China's Peng Shuai for her place in the final four but was unable to get past world’s No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. "There are many good things that I felt during the week,” Sharapova commented. Even if I found myself down in parts of the match, I was able to find ways to improve my game and start playing better. In tennis, it's a lot about raising your level when you have to. So I was pretty happy with that, especially in my last match. You just have to do it for more matches at a time."