Radwanska meets Pennetta for women's title; Sania-Black lose in women's doubles finals to Hsieh-Peng

Novak Djokovic beat John Isner 7-5, 6-7 (2), 6-1 on Saturday to reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open, where he’ll resume his longtime rivalry with Roger Federer.

Federer had a much easier time in the semifinals, beating Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-3, 6-1 and putting himself in position to win a fifth career title at Indian Wells. Djokovic is a two-time winner here.

Federer leads their rivalry 17-15, having beaten Djokovic two weeks ago in the semifinals at Dubai. Before that, Djokovic had won three straight times over the Swiss star.

Second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska will play Flavia Pennetta in the women’s final on Sunday before the men’s title is decided.

Djokovic struggled with the big-serving Isner, who beat him here in the semis two years ago before losing to Federer in the final.

“With that serve, obviously, he can win against anybody on a good day,” Djokovic said. “I thought I returned really well today and allowed myself to have a bunch of opportunities on his service games.”

Djokovic had a chance to win in two sets, breaking Isner to go up 5-4 and then again at 6-5.

But the American broke back at love to level at 6-6, and then dominated in the tiebreaker. Isner won four straight points and served his sixth ace to win it 7-2 and force the decisive third set.

Djokovic broke Isner for a 3-1 lead in the third. Djokovic survived a break point in the next game and held for a 4-1 lead.

Isner called for the trainer a second time in the match to work on an area above his left knee before he got broken to trail 5-1, missing two straight forehands. Djokovic came up with his own big serve on match point that Isner couldn’t return.

Isner had eight aces to Djokovic’s seven, and the American managed 31 winners, just one more than Djokovic.

Easy outing for Federer

While Djokovic had to sweat out his victory, Federer was coolly efficient on the hot day in the desert, firing seven aces and connecting on 72 percent of his first serves in the match that lasted barely an hour.

Federer never faced a break point on his serve while breaking Dolgopolov four times, including a seven-deuce game to go up 4-1 in the second set. Dolgopolov had a chance to win that game four times, but each time his unforced error brought it back to deuce.

Federer is aiming to make Indian Wells his second title of the year. He’s coming off a victory two weeks ago at Dubai, and has a 19-2 match record this year. He won titles here from 2004-06 and again in 2012.

Sania-Black lose in finals

India’s Sania Mirza and her Zimbabwean partner Cara Black went down to top seeds Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan and Peng Shuai of China [7-6(5), 6-2] in the women’s doubles final of the BNP Paribas Open tennis here.

Hsieh and Peng are the first players from their respective countries to win the Indian Wells title.

With their Doha win earlier this season, Hsieh and Peng surpassed Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci to become the World No.1 doubles team.

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