Novak Djokovic withstood an early onslaught from Roger Federer and a late case of sweaty palms to outlast the Swiss icon 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) in the final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Sunday afternoon. The title was the No. 2-ranked Djokovic’s first of the year, 42nd of his career, and 17th Masters Series crown, tying him with Andre Agassi for third place on the all-time list. The win also improved the Serb’s career record to 16-17 against Federer, and was especially satisfying since the Swiss Maestro beat him two weeks ago in the semifinals at Dubai. Federer, ranked No. 8 coming into the tournament, has experienced marked improvement in his game since taking on Stefan Edberg as coach and switching to a new racket with a bigger hitting surface at the start of the year. He gave Djokovic everything he could handle in the first set, hitting on all cylinders and playing with controlled aggression. Federer set the tempo early, breaking the Serb in his first service game, and holding his own serve with ease, never facing a break point. Djokovic tightened up his game in the second set, and finally forced his first break point in the eighth game. Federer saved that one, but not the second. Serving at 5-3, Djokovic dropped the first two points to trail 0-30, but won the next four to level the match at a set apiece. The serving prowess that Federer exhibited in the first set and most of the second started to wane in the third. He saved a break point in the first game and was broken in the third. Djokovic stayed rock solid until the 10th game. Serving for the match at 5-4 he fell behind, 0-40, won a point and then lost his serve. Clearly a case of nerves. Nole regained his composure to force a tiebreaker, which he won handily. “I’m just very happy and thrilled to be able to win the first title in this season,” Djokovic said. “It was the first final that I played this year. It was necessary for my confidence, and hopefully I can carry that into Miami and the rest of the season.” Djokovic hit 28 winners and committed 28 unforced errors. Federer had 34 winners and 34 unforced errors. Each player served six aces.