INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Rafael Nadal watched Juan Martin del Potro's last shot sail wide on his fourth match point and collapsed flat on his back. He wasn't down for long, bouncing back up to celebrate his third title in four tournaments since coming back from a knee injury.
Nadal rallied from a set and 1-3 down in the second to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the BNP Paribas Open final on Sunday, capping an amazing 11/2;-month run since his seven-month layoff ended in February.
"Seriously, it's impossible to have better comeback, no?" he said, smiling. "Happy for everything."
Nadal improved to a career-best 17-1 on the year, including 14 straight match wins. He's won three titles — two on clay while runner-up in another on his favorite surface — and now his first on hard courts since Tokyo in October 2010. He had lost six previous finals on the surface.
"That's makes emotional week for me," he said. "Very important victory for me, winning against the best players of the world on a surface that is good for them."
Maria Sharapova defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-2 to win her first title of the year in the women's final between two former top-ranked players.
Sharapova dictated from the opening game, when she broke Wozniacki at love with groundstrokes that had the Dane running from side to side. Sharapova faced just two break points on her serve in the nearly 11/2;-hour match.
"I always felt like I was always a foot ahead, especially with the breaks," she said.