Rafael Nadal battled back from a set and a break down to claim the biggest title since his return from injury with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Juan Martin Del Potro in the BNP Paribas Open final.
Fifth seed Nadal spent seven months on the sidelines because of his ongoing knee problems but has been in impressive form since his return, winning two titles from three finals before Indian Wells.
And he extended that to three with his biggest win of the year, slowly asserting his superiority until he dominated the final set to seal his record 22nd Masters title - passing Roger Federer's haul of 21.
"It's probably one of the most emotional victories of my career," Nadal said in the post-match presentation ceremony, broadcast on Sky Sports 2.
Nadal enjoys his Indian Wells win
"The support since I came back has been huge. It's an unforgettable week for me and an unforgettable tournament."
If there were any doubts that the Spaniard would get back to his best following his knee troubles, he has dispelled them this week with victories over Del Potro, Tomas Berdych and, in particular, a quarter-final triumph over Federer.
His rewards, on top of the trophy and prize money, will be a return to the top four ahead of compatriot David Ferrer, and a rest - he has decided not to play in the upcoming tournament in Miami.
More:Rafael Nadal Juan Martin Del Potro Rafael Nadal BNP Paribas Rafael Nadal Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open
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