Del Potro stuns Federer in Indian Wells final

Published by Matt Trollope

Juan Martin del Potro hoists the Indian Wells trophy - his first ATP Masters title - after beating Roger Federer in a thriller; Getty Images
Juan Martin del Potro saves three match points to defeat Roger Federer and win the Indian Wells crown – his first ATP Masters title.

Juan Martin del Potro has claimed a thrilling Indian Wells final to win his first ever ATP Masters crown.

Del Potro defeated world No.1 and reigning champion Roger Federer 6-4 6-7(8) 7-6(2) in two hours and 42 minutes.

Federer broke serve in the ninth game and served for the title at 5-4, yet despite leading 40-15 and holding a third match point later in the game, he couldn’t close it out.

Del Potro played a steady tiebreak as Federer broke down, dishing up two double faults and a rash of errors to fall behind 6-1.

Two points later, the Argentine raised his arms aloft as a Federer shot flew long.

The victory extends del Potro’s winning streak to 11 matches, while handing Federer his first loss of 2018.

“I’m still shaking,” del Potro laughed during the trophy presentation. “I cannot believe I’m here with this trophy. And beating Roger after great battle.

“I was really angry after the second set. But I was lucky in the last tiebreak, I played well and finally I got the trophy.

“Thank you to my team, thank you for supporting me, to stay with me in the good moments, bad moments, and you’re very special. I will share this trophy with you, with my family in Argentina, with my friends, with all my country.”

Del Potro’s anger may have related to the vociferous crowd support for Federer, which reached fever pitch in a thrilling second-set tiebreak.

Federer saw two set points come and go and then faced a del Potro match point when trailing 7-8.

Yet with two serves in hand, Federer saved that and moved ahead 9-8, and closed out the set on the next point to send the match to a decider.

He looked the stronger player in the latter stages of the third set, but once del Potro saved that trio of match points in an absorbing 10th game, the momentum noticeably shifted.

“Juan Martin, well played today. Tough match, but well done, you deserve it – you were the better player at the end,” Federer said.

“There was not much in between us, but you deserve it. Well done, and enjoy the moment.”

The head-to-head now stands at 18-7 in Federer’s favour, yet del Potro has won four of their six meetings in finals.

The Argentine will rise to world No.6 after winning his second title of the season, having triumphed in Acapulco the week before arriving at Indian Wells.

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