Dominic Thiem overpowered Roger Federer to claim the biggest title of his career and deny the Swiss ace a record sixth ATP Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells.
The Austrian No.7 seed dropped the first set but found his rhythm as the match progressed to secure a 3-6 6-3 7-5 victory – his first over Federer on a hard court.
Thiem had endured a lean start to 2019, with his win-loss record reading just 3-4 heading into Indian Wells.
But he turned his form around in a big way in the Californian desert.
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 18, 2019
Federer raced into a 4-1 lead and despite being broken back the 37-year-old sealed a second break to secure the first set after a successful service game.
The 25-year-old Thiem reversed the 4-1 scoreline in the second set before he evened up the match to force the deciding set.
In his third Masters 1000 final, Thiem’s confidence increased and he raised his level to outplay Federer when it mattered most to win his 12th ATP crown.
He denied the 20-time grand slam champion on nine of 11 break-point chances and a forehand winner gave Thiem the opportunity to serve for the title at 6-5 in the final set. Earlier in that game he’d chased down two Federer drop shots on consecutive points, flicking both replies for winners.
Thiem made no mistake as he closed out the match in a tick over two hours with an error from Federer – a forehand dumped into the net.
Triumphant day for Domi Thiem.
Who would have guessed his first Masters 1000 title would come on a hard court? ????
— Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) March 18, 2019
“For me it’s unreal,” Thiem said. “I was like (for) the whole match really in the zone. I enjoyed every second of it.
“I had to get used to Roger’s game because in the first set he was playing amazing and completely different than my opponents before in this tournament.
“I was struggling a little bit but I was fighting my way into the match … I think it was a very good match at the end and last two games were amazing.
“It means so much to me; I lost my first two 1000 finals and here I won it. Almost it’s worthful [sic] as a Grand Slam.”
Federer was in the final for the third straight year and lost for the second year in a row. He was beaten in a third-set tiebreaker by Juan Martin del Potro in 2018.
Thiem and Federer had split their four previous meetings.
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