Federer loses to Del Potro By
- Author: Regina Holmes Mar 21, 2018,
Mar 21, 2018, 7:59
Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro captured his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells, becoming the 2018 BNP Paribas Open men's singles champion with a victory over No.1 Roger Federer.
He saved three match points to break back to 5-5, then went on to dominate the decisive tiebreaker and stop Federer's 17-match winning streak with a 6-4, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (2) victory.
After an extremely scratchy and gutty semifinal win over Borna Coric, Federer again was off his game in the early going, and del Potro made him pay, taking the first set, 6-4.
Del Potro is back in the top 10 in rankings this season after dropping to No. 1,045 before beginning his comeback from three left wrist surgeries in 2016. Despite earning a match point Del Potro failed to close out the match in straight sets.
"I want to congratulate Roger, for a great week, for great success in this historical year", del Potro said.
It was the first since 2014 to go to a third-set tie-break. "It was maybe a point here or there, maybe a shot, maybe a forehand, maybe a chip". A cross-court forehand victor was followed by a backhand down the line to set up two break points and, feeling the pressure, Raonic double-faulted.
Federer's five Indian Wells titles included past year, when he beat fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka.
"I have everything that I want, and I want to keep improving my game to see what can I do", he said.
Del Potro said the first order of business when he gets to south Florida is to do some celebrating with his team.
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Federer's attention will need to switch quickly to the next event on the tour, the Miami Open, which begins on Wednesday. Having him hit something past me, that's very uncomfortable for him, and you pick the wrong side and you are like 'Why am I picking the wrong side?' Is it him or me?
"It was worth everything I've been through to experience this moment", del Potro said.
Federer said he enjoyed the battle against Del Potro, who won for just the seventh time in 25 clashes between the pair.
Federer, the oldest world number one in ATP history at 36, entered the final having dropped just one set, in a hard semi-final test from Croatia's Borna Coric.
The 36-year-old already has this year's Australian open title neatly tucked under his belt and it looked like he was marching towards yet another trophy at the Masters 1000 tournament at Indian Wells this past weekend.
"But the first thing is to try to be healthy during the whole year and play where I like to play".
According to the tournament's website, Federer said he "has to get over" the loss.
Del Potro recovered to deuce with a forehand victor.
"Not much in between us but you deserve it".