Juan Martin del Potro ends Roger Federer's 17-match winning streak in 2018 to take title
Juan Martin del Potro v Roger Federer 6-4 6-7 7-6

Juan Martin del Potro ends Roger Federer's 17-match winning streak in 2018 to take title

19/03/2018

Juan Martin del Potro ended Roger Federer’s best ever start to a season to clinch the Indian Wells title.

The Argentine took the first set 6-4 before the world No 1, who had won his first 17 matches of the year coming into the match, clinched an incredibly close second-set tie break 10-8.

But Del Potro kept his nerve in a thrilling climax to dominate the final-set breaker, winning it 7-2.

It denied Federer a record sixth title in Indian Wells and gave the Argentine, who had to save three match points, his first ATP Masters 1000 title.

"I'm still shaking I'm so nervous. It's difficult to describe with words, it's like a dream," del Potro said on court after extending his own winning streak to 11 matches.

"I've been working hard to get this, and I did it after all my problems, all my surgeries. I can't believe I'm here and winning a Masters 1000, beating Roger. It's amazing."

Beating Federer has never been easy - del Potro had succeeded just six times in 24 previous attempts - and the nailbiting final lasted almost three hours with both players taking occasional issue with the chair umpire.

Del Potro arrived in the Californian desert on the back of a title win in Acapulco but had far from a smooth ride against an agitated Federer, who simply would not give up on his quest for a sixth Indian Wells title.

The Argentine seized the opening set and had a match point in the second set tie break but misfired on a forehand - usually his most dependable weapon - to allow the 36-year-old Swiss back into the match.

"I was thinking about (that) forehand miss the entire time," del Potro said.

With Federer on top 6-5 in the second set tie break, he appeared to fire an ace to clinch the set, but a late challenge by del Potro overturned the call and the Swiss was double faulted.

An annoyed Federer barked at the umpire during a changeover and, fired up by his grievance, took the second set to even up the contest before pushing del Potro to the limits in the final stanza.

The third set went with serve until Federer blasted a cross-court winner to break del Potro's serve and take a 5-4 advantage - breaking a run of 32 consecutive service game wins for the Argentine.

The Swiss maestro served for the set, and the title, but del Potro dug deep to save three match points, two at 40-15 down, before breaking back to send the stanza to a tiebreak, which the Argentine dominated.

"I lost my serve a little bit, and then he was clean and I wasn't. And then it goes very quickly in the breaker," Federer said.

"As close as it can be sometimes when you're not feeling it or momentum has shifted, it's just crazy how it can go the other way."

Related news

Nadal cruises into Monte Carlo final

Nadal cruises into Monte Carlo final

Defending champion Rafa Nadal remains on course for an 11th Monte Carlo Masters title after beating Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-1 in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Rafa Nadal crushes Dominic Thiem to set up Grigor Dimitrov clash in semi-finals

Rafa Nadal crushes Dominic Thiem to set up Grigor Dimitrov clash in semi-finals

World number one Rafa Nadal reached the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday as he hammered Dominic Thiem 6-0, 6-2.

Novak Djokovic bows out in Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal progresses

Novak Djokovic bows out in Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal progresses

Novak Djokovic missed out on a Monte Carlo Masters quarter-final with Rafael Nadal after falling to Dominic Thiem in the third round.

Rafael Nadal strolls past Aljaz Bedene in Monte Carlo, Novak Djokovic passes Borna Coric test

Rafael Nadal strolls past Aljaz Bedene in Monte Carlo, Novak Djokovic passes Borna Coric test

World number one Rafa Nadal launched his bid for an 11th Monte Carlo Masters title with a 6-1 6-3 second-round victory over Slovenia's Alijaz Bedene as Novak Djokovic overcame a late wobble to see off Borna Coric on Wednesday.

Dominic Thiem saves match point in win over Andrey Rublev, Kyle Edmund crashes out

Dominic Thiem saves match point in win over Andrey Rublev, Kyle Edmund crashes out

Fifth seed Dominic Thiem saved a match point in completing a 5-7 7-5 7-5 win over Andrey Rublev in the Monte-Carlo Masters second round on Tuesday.

Dominant Novak Djokovic races past Dusan Lajovic in Monte Carlo

Dominant Novak Djokovic races past Dusan Lajovic in Monte Carlo

Former world number one Novak Djokovic showed signs of rediscovering his form with a dominant 6-0 6-1 victory over Dusan Lajovic in the opening round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Monday.

John Isner outlasts Alexander Zverev for first Miami title

John Isner outlasts Alexander Zverev for first Miami title

John Isner found new energy and outlasted Germany's Alexander Zverev 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 at the Miami Open on Sunday for the biggest title of his career.

Sloane Stephens sees off Jelena Ostapenko to win Miami title

Sloane Stephens sees off Jelena Ostapenko to win Miami title

American Sloane Stephens kept intact her streak of never having lost a final as she defeated Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 7-6(5) 6-1 to claim the Miami Open title on Saturday.

John Isner stuns Juan Martin Del Potro to make Miami final

John Isner stuns Juan Martin Del Potro to make Miami final

Big serving John Isner overwhelmed Juan Martin del Potro 6-1 7-6(2) in the Miami Open semi-finals on Friday, ending the Argentine's 15-match winning streak.

RELATED NEWS

Nadal cruises into Monte Carlo final
Rafa Nadal v Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-1

Nadal cruises into Monte Carlo final

Defending champion Rafa Nadal remains on course for an 11th Monte Carlo Masters title after beating Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-1 in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Rafa Nadal crushes Dominic Thiem to set up Grigor Dimitrov clash in semi-finals
Rafa Nadal v Dominic Thiem 6-0, 6-2

Rafa Nadal crushes Dominic Thiem to set up Grigor Dimitrov clash in semi-finals

World number one Rafa Nadal reached the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday as he hammered Dominic Thiem 6-0, 6-2.

Novak Djokovic bows out in Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal progresses
Dominic Thiem v Novak Djokovic 6-7(2) 6-2 6-3

Novak Djokovic bows out in Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal progresses

Novak Djokovic missed out on a Monte Carlo Masters quarter-final with Rafael Nadal after falling to Dominic Thiem in the third round.

Rafael Nadal strolls past Aljaz Bedene in Monte Carlo, Novak Djokovic passes Borna Coric test
Rafael Nadal v Aljaz Bedene 6-1, 6-3

Rafael Nadal strolls past Aljaz Bedene in Monte Carlo, Novak Djokovic passes Borna Coric test

World number one Rafa Nadal launched his bid for an 11th Monte Carlo Masters title with a 6-1 6-3 second-round victory over Slovenia's Alijaz Bedene as Novak Djokovic overcame a late wobble to see off Borna Coric on Wednesday.

Dominic Thiem saves match point in win over Andrey Rublev, Kyle Edmund crashes out
Dominic Thiem v Andrey Rublev 5-7 7-5 7-5

Dominic Thiem saves match point in win over Andrey Rublev, Kyle Edmund crashes out

Fifth seed Dominic Thiem saved a match point in completing a 5-7 7-5 7-5 win over Andrey Rublev in the Monte-Carlo Masters second round on Tuesday.

Dominant Novak Djokovic races past Dusan Lajovic in Monte Carlo
Novak Djokovic v Dusan Lajovic 6-0 6-1

Dominant Novak Djokovic races past Dusan Lajovic in Monte Carlo

Former world number one Novak Djokovic showed signs of rediscovering his form with a dominant 6-0 6-1 victory over Dusan Lajovic in the opening round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Monday.

John Isner outlasts Alexander Zverev for first Miami title
John Isner v Alexander Zverev 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4

John Isner outlasts Alexander Zverev for first Miami title

John Isner found new energy and outlasted Germany's Alexander Zverev 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 at the Miami Open on Sunday for the biggest title of his career.

Sloane Stephens sees off Jelena Ostapenko to win Miami title
Sloane Stephens v Jelena Ostapenko 7-6(5) 6-1

Sloane Stephens sees off Jelena Ostapenko to win Miami title

American Sloane Stephens kept intact her streak of never having lost a final as she defeated Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 7-6(5) 6-1 to claim the Miami Open title on Saturday.

John Isner stuns Juan Martin Del Potro to make Miami final
John Isner v Juan Martin Del Potro 6-1 7-6(2)

John Isner stuns Juan Martin Del Potro to make Miami final

Big serving John Isner overwhelmed Juan Martin del Potro 6-1 7-6(2) in the Miami Open semi-finals on Friday, ending the Argentine's 15-match winning streak.