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Del Potro stuns Federer

21 March 2018

Roger Federer was incensed during his Indian Wells Masters final loss to Juan Martín del Potro on Sunday. "I'm doing this because I love it", said the 29-year-old.

"I was thinking about (that) forehand miss the entire time", del Potro said. "It's hard to describe with words. It's like a dream".

Del Potro survived three match points before clinching the championship in the tiebreaker, ending a two hour, 42 minute marathon contest on the main stadium court.

"I'm still shaking. I can not believe I'm here with this trophy, beating Roger after a great battle", he said during the on-court trophy presentation.

Never short of fighting spirit even when his joints were unable to back it up, del Potro saved three match points and blew one of his own on the way to a victory that snapped Federer's 17-match winning streak this year. Both players argued with the chair umpire throughout the match. "It had no effect on the outcome".

Seeded fifth in Miami, Del Potro will have his work cut out if he is to secure successive victories, facing either Yuichi Sugita or Robin Haase in the second round before a possible last-32 meeting with 2016 runner-up Kei Nishikori. But del Potro has outmuscled the 20-time Grand Slam champ when it mattered, beating him at the US Open and again Sunday to win his maiden Masters title.

"And after that, I made a big effort to come back and play tennis with the slice". It was his first win over the Swiss, and he proved it was no fluke when he beat Federer again at the ATP Finals later that year.

Del Potro is hardly a feel-good story anymore, the underdog scrapping his way back from three wrist surgeries between 2014 and 2015 that caused him to contemplate retirement. (Having said that), Juan Martin well played today. Federer settled in and got the second set to a tiebreaker, which he appeared to win until a delayed challenge by del Potro overturned Federer's serve on set point.

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Federer blasted 10 aces but had five double faults and his serve was broken twice.

"It should sting", Federer said.

"The question is how long?"

"You move on. There's no time to dwell over it", Federer said. "I am exited to see what is next". It really could have gone either way, until it became obvious in the third set tie-break that it would go del Potro's. The Argentine won his first title of this category and he did it exactly in the same way he achieved everything else in his career: fighting to the end, with a lot of heart, against all odds, blasting massive forehands... in a memorable, unforgettable way. "I mean, we played a great level of tennis".

"But I was able to find my game and get out of that game".

With the win, combined with injuries to Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, it is now looking like Del Potro is the biggest threat to Federer's rule over the ATP Tour. Margin = +45 points 5-9 Shots = 152 won / 130 lost.

The draw has put the world number one in the opposite half to the two heavyweight opponents.

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Del Potro stuns Federer