Former US Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro stunned world number one Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (7/2) to win the Indian Wells Masters tournament on Sunday.
In the close to three-hour thriller, the two players kept the audience on tenterhooks, as Federer came from one set down to level scores in a tie breaker.
Federer missed clinching the championship, when he broke del Potro at 4-4, then fluffed the opportunity when he served, by allowing the Argentinian to claw his way back to level scores at 5-5. Like the second, the third set also went into a tie break, with Federer spraying many errors and losing the match.
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.
He won the first five points of the third set tiebreaker then closed it out when Federer smack a forehand long.
“I’m still shaking,” Del Potro said. “It’s difficult to describe with words. It’s like a dream.
“After all my problems, after all my surgeries, I couldn’t believe I’m here winning a Masters 1000 and beating Roger. It’s amazing.”
The 29-year-old from Argentina has thus handed Federer his first match defeat of 2018 and extended his own win streak to 11 matches as he captured his second ATP Tour title in a row after a triumph this month in Acapulco.
Del Potro was competing in his first Indian Wells final since 2013 when he lost to Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
This is just Del Potro’s seventh win over Federer in 25 career meetings.
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.
“It’s a bit disappointing but that’s how it goes,” Federer told the press.
“But well done to him. I lost my serve a little bit (in the tiebreak) and he was clean.”
“Standing at the trophy ceremony I wish I could’ve played that tiebreak again”, he added.
“I had a great run again this week,” Federer said. “We love coming here. … There was not much in between us, but you (del Potro) deserve it. Enjoy the moment.”
“See you all next year.”