Del Potro upsets Federer, Osaka claims first title
07:56, Mar 21, 2018
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The Argentine claimed his first ATP Masters 1000 title by sensationally ending Roger Federer's ideal start to 2018 in the Indian Wells Masters final on Sunday.
"I'm so happy to win a title like this", Del Potro told the ATP website, dedicating his maiden Masters 1000 victory to his beloved dog Cesar who recently passed away. The younger crop will be scrutinising how he beat Federer, taking notes on what is needed on-court to topple tennis" greatest, while Djokovic and Murray will have watched that Indian Wells final and thought, simply, "That can be me'. Even early in the second set I think he had break point chances. I have everything that I want, and I want to keep improving my game to see what can I do.
"I was close to quitting tennis because I had three surgeries on my wrist and I couldn't fix the problem", he said. I played really well in the [third set] tiebreak.
But he got off to a quick start against Federer, breaking the 36-year-old in the fifth game on his way to claiming the first set.
Del Potro, who defeated Federer in last year's US Open semi-final, saved three match points in the deciding set before the Swiss legend struggled to serve out. "Juan Martin was a bit better at the end". "It was maybe a point here or there, maybe a shot, maybe a forehand, maybe a chip". Earlier he won his first ATP 500 title in five years at Acapulco and returned to world's top 10.
But tennis is a game of abrupt momentum shifts and tiny margins, and though del Potro has had more than his share of misfortune through the years, this turned out to be his lucky day.
Del Potro after winning the 2009 US Open over Federer, has had multiple wrist surgeries and didn't know if he would ever play tennis again. "And then it goes very quickly in the breaker", Federer said.
The thrilling victory - lasting nearly three hours - secured a maiden Masters 1000 title for world number eight Del Potro and just his seventh win in 25 attempts against Federer.
He failed to break the dominance of Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, though, and a string of career-threatening wrist injuries nearly forced him to give up on tennis.
Federer's five Indian Wells titles included previous year, when he beat fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka.
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. His forehand is a shot of such devastating power as shall likely never be seen again. He said Sunday he won't decide whether to play in the French Open until after he plays Miami.
Del Potro boasts an ugly head-to-head against Federer.
Federer still leads head-to-head, 18-7, but del Potro is now 4-2 in finals.
Del Potro is therefore a shining example on two fronts.
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