Juan Martin del Potro stunned Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (7/2), on Sunday to win his first Indian Wells title and second consecutive ATP crown. The 29-year-old from Argentina handed Federer his first match defeat of 2018 and extended his own win streak to 11 matches, including a title run earlier this month at Acapulco.
Indian Wells champion Del Potro, nagged by wrist injuries throughout his career, survived three match points before claiming the championship in a third-set tie-breaker, ending 162 minute marathon contest. Del Potro won the first five points of the deciding tie-breaker then closed it out when Swiss superstar Federer, who had won a career-best 17 straight matches to start the year, smacked a forehand long.
"I'm still shaking," Del Potro said. "It's difficult to describe with words. It's like a dream."
It was an emotional match for both players as each took turns questioning the chair umpire. Del Potro urged him to stop the pro-Federer crowd from making noise on his serve and an irritated Federer also had a couple of lively conversations with the umpire. It was Del Potro's seventh victory over Federer in 25 career meetings, one of those wins coming in the 2009 US Open final. On the other hand Federer, who is the oldest world number one in ATP history at 36, entered the final having dropped just one set, in a difficult semi-final test from Croatia's Borna Coric.