Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Del Potro outlasts Federer to win Indian Wells final

Del Potro outlasts Federer to win Indian Wells final

Juan Martin Del Potro is congratulated by Roger Federer after their men's final at Indian Wells on Sunday. AFP
Juan Martin Del Potro is congratulated by Roger Federer after their men's final at Indian Wells on Sunday. AFP

Del Potro outlasts Federer to win Indian Wells final

Former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro stunned top-ranked 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.

“I’m still shaking,” Del Potro said. “It’s difficult to describe with words. It’s like a dream.”

Del Potro, nagged by wrist injuries throughout his career, survived three match points before claiming the championship in a third-set tie-breaker, ending a two hour, 42 minute marathon contest.

“I cannot believe I won this tournament, beating Roger in a great final and this level of tennis. We played great tennis today,” Del Potro said.

“I just want to keep winning titles like this if I can.”

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.

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.

“I don’t remember half of it,” said Federer. “I was trying to pump myself up more, get energy for me. It had no effect on the outcome.”

Del Potro was competing in his first Indian Wells final since 2013, when he lost to Spaniard Rafael Nadal.

It was Del Potro’s seventh victory over Federer in 25 career meetings, one of those wins coming in the 2009 US Open final.

“I always play good against him. I won a couple of finals and lost a couple of finals. In the end I was lucky to win. We played great tennis today,” Del Potro said.

World No8 Del Potro is back in the rankings top 10 after dropping to 1,045th before beginning his comeback from three left wrist surgeries in 2016.

“I am excited to see what is next,” he said. “I am still surprising myself and I want to keep surprising the tennis tour,” Del Potro said.

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

‘It should sting’

He said it is going to take a little longer than normal to get over this one.

“It should sting,” Federer said. “The question is how long? It is disappointing talking about a great match like this and losing.

“You move on. There’s no time to dwell over it. I see the positives at the end of the day.”

Federer survived a match point in the second set tiebreaker to force the third.

“It was a lot of chances at either end,” he said. “He should have maybe closed it first in the second set I believe. Even early in the second set I think he had break point chances.

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

In the 10th game of the third set Federer returned the favour with three match points of his own but Del Potro timed his forehand shots perfectly.

“It was disappointing,” Federer said. “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.”

Federer, the oldest world No1 in ATP history at 36, entered the final having dropped just one set, in a difficult semifinal test from Croatia’s Borna Coric.

Federer’s five Indian Wells titles included last year, when he beat fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon

  • Migrant workers set to return from Malaysia

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed on Thursday that 158 Cambodian students and migrant workers will fly home from Malaysia on Friday morning. This is the second flight to bring Cambodians home from Malaysia. A ministry notice said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH754 will