Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Sports | By Toni Houston

Del Potro hands Federer first loss of season, wins Indian Wells title

Del Potro hands Federer first loss of season, wins Indian Wells title

Federer wasted three match points before suffering a 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-2) defeat to the Argentinian on Sunday.

"I've been working hard to get this".

Naomi Osaka of Japan won the women's title 6-3, 6-2 over Russian Daria Kasatkina in a matchup of 20-year-old rising stars.

With Federer on top 6-5 in the second set tie break, he appeared to fire an ace to clinch the set, but a late challenge by del Potro overturned the call and the Swiss was double faulted.

"At the end you saw we are appreciative of the finals that we played against each other, which I think is really important for both of us".

"I don't think Roger is ready to give up his time at the top of the game just yet, but I do think he is definitely, definitely putting himself in the mix", Croft told Sky Sports.

The win at Indian Wells is Juan Martin del Potro's first Masters 1000 title and a sure sign that his physical troubles seem to a thing of the past, and his game and confidence are back where they belong. "I just didn't do what I needed to do".

It was Federer who broke first in a tight final set to serve for the match but Del Potro saved two championship points and thrashed a forehand through the Swiss to put the match back on serve at 5-5. "And then it goes very quickly in the breaker", Federer said.

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According to Odds Shark, the latest figures from online bookmaker Bovada has Woods odds at Arnold Palmer Invitational set at +600. He fell no more than two shots behind, closing the margin when Stenson bogeyed the 17th. "Today was just a bad day", he said.

Beating Federer has never been easy - del Potro had succeeded just six times in 24 previous attempts - and the nailbiting final lasted nearly three hours with both players taking occasional issue with the chair umpire.

"It's so big", Del Potro said.

And Federer made him pay for his error, winning the two following points to take the match to a third and deciding set.

To Del Potro, he added: "Well done, you deserve it, you were the better player in the end".

The tennis was thrilling, and the pot boiled throughout with umpire Fergus Murphy blamed heatedly by both players, nearly in rotation.

He said: "I'm so happy to be back in the final here in Indian Wells".

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.

"I'm surprising myself. I don't like to compare this time with a few years ago, but I'm just enjoying what I have to do every day. I had a great run and a great week on and off the court".

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