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Del Potro stops Federer at Indian Wells

Del Potro stops Federer at Indian Wells

Del Potro handed top-ranked Roger Federer his first loss of the year with a tense 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-2) victory in the BNP Paribas Open final at Indian Wells on Sunday.

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.

Federer broke for a chance to serve for the match at 4-4 in the third set, but del Potro wouldn't go away, saving three match points during Federer's 5-4 service game.

Del Potro arrived in the Californian desert on the back of a title win in Acapulco but had far from a smooth ride against an agitated Federer, who simply would not give up on his quest for a sixth Indian Wells title.

Beating Federer has never been easy - del Potro had succeeded just six times in 24 previous attempts - and the nail-biting final lasted nearly three hours with both players taking occasional issue with the chair umpire. Against Juan Martin Del Potro in the final, it would be no easy match for the Swiss, but definitely one he should win as going into the match he boasted an 18-6 head-to-head.

Del Potro managed to force a tie-break but he was no match for Federer, who outlasted his powerful opponent to finally force a decider.

Federer's forehand went long, giving del Potro a break point.

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

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

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.

Federer does not have long to cool down, however, as he is set to compete in the Miami Open, which starts Monday. Federer battled back in the second set, forcing a tiebreaker and avoiding match point after del Potro netted a forehand. "It's unfortunate, but I'm happy for him".

The two champions weren't just fighting each other, but also chair umpire Fergus Murphy, with Federer repeatedly barking at him over missed calls, while del Potro was irate over Murphy's failure to corral the raucous and disrespectful pro-Federer crowd.

"It was a great match, honestly", Federer said. Fans all over the world that tuned in to watch this instant classic will no doubt enjoy discussing the extended, bruising baseline exchanges from these two heavy hitters.

Federer cruised into Sunday's final having dropped just one set in five matches, but he found himself defending a losing position on Court 1 as Del Potro won the first set in comfortable fashion.

Juan Martin del Potro suffered serious wrist injuries through his career.

Del Potro recovered to deuce with a forehand victor. I mean, we played a great level of tennis. Winning doesn't happen evenly all over the court as much we think.

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