The Argentine Juan Martin del Potro deployed his best tennis on Sunday to devote champion Indian Wells to defeat in the final Roger Federer Swiss.
Del Potro, sixth seed, won the first Masters 1000 of his career by overtaking the first racket in the world in three sets of 6-4, 6-7 (8/10), 7/6 (7/2) in two hours and 43 minutes.
Tandil won the most important individual title of his career almost a decade after the US Open in 2009, after saving three match balls.
Federer started the duel with his usual solidity, skilful looking for the lateral displacements of his rival and delighting the public with the refined class of his blows. Del Potro, meanwhile, showed a much improved backhand and impregnable service, as well as great bravery going up to the net at key moments.
In the fifth game, 16 minutes into the match, the desired break of service came for the Argentine. It was pointed at him after an unforced error by Federer, something that was habitual in that first set dominated by the ease of Tandil’s with the right, including a wonderful crossed backhand with which he consolidated the advantage (4-2).
Later, he won his serve in white (5-3) while Federer remembered the player who played this Saturday against Borna Coric in the first set, indecisive for instants and without determination in important strokes. Del Potro took the first set with clarity, where he only let six points escape under his serve.
The Argentine stood up to the stadium with a blow below the legs in the second game of the next heat, but his rival did not lose sag and carried the lead in the second set, celebrating effusively every time he secured his serve.
With 5-4, Federer had two set balls that were neutralized by his opponent, who forced his opponent to play the sudden death. The Swiss, who was desperate at times with the chairman, seemed to win the set, but his first serve was out after the revision of the ‘hawk’s eye’.
Moments later, he committed a double fault (6-6), but he recovered in time -even though del Potro had a match point- to send the match to the tie-breaker.
The public, completely overturned with the number one in the world despite the flowering of some Argentine flags in the stands, saw how the two players, touched physically and less fine, maintained equality until the ninth game, where the Swiss broke.
Federer served to take the game, but could not materialize any of the three balls he had to lift the trophy. Del Potro tied the match (5-5) and, enraged, asked for support from the spectators shortly before moving on to a history-making game (6-5).
In the ‘tie-break’, the tandilense stepped strong (5-0) and took advantage of the sea of errors of an off-center Federer, which leaves the 18-7 mark with his direct confrontations with del Potro. Federer, who came to the clash with an immaculate 17-0 this season, retains the world number one ATP ranking despite the defeat.