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Del Potro ends Roger Federer's unbeaten run to win Indian Wells title

Del Potro ends Roger Federer's unbeaten run to win Indian Wells title

World No. 1 Roger Federer lavished praise on long-time nemesis Juan Martin del Potro after their hard-fought battle during Sunday's Indian Wells final. "It's like a dream".

Del Potro complained to the umpire at the changeover about the noise from a crowd that was largely supporting Federer in an increasingly feisty encounter. Federer mishit a forehand high into the air beyond the baseline, giving del Potro another break point.

The conversion of two break points to Federer's one (both saved three apiece) was crucial to Del Potro's success, and it highlighted a key facet to his game that few other players on the Tour possess - bottle.

World No. 8 Del Potro is back in the top 10 for the first time since 2014.

"I have everything that I want, and I want to keep improving my game to see what can I do", he said.

The Canadian did secure comfortable holds in each of his next two service games but Del Potro - runner-up to Rafael Nadal at this tournament in 2013 - was not to be denied, breaking again in game nine following Raonic's netted backhand to advance to his fourth Masters final.

"But what's interesting is that he put himself out there with no double-hander nearly, but just happy to slice and still take losses, I guess, you know, because he knew it was going to probably not be enough against some players, but he was happy enough playing this way, which I admire a lot".

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Del Potro has struggled with injury since beating Federer in the 2009 US Open final to win his first grand slam, missing nearly the entire 2010 season after undergoing surgery on his wrist. "Maybe I'm in better shape, because a few years ago, I never win a title like this", he added.

Federer was chasing his 28th Masters 1000 crown and 98th ATP title overall but he was upstaged by Del Potro early, the Argentine star losing just six points on serve in the opening set. Del Potro trails in their series 18-7, but owns a 4-2 advantage in finals.

Federer, the oldest world number one in ATP history at 36, entered the final having dropped just one set, in a hard semi-final test from Croatia's Borna Coric. "I was just also just trying to pump myself up more, to get energy for me".

"The question is how long?" "Well done. Enjoy the moment". "So I couldn't afford to lose points based on nerves, and I had to keep making the right decisions". "I still see the positives at the end of the day".

"You move on. There's no time to dwell over it".

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

Surprisingly, the Argentine totally dominated the final tie-break, and afterwards a frustrated Federer admitted he had no idea what went wrong. Juan Martin del Potro is another. The win also snaps Federer's 17-match win streak.

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