When Juan Martin del Potro claimed the only Masters 1000 crown over Roger Federer

by   |  VIEW 5137

When Juan Martin del Potro claimed the only Masters 1000 crown over Roger Federer

After numerous setbacks with injuries, Juan Martin del Potro plans to retire in Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro in the upcoming days. The 2009 US Open champion has been dealing with a knee injury since October 2018, ruining a notable season and experiencing an identical injury in June next year.

After four surgeries, the Argentine is no longer ready to chase a return, entering his final tournaments and ending a notable career at 33. Del Potro's only Masters 1000 title came in his last great season, playing on a high level in 2018 and wrapping it in the top-5.

Juan Martin came to Indian Wells that March in a great form. The Argentine claimed his first ATP 500 title since 2014 in Acapulco and played well in the desert to earn a place in his fourth Masters 1000 final, the first since Shanghai 2013!

World no. 1 and the defending champion Roger Federer stood between Juan Martin and the first trophy at this level, and they played a thrilling final that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Juan Martin del Potro claimed the only Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells 2018.

Del Potro prevailed 6-4, 6-7 7-6 after two hours and 42 minutes, fending off three match points to lift the 22nd and last ATP title.

Federer experienced the first loss in 2018 after squandering those match points on his serve at 5-4 in the decider. Del Potro saved them to prolong the battle and claimed the tie break 7-2 to celebrate the title. Juan Martin defeated Roger for the first time in eight Masters 1000 matches, winning 14 points more and defending three out of four break chances.

The Argentine tamed his shots nicely, hitting 42 winners and 24 unforced errors, while Roger stood on a 51-45 ratio, making too many mistakes from his backhand wing. Juan Martin made the best start and grabbed the opening set 6-4 with a break at love in game five.

The Argentine controlled the pace from the baseline and used that opportunity in Roger's only loose service game. Federer saved two break points at the start of the second set and served well after that to keep the pressure on the other side.

Del Potro had to work hard to reach the tie break, fending off two set points in game ten and turning this epic final into a roller coaster ride. Roger wasted four set points at 6-3 and 7-6 in the breaker, and he had to save a match point at 7-8.

The Swiss earned a crucial mini-break in the 18th point to clinch the breaker 10-8, send the match into a decider and seize momentum ahead of set number three. Juan Martin left that match point behind him and stayed neck and neck with Roger in the decider's first eight games.

Federer broke him at 4-4 and served for the title in the next one. Roger squandered three match points and allowed Juan Martin to break back and prolong the encounter. With a boost on his side, del Potro raced into a 5-0 advantage and sealed the deal at 6-2 to enter his name on the Masters 1000 winners list.

With those points, Juan Martin entered the top-6 for the first time since February 2014, and he played well in the next seven months before experiencing a severe knee injury.