Roger Federer loses to Juan Martin del Potro in Indian Wells final

Getty Images

Getty Images

The third set went with serve until Federer blasted a cross-court victor to break del Potro's serve and take a 5-4 advantage - breaking a run of 32 consecutive service game wins for the Argentine.

"And I'm excited to keep working".

He failed to break the dominance of Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, though, and a string of career-threatening wrist injuries nearly forced him to give up on tennis. He is now ranked number six, a far cry from two years ago when he was ranked number 366 in the world. "Unfortunately, I couldn't stay calm in the tie-break of the second set, but then the calms come again in the end of the match and I played good in the tie-break". He handed Federer his first loss of the year, snapping the Swiss superstar's 17-match winning streak that was the best of his career. "I played a great match and had the chance the win in two sets but I made a mistake with my forehand which I couldn't believe that mistake", Del Potro told Sky Sports after recording his seventh win over Federer in 25 career meetings.

At the age of 29, Del Potro has finally ended his long wait for a first ATP Masters 1000 title. Serving 40-15, any game I probably win - I don't know what the stat is - 90-something percent.' Federer exchanged a few words with the chair umpire Fergus Murphy during the tense match.

Cheered on by the crowd, Federer thought he had forced a deciding set with a serve out wide, but a Del Potro challenge showed it to be out and the Swiss then double faulted for 6-6.

"But thank God I'm here and healthy, and I'm playing tennis again".

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.

An annoyed Federer barked at the umpire during a changeover and, fired up by his grievance, took the second set to even up the contest before pushing del Potro to the limits in the final stanza.

"I broke his serve quick in both sets and that gave me control of the match", said Del Potro. "It's hard to describe with words, it's like a dream", del Potro said on court after extending his own winning streak to 11 matches. Federer mishit a forehand high into the air beyond the baseline, giving del Potro another break point. "The people were excited on every single point", said Del Potro said. "I was just also just trying to pump myself up more, to get energy for me".

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