Sport

Juan Martin del Porto: At last his day in the sun

Juan Martin del Porto: At last his day in the sun”

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.

Needless to say, Juan Martin del Potro was pretty excited to win a thrilling final over Roger Federer in Indian Wells on Sunday.

After Del Potro took the first set, Federer recovered to win the second set, while Del Potro narrowly edged the final set after wasting two a match point.

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.

Del Potro was tipped as a future world number one in 2009 after the then 20-year-old reached the French Open semi-finals, the Australian Open quarter-finals before capturing his maiden grand slam at Flushing Meadows. He needed two hours, 42 minutes and saved three match points to beat the World No. 1 in a tiebreak.

Like the second, the third set also went into a tie break, with Federer spraying many errors and losing the match. "It was maybe a point here or there, maybe a shot, maybe a forehand, maybe a chip". The win also snaps Federer's 17-match win streak. Djokovic may be back in action, but he's not looking at full strength, while for Murray the recovery period from hip surgery is unclear - "I want to know when I come back that I'm ready", he said, signalling the grass-court season as an ideal time to return.

With Federer on top 6-5 in the second set tie break, he appeared to fire an ace to clinch the set, but a late challenge by del Potro overturned the call and the Swiss was double faulted. Federer will be out to right a wrong, and Del Potro will be hungry for more - it should make for another enthralling competition. Having him hit something past me, that's very uncomfortable for him, and you pick the wrong side and you are like 'Why am I picking the wrong side?' Is it him or me?

"I'm really enjoying playing tennis again", he said.

While expressing frustration at his inability to capitalise on key moments, Federer praised del Potro for holding his nerves and getting to finish line. "Well done and enjoy the moment". The reason for that is that there are some players who for all their talent, just can not stay injury-free for long enough to challenge for and win the biggest titles regularly. "It was Juan Martin and myself", he said.

"I'm still shaking", Del Potro said.

On Monday, Del Potro moved up to No. 6 in the rankings. There was not much between us, but you deserved it. But the prospect of the "Tower of Tandil" adding to the US Open title he won nearly a decade ago is still arguably fairly distant despite his Indian Wells win.



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