Juan Martin Del Potro is finally a Masters 1000 winner after beating Roger Federer in a thrilling three set match, 6-4 6-7 7-6. He extends his winning streak to 11 matches while Federer’s winning run to begin the year ends at 17.
Del Potro showed no fear early on and was rewarded in the fifth game of the match, breaking to love for the all decisive break in the opening set. With break chances at a premium, Federer may well have rued his failure to convert two set/break points up 5-4. After failing to convert set points from 6-3 in the tiebreak, a riled Federer let the umpire know his thoughts on what he perceived to be a bad decision. Del Potro would have one match point at 8-7 but Federer won both points on serve before forcing a Del Potro volley error to close the set.
Federer broke for 5-4 to serve for the match and title. It seemed all but over at 40-15 but he failed to close it out despite having three match points overall. He was unable to retrieve a vicious Del Potro forehand into the corner as the Argentinian levelled it up. A final set tiebreaker would decide things, a situation that Federer has struggled with in finals. He is now a disastrous 1-8 in them at ATP Finals after this one. A Federer double fault gave Del Potro the mini break and he never looked back from there, going 5-0 up. Federer failed to put much pressure on, ending the match with a poor forehand long to give Del Potro the win.
“I feel frustrated, you know, that I let an opportunity like this go by. Serving 40/15, any game I probably win – I don’t know what the stat is – 90-something per cent,” Federer said. “It’s disappointing talking about a great match like this, losing, even though I was right there.”
Things were a bit happier in the Del Potro camp, with the Argentinian now No.6 in the rankings. “It’s so big, I cannot believe I won this tournament, beating Roger in a great final and level of tennis. We played great tennis today.” he said.
Federer could have sealed the World No. 1 ranking for a few months longer with victory but now has to make the quarter finals in Miami to retain the top spot ahead of Rafael Nadal.