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Updated: 2 weeks 1 day ago

Championship Rematch In Miami? Federer & Delpo Drawn Into Opposite Halves

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 4:28pm
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Juan Martin del Potro defeated World No. 1 Roger Federer at Indian Wells on Sunday, saving three match points to claim his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. And now, as the ATP World Tour travels to Florida for the Miami Open presented by Itau, the tennis world might be in for a treat: a rematch, just two weeks later.

Federer and Del Potro were drawn into opposite halves of the draw at the second Masters 1000 event of the season, and while recent form indicates that we may very well see both players across the net from one another again, one of them has a far more straightforward draw than the other.

World No. 1 Federer, who must advance to at least the quarter-finals to maintain his spot atop the ATP Rankings, has lost a total of two matches against the highest-ranked player he could face in each round en route to the final. And while he did lose a golden opportunity to retain his title in the Coachella Valley, don’t forget that Federer, a three-time champion in Miami, began his season 17-0 prior to that loss, a personal best for the 36-year-old.

VIEW DRAW

The Swiss will open against a qualifier, before potentially facing an always-dangerous Fernando Verdasco in the third round (Federer leads FedEx ATP Head2Head 6-0). And despite the lopsided results, the pair has played just once since the 2012 US Open, and the Spaniard showed good form by defeating reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov at Indian Wells.

Federer has won all five of his FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against potential fourth-round and quarter-final opponents, No. 16 Pablo Carreno Busta (1-0) and No. 6 Kevin Anderson (4-0). But there are some other dangerous opponents lurking in the quarter-finals, including No. 10 Tomas Berdych, Australian Open semi-finalist Kyle Edmund and big-hitting Marseille champion Karen Khachanov. Fourth seed Alexander Zverev, who defeated Federer to win the Rogers Cup last year, is the second-highest seed in the Swiss’ half of the draw.

Del Potro, who is fresh off back-to-back titles for the first time since 2012 Vienna and Basel, will have to blast forehands through a minefield of opponents virtually every step of the way as he attempts to back up his Indian Wells/Acapulco trophies and achieve his best result yet in Miami, where he has only advanced past the Round of 16 once in nine attempts (2009 SF, l. to Murray).

Past Five Miami Open presented by Itau Champions

 Year  Winner  2017  Roger Federer  2016  Novak Djokovic  2015  Novak Djokovic  2014  Novak Djokovic  2013  Andy Murray

The ‘Tower of Tandil’, who will guarantee himself a return to the Top 5 for the first time since February 2014 should he complete the 'Sunshine Double', will open his campaign against Yuichi Sugita (leads 2-0) or Robin Haase (leads 4-0), who are both inside the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings at No. 43 and No. 44, respectively. But former World No. 4 and 2016 Miami finalist Kei Nishikori looms as a possible third-round opponent with six-time Miami titlist Novak Djokovic possibly awaiting the winner in the Round of 16. While the Serbian did not play the event last season, he has won it in his past three appearances and on five of his past six showings, winning 30 of his past 31 matches at the tournament. 

And if that was not a dangerous enough path already, Del Potro — should he get through that section — could play the likes of Dimitrov or Indian Wells semi-finalist Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals, with the red-hot No. 13 seed Diego Schwartzman, who claimed his first ATP World Tour 500-level trophy in Rio de Janeiro, projected to play the Canadian in the third round.

Don’t forget about No. 29 seed Borna Coric, either. The Croatian played the tournament of his life at the BNP Paribas Open, leading Federer by a set and 4-2 in the semi-finals, and also by a break on two occasions in the third set, before succumbing against the top seed. He could potentially play No. 8 Jack Sock in the third round.

And it’s impossible to ignore second seed Marin Cilic, also in the bottom half, who has made the final at two of the past three Grand Slams. The Croatian, who was upset in the third round at Indian Wells by Philipp Kohlschreiber, will not be able to play his way into the draw in Miami. He will face one of two players who made the Round of 16 in California: #NextGenATP American Taylor Fritz or Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Seventh seed David Goffin, who assisted at Monday's draw ceremony, could meet Cilic in the quarter-finals of his first Masters 1000 tournament of 2018.

But Federer (17-1) and Del Potro (17-3), who are both tied with Dominic Thiem (17-4) for the most wins on the ATP World Tour thus far in 2017, have to be considered the favourites on their respective halves based on recent form. And after they brought the BNP Paribas Open to an epic close, there is a lot to be excited about at the second Masters 1000 event of the year.

Relive The Indian Wells Final: Live Blog

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 10:26am

Moët Moment: Del Potro Wins Indian Wells 2018

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 8:24am
Juan Martin del Potro celebrates winning the BNP Paribas Open crown, his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, in this Moët Moment.

Delpo Continues Climb As London Is Calling

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 5:39am

No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro, +2
The Argentinean continues his rise up the ATP Rankings with his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown at the BNP Paribas Open. The 29-year-old saved three match points to beat Roger Federer in a thrilling Indian Wells final and moved up two spots to No. 6, his highest position since 24 February 2014 (No. 5). He also passed 400 match wins with victory over Milos Raonic in the semi-finals. Read & Watch Final Highlights

View Latest ATP Rankings

The former World No. 4 is also in good shape for a place at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November 2018, for the first time since 2013. Del Potro has a 17-3 match record this year, including two titles from finals (22 tour-level trophies overall), and is No. 2 in the year-to-date ATP Race To London behind Federer. Del Potro has made four appearances at the season finale (7-8 record), highlighted by a run to the 2009 title match (l. to Davydenko).

No. 10 (Career High) Lucas Pouille, +2
The Frenchman has broken into the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings for the first time at No. 10 after a strong start to 2018 that includes a 1-2 record in finals. Pouille came within one victory of the Top 10 at the recent Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, but lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the title match.

No. 14 Sam Querrey, +7
The 30-year-old American jumped six positions to No. 14 in the ATP Rankings, three places off his career-high of No. 11 (26 February 2018), after reaching the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals (l. to Raonic). Querrey has an 0-4 record in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-finals. Read: Querrey - My Masters 1000

No. 25 Milos Raonic, +13
The Canadian and former World No. 3, who continues to recover from a series of injury, moved up 13 places to No. 25 after advancing to his third semi-final (or better) in four years at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Raonic, who on 26 February this year was ranked No. 40, reached the 2016 final (l. to Djokovic).

No. 36 Borna Coric, +13
With a new team and renewed focus, the 21-year-old Croatian beat No. 9-ranked Kevin Anderson en route to the Indian Wells semi-finals, his first at Masters 1000-level, where he lost to Roger Federer in three sets. Coric, now 11-4 on the year, moved up 13 positions to No. 36 – three places off his career-high of No. 33 on 27 July 2015.

Other Notable Top 100 Movers This Week
No. 23 (Career High) Hyeon Chung, +3
No. 31 Philipp Kohlschreiber, +6
No. 52 Daniil Medvedev, +5
No. 60 (Career High) Marton Fucsovics, +5
No. 75 Mirza Basic, +7
No. 81 Pierre-Hugues Herbert, +12
No. 82 Marcos Baghdatis, +20
No. 83 Mikhail Kukushkin, +6
No. 87 Nicolas Kicker, +7
No. 90 Jeremy Chardy, +10
No. 92 Dudi Sela, +5
No. 95 (Career High) Matteo Berrettini, +13
No. 97 Marco Cecchinato, +10

Brain Game: Del Potro Wins Battle Of Short Points

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 3:24am

The paradox of tennis is that our minds quickly dismiss the short points, but they are by far the most influential to the final outcome.

Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(2) to win the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Sunday by forging his winning advantage in the abundant short rallies in the match. He won the short, lost the long, and emerged the victor, saving three match points along the way.

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Fans all over the world that tuned in to watch this instant classic will no doubt enjoy discussing the extended, bruising baseline exchanges from these two heavy hitters. But the reality of this battle, lasting two hours and 42 minutes, was that only seven per cent (16 points) of rallies reached double digits - and Del Potro actually lost that battle.

Rally Length - Points Won

0-4 Shots (65% total points)
Del Potro = 80 won
Federer = 67 won

5-9 Shots (28% total points)
Del Potro = 34 won
Federer = 28 won

10+ Shots (7% total points)
Del Potro = 6 won
Federer = 10 won

Just 10 per cent of Del Potro’s total points through six matches reached double digits in rally length. Our eyes certainly don’t pick up that 90 per cent of all his points had either Del Potro or his opponent hitting a maximum of just five consecutive shots in the court.

Del Potro - Six Match Total
0-4 Shots = 539 points (59%)
5-9 Shots = 282 points (31%)
10+ Shots = 89 points (10%)

In the final against Federer, Del Potro crafted a 13-point advantage in the 0-4 rally length, and a six-point advantage in the mid-length rallies of 5-9 shots. The Argentinian actually lost the long rallies six to 10, but with so few of them played, it didn’t hurt to lose that category.

Overall for the tournament, Del Potro’s winning margin (points won minus points lost) was the most abundant in the ‘first strike’ rally length of 0-4 shots.

Del Potro - Six Match Total
0-4 Shots = 292 won / 247 lost. Margin = +45 points
5-9 Shots = 152 won / 130 lost. Margin = +22 points
10+ Shots = 51 won / 38 lost. Margin = +13 points

The Final Stanza: Federer Serving Third Set 5-4, 40/15
The match looked to be all but over with Federer serving at 5-4, 40/15 in the final set. It seemed imminent that there would be just one more point to be played, but instead, there would be another 26, and it would be Del Potro that would win 65 per cent (17/26) of them.

From 5-4, 40/15 in the third set, Federer only made 31 per cent (5/16) of his first serves and would hit two double faults in the tie-break. He also went for two backhand drop shots serving at 5-4. which uncharacteristically felt like a reach for the finish line.

From 5-4, 40/15, Federer’s forehand also went awry. He committed six forehand errors, including one return, while contributing just one forehand return winner. While Federer struggled mightily to find the court with the match on the line, Del Potro was finding another level. The Argentinian hit three forehand winners and three backhand winners (including one return), while committing just six total groundstroke and return errors to Federer’s nine.

Winning doesn’t happen evenly all over the court as much we think. Win the battle of the abundant short points, and the much smaller pool of longer points can quite often be a loss and not be detrimental to the final outcome.

Kudla Celebrates Drummondville Challenger Crown

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 2:40am
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A LOOK BACK
Challenger Banque Nationale de Drummondville (Drummondville, Canada): Denis Kudla is back in the winners' circle after nearly three years, claiming the trophy at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Drummondville on Sunday. Kudla marched to the title with a 6-0, 7-5 victory over France's Benjamin Bonzi, prevailing after just 64 minutes. The American converted five of six break opportunities to take his sixth Challenger crown and first since 2015.

It has been a strong start to 2018 for Kudla, who kicked off his campaign with a second round run as a qualifier at the Australian Open. He would also reach the semi-finals at the $125,000 event in Dallas. With his title in Drummondville, he vaults 24 spots in the ATP Rankings to a Top 150 return at No. 144.

Moreover, Kudla's victory gives the United States its fourth title on the ATP Challenger Tour this year. He joins Noah Rubin (Noumea), Taylor Fritz (Newport Beach) and Dennis Novikov (Morelos).

First #ATPChallenger title in three years. @deniskudla celebrated a return to the winners' circle on Sunday in Drummondville.

5 Things We Learned In Indian Wells

Sun, 03/18/2018 - 11:01pm
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(1) Juan Martin del Potro is a Top 2 Contender
Over the past 14 months, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have created a monopoly atop the ATP Rankings. But, with his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown on Sunday, the Tower of Tandil has thrust himself into the Top 2 conversation. With a shiny new No. 6 next to his name, Del Potro is in prime position to make a charge during the upcoming clay-court season.

At the age of 29 and with his injuries behind him, the Argentine looks to be back to the form that carried him to a career-high of No. 4 in 2010. His mammoth forehand was large and in charge throughout the tournament and he showed great maturity and poise with his back against the wall. Trailing by a set against Leonardo Mayer in the fourth round and Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quarter-finals, Del Potro was at his resilient best. And when he stared down the barrel of three championship points against   Federer in Sunday's final, he refused to go down without a fight.

His reward? The missing prize in his trophy case: a first Masters 1000 crown. 

“It's so big,” Del Potro said of winning his first Masters 1000 title. “I cannot believe I won this tournament, beating Roger in a great final and level of tennis. We played great tennis today. I'm No. 6 in the world, I think? Which is so good to me. And I'm excited to keep working... I just want to keep winning titles like this if I can.”  

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(2) Roger Federer Continues To Put The ATP World Tour On Notice
Sure, Roger Federer fell just short of claiming his 28th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event and a record sixth BNP Paribas Open trophy. In fact, the Swiss had three match points — on his serve, no less — in the third set to triumph once again in the Coachella Valley. But while he leaves Indian Wells as runner-up, how close he was illustrates a statement he has made throughout 2018 — the 36-year-old does not plan on going anywhere. 

The World No. 1 guaranteed that he would maintain his spot atop the ATP Rankings on Monday by advancing to the semi-finals. And then, when it appeared he was on his way out of the tournament, he recovered from a set and 2-4 down in the semi-finals against rising star Borna Coric, and then a break on two separate occasions in the third set, to make an eighth Indian Wells final. It’s not like the Swiss was ousted early. It’s quite the opposite, actually. Federer set a new personal record for best start to a year by triumphing in his first 17 matches before losing to Del Potro on Sunday. 

"It was maybe a point here or there, maybe a shot, maybe a forehand, maybe a chip. So that's how it goes. It's unfortunate,” Federer said. 

All it would have taken was one shot to go differently for this to be a very different conversation, so don’t worry about Federer. That is for the rest of the ATP World Tour to do.

(3) Innovation Is Driving Indian Wells To New Heights
Year after year, the BNP Paribas Open continues to set the benchmark for tennis excellence on the ATP World Tour. The prestigious tournament in Indian Wells is consistently at the forefront of sporting innovation and is highly regarded by players and fans as one of the best events on the calendar.

During the week, the tournament in the California desert was honoured once again, receiving its trophy as the top Masters 1000 event in the 2017 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon. It marked the fourth consecutive year in which it has celebrated the achievement. 

Prior to the 2017 tournament, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden underwent extensive renovations designed to enhance the overall fan experience, including substantial upgrades to Stadium 1 – ranging from a massive expansion of the Stadium Plaza to renovating all the suites and hospitality spaces to adding 21 new restaurants and concessions. Leading up to this year's edition, the tournament underwent a full-scale beautification project, including the addition of 62 palm trees, as part of a sweeping 'green' initiative.

(4) The Youth Revolution Is Alive At The Masters 1000 Level
Last year, Hyeon Chung and Borna Coric made their mark on the ATP World Tour with appearances at the Next Gen ATP Finals. Chung and Coric starred in Milan and they carried the momentum into 2018, putting their talents on full display at this week's BNP Paribas Open

Chung reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final, falling to Federer, and Coric advanced to his first Masters 1000 semi-final, also falling to the World No. 1. Both players earned statement wins en route, with the Korean toppling Tomas Berdych in straight sets and the Croatian clipping seventh seed Kevin Anderson in a deciding tie-break.

Chung and Coric weren't the only members of the ATP's youth revolution to make strides at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. For the second straight year, Taylor Fritz was the last #NextGenATP standing, earning a pair of comeback wins to reach the Round of 16. And the ascents of Alex de Minaur and Felix Auger-Aliassime continued, with both teens securing their first Masters 1000 match wins.

“Last year, I never would have thought I'd be here talking to you guys in the second round of a Masters 1000," said Auger-Aliassime. "I was still playing juniors. This transition went pretty fast for me, so it's quite unbelievable to be here so early. But as a kid, those are the moments you dream of and those are the stages you want to play on.” 

(5) Jack Sock Is A Doubles Dynamo
Well, we already knew that. But the 2018 BNP Paribas Open only reaffirmed the belief that the American is one of the best two-way players on the ATP World Tour. The World No. 10 in singles added a 10th tour-level doubles crown, teaming up with countryman John Isner to prevail in the desert.

It was Sock's third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and second in Indian Wells, having also triumphed with Vasek Pospisil in 2015. A magician at the net with rapid reflexes, few players' court instincts can match those of the Nebraska native. 

Moreover, Sock and Isner did not drop a set through four matches, becoming just the third team to do so in the past 30 years in Indian Wells. 

"I have been fortunate enough to be in my third final here," Sock said. "I've been able to win two of them, which has been super special. Like John said, obviously it's an incredible 10 days here. Probably almost every player's favourite event of the year. Family and friends and loved ones are out here and you're renting a house. And it's relaxing, and you're still getting to play super high-level tennis. And then the crowds, on top of it, are just amazing."

A Taste Of Chinese Culture At The Shenzhen Challenger

Sun, 03/18/2018 - 10:47pm

Players competing at this week’s ATP Challenger Tour event in Shenzhen stepped away from the court for a pair of off-site activities, sampling the local Chinese culture.

Sweden's Andreas Siljestrom and Austria's Tristan-Samuel Weissborn went hiking in nearby Dashanbei Park, where they put their artistic skills to the test. The duo took a break from their trek to paint in front of the famous Taihe Tower. The tower was built in the Ming dynasty, with the name “Taihe” referring to a high level of harmony, such as the harmony within oneself.

Later in the week, Marcel Granollers interacted with students at the local Gemdale International School. The Spaniard led a Q&A session, discussing his journey in professional tennis and providing advice for those interested in following in his footsteps. The game is an integral part of the school, with many students aspiring to turn pro.

The Pingshan Open has a long tradition of encouraging players to experience the culture in the local community. Last year, players visited a Tsing Dynasty villa named Wanshi Habitat and tested their talents in a calligraphy classroom, learning to write Chinese characters.

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On the court, Ilya Ivashka celebrated his second Challenger crown, defeating home hope Ze Zhang. The Belarusian prevailed 6-4, 6-2 in Sunday's final, marking his ascent to a career-high No. 122 in the ATP Rankings. Ivashka recently scored the biggest result on the ATP World Tour in his young career, as the 24-year-old reached the semi-finals at the Open 13 in Marseille.

Watch: Del Potro On Outlasting Federer To Lift Indian Wells Title

Sun, 03/18/2018 - 10:36pm
Juan Martin del Potro discusses his 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(2) win over Roger Federer in the Indian Wells final and what it means to lift his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Highlights: Del Potro Beats Federer For Maiden Masters 1000 Title Indian Wells 2018

Sun, 03/18/2018 - 10:33pm
Watch highlights as Juan Martin del Potro beats Roger Federer during the BNP Paribas Open title on Sunday. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images.

Federer Reflective After Losing Match Points Against Del Potro

Sun, 03/18/2018 - 9:40pm

Titles have never defined who Roger Federer is, although, if they did, they'd have a lot to say for him. The Swiss right-hander was three times a swing away from winning his 28th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and his 98th tour-level title on Sunday against Juan Martin del Potro during the BNP Paribas Open final in Indian Wells. But Del Potro erased all three championship points and captured his maiden Masters 1000 title 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(2).

Federer, however, long ago learned to achieve contentment in life, despite some on-court disappointments here and there. The 36-year-old Swiss said he achieved such peace years ago, shortly after he began to make his mark on the ATP World Tour and at Grand Slam tournaments.

“I have been content for a long, long time on the Tour. I guess ever since I became world No. 1 back in 2004 and won Wimbledon in 2003, my life was complete as a tennis player. Those were my dreams as a little kid,” he said.

Federer said that's why he still enjoys most things about the tour life. “That's why retirement can wait, and I'm just really enjoying the ride. I'm really having a good time on the Tour,” Federer said.

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It's easy to forget that Federer has had tough moments during his career, times that have taught him how to stay positive regardless of the outcome on the court. After falling to Del Potro in the season's first Masters 1000 final, Federer spoke at length about his attitude.

“I think staying positive through the tough moments is really key. Because you're always going to go through ups and downs in your career, or as a person for that matter. Not every day is sun shining. It's sometimes a bit of a struggle and important that you take the right decisions, you surround yourself with the right people, you're happy with what you have,” Federer said.

“Of course you can always try to want more and have more and everything, but you might never be happy when you search for things like this.”

Federer's outlook has helped him move on from losses. His 17-match win streak to start the 2018 season – the longest of his career to begin a year – was snapped against Del Potro. But the World No. 1 knows he won't have a lot of time to dwell on the match. The season's second Masters 1000 tournament, the Miami Open presented by Itau, starts on Wednesday. Federer is the defending champion there, too.

“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 of his lead at 5-4 in the third set.

“So it should sting, like you said, for a bit. The question is how long? It won't be long, but it's disappointing talking about a great match like this, losing, even though I was right there.

“Obviously there is not too much time to dwell over it. Like I said, I'm happy for Juan Martin. It's a tough one. And I still had a good week here. I still see the positives at the end of the day.

“It was a great match, honestly. Good fun. Good intensity. We enjoy that. And also it was tough and fair on the court. It was Juan Martin and myself. At the end you saw we are appreciative of the finals that we played against each other, which I think is really important for both of us.”

Best Hot Shots From Indian Wells 2018

Sun, 03/18/2018 - 8:21pm
Re-live the most exciting shots from the 2018 BNP Paribas Open, featuring Denis Shapovalov, Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro, Joao Sousa and Philipp Kohlschreiber. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Del Potro Saves 3 M.P. v. Federer For Maiden Masters 1000 Title

Sun, 03/18/2018 - 6:32pm
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Juan Martin del Potro has earned the missing prize in his trophy case.

In one of the best matches of the season, the Argentine erased three match points against five-time champion Roger Federer to win his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(2) on Sunday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

 Watch Full Match Replays

The odds were against the Argentine: Del Potro had lost 18 of 24 FedEx ATP Head2Head matchups against Federer heading into Sunday's final, their first meeting in a Masters 1000 title match. Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had won 13 of the past 14 Indian Wells titles, dating back to 2004, and Del Potro had lost his three previous Masters 1000 finals: 2009 Montreal (l. to Murray), 2013 Indian Wells (l. to Nadal), and 2013 Shanghai (l. to Djokovic).

But the Argentine had come through more often than not against Federer in tour-level title matches (now 4-2), and he never went away against Federer on a court where the Swiss has enjoyed so much success.

“It's so big,” Del Potro said of winning his first Masters 1000 title. “I cannot believe I won this tournament, beating Roger in a great final and level of tennis. We played great tennis today.

“I'm No. 6 in the world, I think? Which is so good to me. And I'm excited to keep working... I just want to keep winning titles like this if I can.”  

Federer, the No. 1 player in the ATP Rankings, has won five Indian Wells titles and was trying to break away from Djokovic and stand alone with his sixth title in the Coachella Valley. Federer was also looking to close the Masters 1000 title gap between himself (27) and Djokovic and Nadal (30).

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Instead, Del Potro hoisted his first Masters 1000 title and his 22nd tour-level crown, and he won it with force and finesse. Federer targeted Del Potro's backhand in the opener, but the Argentine replied every time, and often with power, passing Federer on one surprise trip to the net.

“It's day-by-day work. I'm confident with my two-handed backhand but not confident enough to play what I like to play,” Del Potro said. “But the most important improvement to what I'm doing is in my returns. I always return with my two-handed backhand. After that, I can take the control of the point. And that is a big change to me because I'm not running too much. That's the big difference between my game at this moment to a few years ago.”

Del Potro had Federer on the run, pounding his forehand and stringing Federer from side to side as the Swiss struggled to find his own forehand. Federer finished the opener with 11 winners but also 11 unforced errors, including eight from his forehand wing.

But in the first game of the second set, the 27-time Masters 1000 champion pumped himself up and saved two break points. Federer tried to drag Del Potro away from his comfort zone and closer to the net, but the 6'6” right-hander looked as comfortable there as he did behind the baseline.

Watch Del Potro's My Story

The Argentine earned match point on Federer's racquet in the second-set tie-break, at 7/8, but he netted a forehand. And after Federer evened the match, Del Potro was visibly frustrated.

“It was horrible moment for me. I was still thinking about my forehand miss and my forehand error, mistake in the match point. And, I mean, it's my shot, you know, my forehand from that side of the court. I never miss that forehand,” Del Potro said, smiling.

Yet he didn't let it show on the scoreboard as he held serve and stayed even with the five-time champion. At 4-4, however, Federer broke for a chance to serve for the match, and it looked as if his comeback would be complete in minutes.

But this time it was Del Potro's turn to save match points. He erased three during Federer's 5-4 service game, including two consecutively from 15/40 down. He and Federer then both held, and they headed to a tie-break, where Federer lost his way. The Swiss hit two double faults, and Del Potro sprinted to the title, lifting his arms when Federer struck another forehand long.

“I lost my serve a little bit, and then he was clean and I wasn't. And then it goes very quickly in the breaker,” Federer said. “As close as it can be sometimes when you're not feeling it or momentum has shifted, it's just crazy how it can go the other way. But I had already missed my opportunities then, but I still, standing at the trophy ceremony, I think I would like to play that tie-break again, because I don't know what the hell happened. But it's OK. It happens sometimes.”

Federer's unbeaten streak to start 2018 is over, but the Swiss, at 36, still accomplished his longest win streak to start a season (17). His previous best had been 16 wins in 2006, when he was 24 years old. Federer will also stay No. 1 in the ATP Rankings through the Miami Open presented by Itau, which starts Thursday. For finishing runner-up, he will receive 600 ATP Rankings points and $654,380 in prize money.

Del Potro, meanwhile, pushes his own winning streak to 11 matches, dating back to his Abierto Mexican Telcel presentado por HSBC title in Acapulco earlier this month. Del Potro, No. 6 in the ATP Rankings, will receive 1,000 ATP Rankings points and $1,340,860 in prize money.

“It was an unbelievable match in all the ways. I mean, we played a great level of tennis. The people were excited on every single point,” Del Potro said. “Roger and me were nervous during the whole match, and we felt that on court... 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.”

DID YOU KNOW?
Del Potro is the first Argentine to win the BNP Paribas Open in tournament history (since 1976). He's also the first South American titlist in Indian Wells since Chile's Marcelo Rios in 1998.

Watch: Double Dose Of Hot Shots In Indian Wells Final

Sun, 03/18/2018 - 6:11pm
Watch as Roger Federer claims a pair of stunning points in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Story Of The 2018 BNP Paribas Open

Sun, 03/18/2018 - 8:51am
Relive all the drama and gripping moments from the 2018 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells

Federer, Del Potro Set Dream Desert Final

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 11:20pm
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It’s a dream final at the BNP Paribas Open – for more than just fans.

Earlier in the tournament, Juan Martin del Potro said that any chance to play against Roger Federer would be great – and now he’ll get exactly that: a clash with Federer for the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy of the season. 

View FedEx ATP Head2Head for the 2018 BNP Paribas Open final & vote for who you think will win! 
Federer vs. Del Potro

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Both advanced to the final, albeit in drastically different fashion. Federer endured an inspired effort by Borna Coric, who led by a set and a break on several occasions but was unable to close the Swiss out in the match’s most tense moments. Del Potro, on the other hand, breezed by Milos Raonic, dealing better with the windy conditions and breaking the Canadian's normally potent serve four times. The victory marked Del Potro’s 400th career win, and he became just the second Argentine in history after Guillermo Vilas to reach the milestone.

The BNP Paribas final pits two of the game’s best forehands against each other. With Del Potro, every ball left for his forehand to devour could mean the point is over. Whether he’s in an attacking position or a defensive one, the Argentine's juggernaut forehand is a weapon any opponent, including Federer, would wish to avoid. 

Federer, on the other hand, will look to use his own potent forehand to bully Del Potro’s backhand. Taking the ball fast and early is the Swiss’ modus operandi, and his ability to inject so much spin with such a compact swing has contributed to countless historic results in his prolific career.

 Watch Full Match Replays

This matchup of fearsome forehands has yielded several exceptional matches over the years. In fact, 9 of their past 11 meetings have gone to a final set, including an epic 19-17 third set at the London Olympics in 2012. Just last year, the two met four times: Federer claimed three of those matches, while Del Potro got the better of him in the quarter-finals of the US Open in four tight sets.

“Yeah, we have had a lot of close matches. Big matches, close matches,” recalled Federer on the rivalry. “I just tried to think back at the French Open semis, US Open final, Olympic semis, Basel finals ... and few [Nitto ATP Finals] matches, Shanghai; just three-setters and five-setters the whole way. It's been good.

“I think we have an interesting matchup,” he added. We both know what the other is trying to do, and we try to stop the other person from doing it. But it's hard when [one of us] is in full flight. It's basically an arm wrestle the whole time, and I think we enjoy that.”

Although Federer owns a 18-6 record against the 29-year-old in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, Del Potro actually leads the Swiss when it comes to finals with three wins to Federer’s two.

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At the BNP Paribas Open, their 25th meeting overall will be their sixth final contested. Federer will be playing to reinforcehis place atop the ATP Rankings, although he will remain at the No. 1 spot throughout Miami regardless of his result in Sunday's final. Additionally, the 36-year-old is chasing his 28th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and 98th title overall.  Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the final is a chance for Del Potro to claim his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy and his biggest title since winning the US Open nine years ago. The Argentine knows he won’t have it easy against one of his greatest rivals – but he relishes the challenge.

“We play great matches together. I love to play against him,” said the World No. 8. “He's the favourite to win tomorrow, but I will try to do my best tennis. I beat him in the past, and I know [what] I can do to repeat that, but is not easy. It will be a good challenge to see how my level is against him.”

Isner/Sock Complete Perfect Week In Indian Wells

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 10:37pm
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Needless to say, John Isner and Jack Sock should team up more often on the ATP World Tour doubles circuit.

The American duo improved to 14-5 together, notching their second team title 7-6(4), 7-6(2) over countrymen Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan at the BNP Paribas Open. They are the first all-American tandem to lift the trophy since the Bryans went back-to-back in 2013-14.

With the title, their first since the 2016 Rolex Shanghai Masters, Isner and Sock claim 1,000 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $439,350 in prize money. They did not drop a set through four matches, becoming just the third to do so in the past 30 years in Indian Wells. Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez also achieved the feat in 2012, following Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram in 2008.

"It's pretty special," said Isner. "I think more importantly for both Jack and I, just getting that winning feeling back. Admittedly, both of us have not played singles that well this year.

"Doubles can oftentimes be a springboard to singles success. So I think for me personally - and I think I can speak for Jack - I think that can be the most important thing really out of this whole week is playing some tough doubles matches and coming through in the clutch and getting that feeling sort of back again. I think for both of us, that was a good thing."

Isner and Sock claimed victory after one hour and 27 minutes, firing six aces and saving three of four break points. After dropping the opening set in a tie-break, Bob earned the twins' lone break of the match, poaching a volley winner on a deciding point at 3-all. 

But Isner would respond in kind in the next game, breaking right back himself with a bevy of pummeling forehands. And the 32-year-old would take over in the ensuing tie-break, launching a forehand down the middle for the decisive mini-break. He and Sock would close out the win on their first championship point.

 Watch Full Match Replays

"I have been fortunate enough to be in my third final here," added Sock. "I've been able to win two of them, which has been super special. Like John said, obviously it's an incredible 10 days here. Probably almost every player's favourite event of the year. Family and friends and loved ones are out here and you're renting a house. And it's relaxing, and you're still getting to play super high-level tennis. And then the crowds, on top of it, are just amazing.

"And it was super special today to be able to play another American team, but it was a little bit different, obviously. The rest of the week prior, we had all the fans on our side. It was a really, really cool atmosphere."

Individually, Sock notched his 10th doubles title and third at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level. It was his second victory of the year, having prevailed alongside Jackson Withrow in Delray Beach last month. For Isner, it was the North Carolina native's fifth triumph and also his third at the Masters 1000 level.

Meanwhile, the Bryans take home 600 ATP Doubles Rankings points and $214,410 in prize money. Competing in Indian Wells for the 20th consecutive year, they remain in search of their first Masters 1000 crown since Rome 2016. 

Cuevas/Zeballos Save 1 M.P. In Indian Wells

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 5:18am

Pablo Cuevas and Horacio Zeballos clinched a thrilling Match Tie-break second-round victory over fifth seeds and 2016 champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut on Tuesday at the BNP Paribas Open. Cuevas and Zeballos saved one match point at 9/10 in the tense tie-break for a 7-6(5), 3-6, 13/11 win in one hour and 38 minutes. The duo will now prepare for a quarter-final against big servers Gilles Muller and Sam Querrey.

Two-time former champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan continued their bid for a third BNP Paribas Open crown by beating Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and David Marrero 6-2, 6-3 in 57 minutes. The American twins, now 39-16 lifetime in Indian Wells where they picked up titles in 2013 (d. Huey/Janowicz) and 2014 (d. Peya/Soares), won four of the first five games in the first set and then recovered from a 0-2 deficit in the second set. The seventh seeds will next challenge Marcus Daniell and Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals.

 Watch Full Match Replays

Young Stars, Federer In Wednesday Indian Wells Action

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 2:56am

Borna Coric deems it “maybe the best tennis of my life”, breezing past the in-form Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open. Now, the gifted 21-year-old Croatian has the chance to back it up against #NextGenATP American Taylor Fritz on a blockbuster, action-packed Wednesday, with all fourth-round clashes due to take place.

A resurgent Coric, back up to No. 49 in the ATP Rankings, has dropped fewer games than any player in the top half of the draw in the desert. Fritz, by contrast, has had to rally his home crowd to get him across the line against #NextGenATP stablemates, Reilly Opelka and Andrey Rublev, before his gripping third-set tie-break triumph over experienced Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

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Coric, a 2017 #NextGenATP Finals qualifier, leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head series over his 20-year-old opponent 1-0 after a straight-sets win in the opening round at Roland Garros in 2016. Much has changed since with a maiden Indian Wells quarter-final appearance on the line.

Five-time champion Roger Federer resumes his title defence against unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy on Wednesday. The top seed’s only defeat to the 31-year-old came at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Rome on clay nearly four years ago. He leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head ledger 3-1.

View FedEx ATP Head2Head for the fourth round & vote for who you think will win! 
Federer vs Chardy | Coric vs Fritz | Chung vs Cuevas

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Should Federer win two more rounds he will hold on to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings. Four more match wins would see him pull clear of Novak Djokovic with an unprecedented sixth BNP Paribas Open title. Federer has not dropped a set in his previous two matches, while Chardy has gone the distance to get past seeds Fabio Fognini and Adrian Mannarino.

Last year’s inaugural #NextGenATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung is on the cusp of his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final berth. After a resounding straight-sets upset of No. 12 seed Tomas Berdych in the previous round, the 21-year-old South Korean squares off against last year’s Indian Wells quarter-finalist Pablo Cuevas. The 30th-seeded Uruguayan advanced after No. 5 seed Dominic Thiem retired hurt while trailing a break in the deciding set of their third-round encounter. Chung and Cuevas have never met.

 Watch Full Match Replays

On the heels of his biggest title in five years in Acapulco – in which he beat three straight Top 10 opponents (Thiem, A. Zverev and Andersson) – Juan Martin del Potro faces countryman and occasional doubles partner Leonardo Mayer for a place in the quarter-finals. The sixth-seeded Argentine beat Mayer in the 2012 US Open third round.

It is the first time since 2013 Del Potro has reached the fourth round in Indian Wells. That year he finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal. In his previous match, the 29-year-old won his fifth straight match against David Ferrer, while Mayer beat Novak Djokovic’s conqueror Taro Daniel.

After Federer (No. 1) and Del Potro (No. 6), Kevin Anderson is only the third of the Top 8 seeds to survive the third round. The South African seventh seed meets Spanish 11th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in a rematch of their 2017 US Open semi-final, which Anderson won.

Last year, Carreno Busta reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final in Indian Wells, where he fell to Stan Wawrinka. Twice before (2013, 2014) Anderson has reached the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals.

Highlights: Del Potro Beats Ferrer, Raonic Advances In Indian Wells 3R 2018

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 1:38am
Juan Martin Del Potro makes it five straight wins over David Ferrer, while Philipp Kohlschreiber, Feliciano Lopez and Milos Raonic also reach the fourth round. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Getty Images