Miami - The stars are finally starting to align for Juan
Martin Del Potro who will be seeking his third straight ATP title at the Miami
Masters this week.
The south Florida showcase got an additional boost on Sunday
when Del Potro saved three championship points to hand world No 1 Roger Federer
his first loss of 2018 in a thrilling 6-4, 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (7/2) victory at the
Indian Wells Masters.
With the win, combined with injuries to Rafael Nadal, Novak
Djokovic and Andy Murray, it is now looking like Del Potro is the biggest
threat to Federer's rule over the ATP Tour.
"It's time to celebrate this, because I made the big
effort to win it," Del Potro said. "And then be ready for Miami. It
is one of my favourite tournaments on tour.
"Many Latino-American people are expecting my game
there. That make me feel special. I would like to keep surprising myself and
see how far I can go."
Del Potro, 29, captured his second ATP title in a row and
recorded his biggest victory since his comeback from multiple wrist surgeries.
Federer was 17-0 on the season heading into the Indian Wells
final which was a personal best for him.
Del Potro said the first order of business when he gets to
south Florida is to do some celebrating with his team.
"I cannot tell you," he joked of his party plans.
"It will be Miami, maybe tomorrow, but that's enough."
Del Potro also won the title earlier this month in Acapulco,
where he beat three top eight players in a row to clinch his 21st singles
He is back in the top ten rankings this season for the first
time since 2014. He dropped to No 1 045 before beginning his comeback from the
left wrist surgeries in 2016.
On Monday, Del Potro moved up to No 6 in the rankings.
"I don't care about the numbers. I just want to keep
winning titles," he said.
Del Potro said something changed for him in his career when
he upset then world No 1 Djokovic in the first round of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"After the Djokovic match, my tennis life
changed," he said. "I feel happy again with my tennis life.
"I won the Davis Cup and I say, 'Okay, I don't have any
more pressure to play tennis because I won everything that I what.'"
But there was still one thing missing on his resume and that
was a Masters 1000 title which he earned by beating Federer.
"I have everything that I want, and I want to keep
improving my game to see what can I do," he said.
Federer goes to Miami licking his wounds after losing his
fourth of six career finals to Del Potro. Overall he holds a commanding 18-7
lead but in finals it's a different story, including the 2009 US Open which Del
Potro won 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.
"Should I have won the US Open final I don't
know," Federer said. "I could have. Should have. I didn't. Same
"I am not sure why the final record is what it is. Most
of them have gone the distance. It's been tough against him."
Federer said he spent too much time second guessing himself
during Sunday's match.
"I let an opportunity like this go by. 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? You
just don't know.
"Next thing you are shaking hands. Okay, too good. You
For Federer that means to Miami as well, where he is the top
seed. He said on Sunday he won't decide whether to play in the French Open
until after he plays Miami.