The first Masters 1000 tournament of 2018 became another legendary page of Juan Martin del Potro’s incredible career narrative, which keeps shaping up to be one of the great sports hero stories of our time. The Argentine won his first title of this category and he did it exactly in the same way he achieved everything else in his career: fighting to the end, with a lot of heart, against all odds, blasting massive forehands… in a memorable, unforgettable way. After four major surgeries that made even del Potro believe his career could be over, del Potro has now risen to #6 in the world with great prospects to keep rising and winning more and bigger titles.
Del Potro clinched the title in the final by ending Roger Federer’s 17-match win streak, saving three match points on Federer’s serve in the process, after wasting one of his own with a missed crosscourt forehand in the second set tiebreak. It was without a doubt one of the best three-set matches in recent history, full of quality shotmaking and dramatic to the very end, with both players matching each other blow for blow until Federer wilted in the deciding tiebreak and del Potro got a richly deserved first Masters 1000 title. It is obvious to everyone following the ATP that injuries were the reason it took this long for the Argentine giant to capture a Masters 1000 title, so in a way this triumph felt like an injustice was being somewhat corrected and del Potro was getting a just reward for all the injury suffering he’s had to endure since 2010.
The Indian Wells title came right after a title in Acapulco, where del Potro beat three top players in a row to win, meaning the Tower of Tandil is now on an 11-match winning streak of his and his backhand is finally looking at the level he needs to challenge for a second Slam title. It’s never safe to assume good health when it comes to del Potro, but if he does manage to stay healthy he will undoubtedly be a challenger for Slam titles and the top ranking positions. del Potro’s game is so overwhelmingly powerful and consistent that even the likes of Federer and Nadal never really want to see him on their path. This tournament was just the most recent reminder of what a devastating force a fit and healthy del Potro and why we all, as tennis fans, should pray he remains that way to consistently add some much needed spice to the top of the men’s game.
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