Federer falls to Argentine


INDIAN WELLS, Calif.

Juan Martin del Potro rallied from three match points down in the third set and beat top-ranked Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (2) to win the BNP Paribas Open, handing the Swiss superstar his first loss of the year.

Del Potro became the first Argentine winner in the 42-year history of the desert tournament. Federer’s 17-match winning streak — the best start of his career — ended.

Del Potro held a match point at 8-7 in the second-set tiebreaker, but he lost the final three points on his own errors that allowed Federer to force a third set.

They were on serve in the third until Federer broke for a 5-4 lead with a backhand winner off del Potro’s serve.

Federer had a chance to serve out the match, holding two match points. But del Potro staved both off to force deuce.

Federer’s forehand went long, giving del Potro a break point. Federer answered with a backhand that hit del Potro at the net and then gained his third match point on del Potro’s forehand error.

Del Potro recovered to deuce with a forehand winner. Federer mis-hit a forehand high into the air beyond the baseline, giving del Potro another break point. The Argentine cashed in with a well-placed forehand in the corner to tie the set, 5-all.

In the tiebreaker, Del Potro raced to a 6-1 lead, helped by two of Federer’s double faults.

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