Roger Federer's unbelievable streak ends in thrilling Indian Wells final

We played a great level of tennis. I mean, we played a great level of tennis.

Federer was frustrated to throw away three match points on serve, though he will have to lick his wounds and move on quickly with another Masters 1000 event in Miami starting Wednesday.

But it was the red-hot Del Potro who put an end to the Swiss star's 17-match winning streak.

Del Potro, 29, captured his second ATP title in a row and recorded his biggest victory since his comeback from multiple wrist surgeries.

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"It was an unbelievable match in all the ways", del Potro said of Sunday's duel. Federer mishit a forehand high into the air beyond the baseline, giving del Potro another break point. I have everything that I want, and I want to keep improving my game to see what can I do.

Considering those ingredients which make, in effect, the flawless tennis player, it is hard to imagine that he would not have gone on to challenge the big four in the years that followed his triumph at the US Open in 2009.

Federer does not have long to cool down, however, as he is set to compete in the Miami Open, which starts Monday.

After Del Potro took the first set, Federer recovered to win the second set, while Del Potro narrowly edged the final set after wasting two a match point. However, Del Potro saved a remarkable three match points to take the third set into a tie-breaker before beating Federer for the seventh time in 25 meetings between the duo.

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"I can not believe this moment", he said of his BNP Paribas Open victory.

Surprise Indian Wells victor Naomi Osaka leaped 22 places in the world rankings released on Monday while Jelena Ostapenko burst into the top five for the first time. The reason for that is that there are some players who for all their talent, just can not stay injury-free for long enough to challenge for and win the biggest titles regularly. "Juan Martin was a bit better at the end. I never miss that forehand", Del Potro added while smiling. 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. Del Potro is at No. 6 but is playing well enough after all his injuries and challenges to dream bigger.

In the women's singles final, Japan's Naomi Osaka claimed her first career title with a commanding 6-3, 6-2 victory over Daria Kasatkina of Russian Federation in a battle of 20-year-olds.

It's a further indication of what tools you must possess to not only beat a champion, but return as one - a mental strength must back up your ability.

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Three of those have been defeats, with their latest seeing them knocked out of the Champions League after losing 3-0 at Barcelona on Wednesday.

"Not much in between us, but you deserve it", the Swiss told del Potro at the trophy ceremony. It would certainly be a popular outcome in the tennis world for a man universally respected and liked by players and fans alike.

  • Jill Young