Indian Wells, March 18 (IANS) Austrian Dominic Thiem won the biggest title of his career by beating Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3 and 7-5 in two hours and three minutes in the final at Indian Wells, the first Masters 1000 of the season.
It is Thiem’s maiden Masters 1000 title, and also his first final in Indian Wells, reports Efe news.
Federer, who congratulated his rival with the best of his smiles and an affectionate gesture, was denied winning his sixth crown on Sunday, which would have been a record, in the Californian desert after his victories in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2012 and 2017.
The match record between the two players is now 3-2 in favour of Thiem, although Federer had won the two previous times played on hard court. Before this match, Thiem had never beaten the Swiss on a hard surface.
It was a magnificent match, with great runs of play for both and lavish points, although it was the former world number one who began by sweeping ahead 3-0 against a hesitant opponent in the early stages.
Federer took the first set in 36 minutes despite the efforts of the 25-year-old Austrian tennis player, who broke his opponent in the seventh game 4-3 but this was not enough to stop the torrent of play by the veteran star.
It seemed that Federer was headed towards his 101st title with relative ease, but Thiem resurged and claimed a double break to go up to 4-1, playing much looser and uninhibited from the baseline.
The recovery of the Austrian surprised the audience, who encouraged Federer even more spurning him on. However, Thiem raised his level of play by several points and showed huge confidence, along with moments of superior tennis.
The second set in his pocket and the match in draw, both players offered the best version of themselves, with tremendous confidence in their serve.
The draw remained virtually until the last moment when Thiem did not waste his first break point of the set to level at 5-5. That sealed the victory as Thiem maintained his vigour against a tiring Federer, achieving the 6-5 advantage and then did not hesitate for a second with his serve to score the title.