Roger Federer vs Juan Martin del Potro ATP Indian Wells tennis preview, predictions and tips: Federer and del Potro meet for the 25th time in Indian Wells Masters final

Andrew Hendrie in ATP 18 Mar 2018
  • Roger Federer vs Juan Martin del Potro is live from Indian Wells not before 1.00pm local time on Sunday (8.00pm GMT)
  • Federer has won 18 of their 24 previous encounters
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Indian Wells at Unibet > live streaming > tennis
Roger Federer (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

In the midst of his best ever start to a season, World No. 1 Roger Federer goes for back-to-back Indian Wells Masters titles on Sunday against the in-form Juan Martin del Potro.

Watch and bet on Federer vs del Potro live from Indian Wells at Unibet > live streaming > tennis. The final begins not before 1.00pm local time on Sunday (8.00pm GMT).

Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro square off for the 25th time in their careers on Sunday with the Indian Wells Masters title on the line. Federer - the World No. 1, 20-time Grand Slam winner and defending Indian Wells champion - is currently 17-0 for the season, surpassing his previous best start to a year from 2006 after coming from behind to beat Borna Coric in Saturday’s semi-finals, while del Potro is also riding a nice winning streak, emerging victorious for the 10th straight match as he brushed aside Milos Raonic in the final four. Federer is targeting a 28th ATP Masters 1000 title and del Potro is gunning for his first - who comes out on top in the desert? Federer and del Potro take to court not before 1.00pm local time on Sunday (8.00pm GMT).

Coming into his semi-final showdown with Coric, Federer was an intimidating 16-0 for the season, winning 38 out of the 41 sets he’s played. However, the Swiss maestro was in for an unexpected stern examination at the hands of the rising Coric, with the Croatian conjuring up a set-and-a-break lead before Federer sunk his teeth into the contest and clawed is way back to victory. Indeed, Federer trailed 7-5 4-2 and was in genuine danger of losing his first match of 2018 as the tenacious Coric refused to miss from the baseline, but the defending Indian Wells champion managed to find a steadier groove from the baseline as he broke through Coric’s defences to come away with a 5-7 6-4 6-4 victory in two hours and 21 minutes.

“I was just hoping that through tougher rallies and staying in the match for longer, I would start to feel better in defence, particularly because in the beginning it wasn't quite there,” Federer said.

Federer, who has held onto the No. 1 ranking for at least another couple of weeks after making the final, has now won a staggering 67 out of 72 matches since returning from a knee injury at last year’s Australian Open, winning three Grand Slam titles, three ATP Masters 1000 crowns and three ATP 500 trophies, along with becoming the oldest World No. 1 in history after taking a late wildcard into Rotterdam last month.


It says a lot about the current state of the ATP that a 36-year-old Federer is enjoying his most dominant ever start to a season in 2018, but the Swiss legend is playing at a ridiculously high level - that can’t be disputed, although I personally don’t think he’s playing as well as he did from 2004 to 2007. Federer has only had to beat one top 20 player in his 17-0 start to the year, but he will face his biggest obstacle of 2018 on Sunday as he aims to collect a record-breaking sixth Indian Wells title after previously reigning supreme in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2012 and 2017.

Juan Martin del Potro (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Currently on a 10-match winning streak after winning the ATP 500 Abierto Mexicano title in Acapulco before Indian Wells, Juan Martin del Potro joined Guillermo Vilas as the only two Argentines to notch up 400 tour-level victories as he clinically dispatched Milos Raonic 6-2 6-3 in his semi-final contest. Del Potro was able to break the big-serving Raonic early in both sets and was untroubled through the 65-minute demolition as he surged into his first ATP Masters 1000 title since 2013.

"It was surprising to see him serving not too hard, and I broke his serve very quick in both sets. That give me the control of the match," said del Potro. "I played a smart match, because the conditions were tough to play in. I served well. I took all my chances. It was an easier match than what I expected."

An Indian Wells runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2013 and a further two-time Masters 1000 finalist in Canada in 2009 and Shanghai in 2013, del Potro is trying to secure an elusive Masters title in the desert on Sunday. The Argentine appeared to be tiring after a pair of hard-fought three-set wins over Leonardo Mayer and Philipp Kohlschreiber, but he surged back to life against Raonic and therefore should be fresh for Sunday’s battle with Federer - where he will be attempting to beat the Swiss star for a seventh time and the second straight match on American soil after winning their U.S. Open quarter-final last year.

After some tremendous results towards the tail-end of last season, most notably semi-finals at the U.S. Open and Shanghai Rolex Masters, along with defending his Stockholm title and finishing runner-up in Basel, del Potro has climbed back into the top 10 for the first time since 2014 already in 2018 - can he take home a first ATP Masters 1000 title on Sunday?

Federer has obviously got to start favourite, winning 18 of their 24 previous meetings, including twice last year after the U.S. Open in Shanghai and Basel, stopping the Argentine in the semi-finals and final respectively. Federer’s immense variety and clinical serving has been able to frustrate del Potro more times than not in this match-up, but the 2009 U.S. Open champion (famously beating Federer in that final), is confident and playing arguably his best tennis since returning from multiple wrist surgeries a couple of years ago. I’m still going to lean with Federer in three sets, but this is a great chance for del Potro to secure his first Masters 1000 crown.



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Roger Federer vs Juan Martin del Potro ATP Indian Wells tennis preview, predictions and tips: Federer and del Potro meet for the 25th time in Indian Wells Masters final

In the midst of his best ever start to a season, World No. 1 Roger Federer goes for back-to-back Indian Wells Masters titles on Sunday against the in-form Juan Martin del Potro.

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