California, Mar 18 (GCSports) Australia’s Dominic Thiem defeated Switzerland’s Roger Federer in the men’s singles final of the BNP Paribas Open, here on Sunday.
The seventh seed Australian came back from one set down to win the match with 3-6,6-3,7-5, winning his maiden Masters 1000 title.
Swiss Federer, a record 24-time Grand Slam champion, converted just two of 11 break points and made 32 unforced errors to Thiem’s 25.
With the virtue of this win, Thiem is set to become fourth in the world rankings on Monday. It was his first win since September 2018.
The 37-year-old Federer made a good start, creating early break opportunities in Thiem’s first service game and converted his fourth break point of the opening set for a 2-0 lead.
A fine backhand return of serve allowed Federer to break for a 5-3 lead, and he closed out the set in 36 minutes.
A poor service game, with Federer rushing his approaches to the net, allowed Thiem to break and the Austrian held his nerve to force an unlikely third set.
The 25-year-old Thiem saved a break point in a game lasting eight minutes to hold for 4-4, and overcame a nasty fall to break Federer three games later and serve for the title.
The Austrian won 70% of first-serve points and ensured victory as Federer sent a return into the net.
After winning the tournament, Thiem said, “For me, it’s unreal. I enjoyed every second of it. I had to get used to Roger’s game. In the first set, he was playing amazing. I was struggling a little bit, but I fought my way back into the match.”
“Roger is one of the biggest legends of all time. It’s amazing that we’re still able to compete against him in these big matches,” he added.
Both players benefitted from pullouts en route to the final. Gael Monfils withdrew from his quarterfinal against Thiem due to injury, as did Rafael Nadal from his much-anticipated semifinal matchup with Federer, which would have been the 39th edition of the so-called ‘Fedal’ rivalry.
If Federer had won the title so it would have been his record sixth Indian Wells open victory. Now, he will move to fifth in the world rankings.