Dominic Thiem fights back to shock Roger Federer and win first Masters title at Indian Wells

Thiem won his first Masters 1000 title (Picture: AP)

Dominic Thiem fought back from a set down to shock Roger Federer and win a first Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells in what was a thrilling final.

The Austrian had lost his two previous finals at this level – both on the clay in Madrid – but in his first hard-court Masters final he came up trumps against the five-time champion in the Californian desert, hitting some ferocious groundstrokes along the way.

Few had given him much hope heading into the tournament finale but by securing a 3-6 6-3 7-5 win over the 20-time Grand Slam champion, Thiem also snapped a 20-match winning streak for Federer in finals when he has won the first set.

It was the second year Federer had finished as runner-up, having lost to Juan Martin del Potro last season, and he failed to add a 101st tour-level title to his collection.

Federer was stunned (Picture: AP)

Rather curiously, Thiem is the 19th different man to win a title in 2019 in 19 tour-level events. This was Thiem’s 12th and biggest ATP crown – and it came at a somewhat unlikely time after a disappointing start to the year.

Heading into this event, he had lost more matches than he’d won (3-4) but he will now rise above Federer when the rankings are released on Monday to equal his career-high world No. 4.

With plenty of points to defend in the clay-court season – Thiem was a French Open finalist last year – the extra points for finishing as runner-up at Indian Wells Tennis Garden will hand him a buffer in the rankings.

It was a nightmare start for the Austrian. Though he saved three break points in his opening service game from 0-40 down, he still succumbed to pressure from his Swiss opponent and fell an early break behind.

Thiem came through (Picture: Getty Images)

Thiem did claim the break back but instantly lost it again and soon found himself a set down to the world No. 4.

Not disheartened, the world No. 8 came back strong in the second, finding another way through the Federer serve and crucially holding onto his own.

A tense decider followed, with both holding onto their serves but it was Thiem who ultimately triumphed.


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