Dominic Thiem tops Roger Federer for BNP Paribas Open title

Rex Christensen
March 21, 2019

Momentum swung in Thiem's favor when he broke Federer at a crucial juncture in the deciding set to take a 6-5 lead.

The Nadal-Federer matchup would have been the 39th meeting in their careers and the first in 16 months.

The Austrian took the only break of the match in set three, and looking at the match stats, he deserved the win.

By that stage, it wasn't a surprise because Thiem had shown poise in the second set by fending off two break points and holding serve for a 2-1 lead.

Thiem then seized his opportunity in the 11th game to go 6-5 up and served out the first of two championship points to clinch a maiden Indian Wells Open title in two hours and two minutes.

Thiem will face Roger Federer after Rafael Nadal withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday, done in once again by a knee injury.

Thiem was particularly pleased with the way he hung in there under pressure to get the better of Federer.

Thiem secured the first break for 3-2 in the deciding set and a volley victor finally secured the victory after an absorbing two and a half hours.

Thiem had lost both of his previous hard court meetings with Federer but on a surface that had seemed to play into Fed's hands all week, the Austrian outlasted the 37-year-old who had been presented with a place in his 49th Masters level final when his great rival Rafael Nadal had withdrawn from Saturday's semi-final.

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The 25-year-old came into the ATP tournament ranked 8th in the world with 3800 points this year.

After the Thiem-Raonic match, Federer came out briefly to speak to ESPN's Mary Joe Fernandez.

"The way we go about it is very different, yet we both find a way to excel", Federer said.

The Swiss has won five Indian Wells titles (sharing the record with Novak Djokovic), while Nadal has captured three.

Federer led 4-1 before Thiem clawed a break back, but Federer responded with another hard-won break for a 5-3 lead and captured the set with a service victor.

"That's why I'm not too disappointed", Federer said. "We've had so many epic battles and I know now that every one we have could be our last. I think he was maybe a little bit down", Thiem said.

The Austrian will take home $1.354million (£1.09m) in prize money for winning the tournament, while Federer walks away with $686,000 (£516k) as runner-up.

Struggling with an injury, Roger failed to enter a Masters 1000 final for the first time since 2001 that year, staying in touch with Nadal's pace in the last two seasons to keep himself within a chance of advancing into the milestone final number 50 before Rafa if he wins five matches in Miami.

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