Dominic Thiem achieved a couple of things in the final at Indian Wells. He won the biggest title of his career and defeated Roger Federer on hardcourt for the very first time. The 25-year-old Austrian will also move his world ranking into top five status.
Thiem has a saying, “anything is possible” and he feels that he epitomised those very words with this victory which was 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Federer was aiming to with the title for a record sixth time, but he remains on five with Novak Djokovic.
“It feels just unreal what happened in this ten days during the tournament,” Thiem said. “I came from a really bad form in all categories, and now I’m the champion of Indian Wells. It feels not real at all. It was a great week, and I think also a very good final today. Just amazing that I got here, my first really big title.
“(Roger) is such a legend. And for all of us younger players, it’s really a privilege to still be able to compete with him and to play against him in the finals of big tournaments like this one.
“First of all, it’s great to play against him. I think with every match against somebody like him, I can learn a lot of stuff. I mean, the way he was playing in the first set was unreal. I had to get used to it. That’s why it’s so nice. That’s why I hope and we all hope that he continues for quite a while still.”
Thiem became the 19th different singles champion of 19 tour level events thus far in 2019 and became the seventh player to win his first Masters 1000 title over the last 15 series events.
Federer played a loose game very early in the second set which allowed Thiem to get a foot in the door and then the Swiss had chances in the third set when he had two break points in the eighth game which, if he had converted, would have given him a 5-3 lead but full marks ton Thiem for the mental strength he showed.
Federer who won his 100th career title a couple of weeks before Indian Wells, was disappointed at losing but appeared not to take it to heart.
“Maybe that’s why I’m okay with it today, because I felt like I’m actually playing, you know, good tennis,” he said. “Like, in Australia, I wasn’t too down on myself because I feel like my game is there, my body is there.
“I think when you feel that way, you know, you take it more, how do you say, positively? I don’t know how to explain, but it’s just not as dramatic. Whereas, when you’re hurt and things are difficult and, you know, that maybe those hurt more. I’m not sure.
“You know, at the same time I’m happy for Dominic, winning his first Masters 1000, as well. It’s a massive event to win. Like you said, I just got my 100 in Dubai and I had a good week here. Really, there is no reason to get down. Plus, there is more to look forward to in Miami. Look, things are good for me. Just unfortunate today. I needed a better shot from time to time.”
In other singles highlights, Novak Djokovic was stopped by Philipp Kohlschreiber who was then overwhelmed by Gael Monfils who had to withdraw due to an achilles issue which provided Thiem with a walkover.
In what was a fascinating match Rafa Nadal dismissed Karen Khachanov in two tiebreaks but in the second set Nadal injured his right knee and that resulted in him giving Federer a walkover into the final while Thiem overcame Milos Raonic in the semis.
The doubles title went to Nikola Mektic and Horacio Zeballos over the sixth seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 4-6, 6-4, 10-3.