Roger Federer’s improbable 2018 season continues Sunday when the world No. 1 takes on No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro in the final of the Indian Wells Masters. The 36-year-old is looking to extend his 17-match winning streak and capture his sixth title at the Southern California tournament.
Federer, who is off to his best start since 2006, was tested in the semifinals by Borna Coric. In a match that lasted two hours and 20 minutes, Federer trailed 2-4 in the second set after surrendering the first set to the Croat. But the Swiss legend battled back behind a pro-Federer crowd to earn a spot in the final, 5-7 6-4 6-4.
After the match, Federer admitted that he “should have lost.”
While Federer hit a bump in the road to the final, Del Potro cruised to a convincing win on Saturday. The Argentine needed just 66 minutes to overtake No. 32 Milos Raonic, 6-2 6-3.
The quick win was a much-need result for Del Potro, who struggled in his path to the final against other veteran players. No. 33 David Ferrer in the third round and fellow countryman Leonardo Mayer in the fourth round both pushed Del Potro to a three-set result. In the quarterfinals, No. 37 Philipp Kohlschreiber effectively used his drop shot to throw off Del Potro, who had to again come from behind to earn the victory.
The 29-year-old said he is looking forward to playing the in-form Federer, who holds an 18-6 advantage in head-to-head matchups.
“I love to play against him,” Del Potro said. “It will be a good challenge to see how my level is against him.”
Start Time: 4 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN and Tennis Channel
Live Stream: BNP Paribas Open
Prediction: Federer is brimming with confidence. Del Potro might give Federer some tough points in the desert, but expect Federer to hoist another trophy in straight sets.