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Thiem keeps his nerve to shock Federer in Indian Wells title duel

 

Title joy: Dominic Thiem
Title joy: Dominic Thiem
Roger Federer

By Eleanor Crooks

Dominic Thiem has claimed his first ATP Masters 1000 title with a thrilling victory over Roger Federer at the BNP Paribas Open.

The Austrian fought back from a set down to triumph 3-6 6-3 7-5 in just over two hours, ending Federer's chance of a sixth Indian Wells title.

Federer, a 24-time Grand Slam champion, was the more dominant player in the opening set, racing to a 3-0 lead in 12 minutes and closing out the set in 36 minutes, but Thiem changed the momentum in the second.

The Swiss created two break points in the third game but failed to take advantage, while Thiem made sure not to waste his chance in the following game, putting himself 3-1 up and using the confidence to set up a surprise deciding set.

Both players dug deep to take the title fight down to the wire, with Thiem targeting the biggest crown of his career and Federer hoping to clinch his 101st title.

Thiem really showed his might to save a break point and hold at 4-4, and did not allow a nasty fall and bloody elbow to set him back as he edged the 37-year-old three games later to serve for the title.

The victory means Thiem now moves into the fourth spot in the world rankings.

"It's unreal," Thiem said.

"I had to get used to Roger's game. In the first set he was playing amazing. It was completely different from my opponents before him. I was struggling to work my way into the match.

"I had to fight to save those break points early in the second set. It was a very good match until the end and I had to fight to serve it out."

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