• ATP Tour

Del Potro: Nadal still the favourite

ESPN staff
March 17, 2013
Juan Martin Del Potro inflicted Novak Djokovic's first defeat of the season © Getty Images

Juan Martin del Potro insists he is still the underdog ahead of his BNP Paribas Open final with Rafael Nadal, despite inflicting Novak Djokovic's first ATP tour defeat of the season in Saturday's semi-finals in Indian Wells.

World No. 7 Del Potro, who knocked out Andy Murray in the previous round, produced a fiery display to condemn Djokovic to his first tour loss since October, becoming only the second Argentinian to reach the tpurnament's final.

Despite dropping the first set, Del Potro rallied to end a four-match slide against the world No. 1 - although the Argentine was quick to admit that, whilst he was pleased with his own display, luck had played a part.

"I was so close to losing but I got lucky in very important moments, very important points when I made fantastic winners on my forehands," said Del Potro. "I was doing a very good match until the third set, but Novak had the chance to beat me when I was down 3-0. But I came back soon and that gave me a little confidence to come back in that set.

"Then also the crowd wanted to watch more tennis and [it] helped me to play my best tennis in the end. I think it was my best match in this tournament, for sure."

With Nadal chasing a record 22nd ATP World Masters 1000 title, and a third in Indian Wells, Del Potro is adamant the Spaniard is still favourite ahead of Sunday's final.

"When you play the top guys, they are the favourites, but I will try to do my game like just like today and then see if Rafa gives me a little chance to win."

Meanwhile, Djokovic was full of praise for his opponent despite seeing his 22-match winning streak come to an end.

"All the credit to my opponent today," Djokovic said. "He deserved to win because he was more composed in the important moments and he played the right shots.

"He stepped into the court, where, on the other side, I made a lot of unforced errors and was at the back of the court, too passive.

"Whenever I had chances, second, third set, I threw them away with some unforced errors. My movement was poor, and I congratulate my opponent.

"I just didn't make it this time. I didn't deserve to win today. "

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