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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Roger Federer should edge old rival Del Potro

Swiss legend has not been at his best

Roger Federer had to dig deep to beat Borna Coric in the Indian Wells semi-finals
1 of 1

Men's final
Sky Sports Arena, 8pm Sunday

Roger Federer pulled off a comeback to beat Borna Coric in the semi-finals of the ATP BNP Paribas Open but the Swiss legend will have to raise his game as he takes on Juan Martin del Potro in a bid to retain his Indian Wells title.

Federer lost the first set 7-5 against Coric and was down a break in both the second and third sets but the impressive young Croat dropped his level at precisely the wrong time, losing three consecutive games - two on serve - to gift the veteran the match.

The defending champion looked far from his best throughout, despite finding a way to win, and there have been unconfirmed reports that he is suffering with a cold and a back injury. Federer, however, is still a hot favourite to beat Delpo, who he leads 18-6 in their personal series.

Bookmakers rate the 20-time Grand Slam champion no bigger than a 1-3 shot with Del Porto a 5-2 chance to win what would surprisingly be the Argentinian's first Masters 1000 title at the age of 29.

Since Delpo's comeback from a series of wrist injuries, the pair have faced off on four occasions with Federer winning three times although the Tower of Tandil won their most high-profile recent clash in four sets at the 2017 US Open.

Despite also suffering with back problems, Del Potro looked in great form against a poor Milos Raonic on Saturday night, winning 6-2 6-3 and rarely looking in trouble against the Canadian.

He has a chance to pull off a minor upset if the Swiss maestro is again short of his best but Federer won't be fazed by the occasion. The same might not be true for Delpo, who has rarely contested a match of this calibre in recent years and folded tamely when the two faced off in Miami last season.

But Del Potro won a set against Federer in the semi-final of the Shanghai Masters last season and did likewise when the pair met in the final of the Swiss Indoors in Basel. A similar story could unfold at the Tennis Garden.

R Federer to win 2-1
1pt 3-1 bet365

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