Former champions that beat the odds at Indian Wells

In past years, there have been many surprising winners at the popularly-called Fifth Grand Slam.


After an entertaining final at tennis paraside, Carlos Alcaraz has just beaten Daniil Medvedev at Indian Wells to achieve back-to-back titles. Throughout the past years, there have been various first-time champions, such as Alcaraz last year. More surprisingly, 3 players have won the decisive match over someone of the Big 3 in the last decade.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the players with the most championships at the California Masters, tied with 5 titles. Also, Rafael Nadal, Jimmy Connors, and Michael Chang have 3 trophies each. In the WTA Tour, an impressive total of 10 women including Iga Swiatek have the most conquests with 2 titles.

Indian Wells is popularly considered the fifth grand slam, or at least one of the best Masters 1000, if not the best one. It has one of the world's biggest tennis stadiums with a capacity for 16,000 people, as well as multiple competition and practice courts. Plus, the location near Palm Springs in California also makes it attractive for celebrities to attend matches. So who were the biggest surprises to win it all? There were 3 memorable ones recently.

Former Indian Wells champions that defied the odds

Taylor Fritz defeats Rafael Nadal (2022)

Rafa Nadal had never lost the 3 finals he had played at Indian Wells. Before this tournament, he had won Melbourne, the Australian Open, and Acapulco in an unbelievable 20-0 to start the year. The world's No.20 at the time, Taylor Fritz, made what seemed impossible: achieved a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Rafa.

Juan Martin Del Potro shocks defending champion Roger Federer (2018)

3 match points had to save Juan Martin Del Potro in order to claim his first and only Masters 1000. It would be in an epic game against the current number 1 at the time, Federer, who reached the final having won his 20th Grand Slam in Australia and having a 17-match winning streak. 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 was the code of victory for Delpo, and it would be the last of his 22 career titles.

Dominic Thiem claims title over Federer (2019)

In what would be the last of the nine finals Roger played at Indian Wells, Dominic Thiem achieved his first Masters 1000 title in the third try. 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 would be the winning score for the also US Open 2020 champion. "It's a pleasure to compete against Roger in this great final. I lost my last two Masters 1000 finals, but I won this one and it feels as nice as a Grand Slam" the Austrian player declared after the victory. No doubt it will be a title he will always remember.

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