ATPTour.com counts down five of the most-read stories during the busy month of March:
1. Thiem Topples Federer For Maiden Masters Title
Dominic Thiem produced a special performance to claim the biggest title of his career on Sunday, surviving Roger Federer in the BNP Paribas Open final. The third time is the charm for the Austrian, who secured his first ATP Masters 1000 trophy in his third final appearance.
Thiem denied Federer a record sixth BNP Paribas Open crown, battling back for the championship 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in just over two hours. The 25-year-old produced an impressive display under the Southern California sun, storming back from a set down to stun the Swiss and leave everyone at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in awe.
“It’s unreal,” said Thiem. “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.
“It was a great week and I think also a very good final today. Just amazing that I got here, my first really big title. I came from a really bad form in all categories and now I’m the champion of Indian Wells. It feels not real at all.”
2. Federer In Full Flight: Roger Soars To Fourth Miami Crown
Victory was swift and convincing for Roger Federer on Sunday at the Miami Open presented by Itau. The Swiss produced a championship masterclass under the Florida sun, dominating reigning champ John Isner 6-1, 6-4 to take his fourth tournament title and No. 101 in his storied career.
The battle between the last two Miami champions went the way of Federer in a flash, as he needed just 64 minutes to triumph. Federer toppled the big-serving American behind four breaks of serve and a staggering 32 of 35 points won on his own delivery.
“It was a dream start, relaxing my nerves [to break in the opening game],” said Federer. “What a week it’s been for me. I’m just so happy right now. It’s unbelievable. I played here in 1999 for the first time and here I am in 2019. It means a lot to me.”
3. Federer Routs Shapovalov To Reach Miami Final
Canadian Denis Shapovalov had been looking forward to playing Roger Federer practically his entire life. Before the match, he called it “a dream come true”. The 19-year-old, however, didn’t envision their semi-final going like it did on Friday night at the Miami Open presented by Itau.
The Canadian was nervous to start, and that was more than Federer needed as the three-time champion delivered another near-perfect performance at Hard Rock Stadium.
The Swiss glided around court and hit winners all match, cruising to his fifth Miami final – his 50th at the ATP Masters 1000 level – 6-2, 6-4 and will face American John Isner for a chance at his 28th Masters 1000 crown. The defending champion Isner beat 18-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(3), 7-6(4) earlier Friday.
“I enjoyed it. I think I played very well. I had to. Because I think when you let Denis play, he’s got some serious power, and he gets rhythm going. He can really put you in uncomfortable situations,” Federer said. “So I think I did well, and I’m very happy how I played.”
4. Kohlschreiber Upsets Djokovic In Indian Wells
World No. 39 Philipp Kohlschreiber stunned five-time BNP Paribas Open champion Novak Djokovic on Tuesday, eliminating the sluggish top seed 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 38 minutes.
The 12th time proved the charm for Kohlschreiber, who was previously 0-11 against players ranked No. 1 in the world. The German also entered the match with just one win in nine FedEx ATP Head2Head matches against Djokovic.
“It’s a very special win today,” Kohlschreiber said. “I had a great strategy to play against him. I had two good wins [entering the match]. So everything came together. [It’s] very special to beat the No. 1. Unfortunately the tournament is not over. I have to get back tomorrow with a great mindset. Today I want to take the moment, celebrate with my coach. I’ve got a lot of messages. I know it’s a very special victory today.”
5. Felix Becomes Youngest Miami Semi-finalist In 35 Years
He’s only 18, but he’s already rewriting the history books at the Miami Open presented by Itau. #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime became the youngest Miami semi-finalist in the tournament’s 35-year history on Wednesday.
The qualifier, who played an ATP Challenger Tour event two months ago, beat 11th seed Borna Coric of Croatia 7-6(3), 6-2 to set up a final-four matchup against defending champion John Isner. The American beat Novak Djokovic‘s conqueror Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 7-6(1), 7-6(5).
Auger-Aliassime’s success, including his straight-sets win against the 22-year-old Coric, has surprised the teenager from Montreal.
“Playing Borna, who’s been established for a few years now, I definitely didn’t expect to win. I expected more, a set like in the first. But the second really surprised me. I felt like I had margin over him, had a bit of an edge. I just felt really comfortable out there from the first balls,” he said.