The Argentine claimed his first ATP Masters 1000 title by sensationally ending Roger Federer's ideal start to 2018 in the Indian Wells Masters final on Sunday.
Former US Open victor Del Potro improved to 16-3 on the season with his 6-2, 6-3 victory over the hard-serving Canadian Raonic in just 65 minutes.
Del Potro claimed a stunning four-set win over Federer at the US Open in September past year, but Federer won their last meeting in Basel a month later.
The Argentinian wasted a match point of his own in the second set and appeared on the verge of defeat when Federer served for the match at 5-4 and 40-15 in the third. "It was an easier match than I expected".
Del Potro became the first Argentine champion in the 42-year history of the desert tournament.
The results (finals): Men: Juan Martin Del Potro bt Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (2).
"It's so big", Del Potro said afterwards.
"Roger and I were nervous during the whole match, and we felt that on court".
Del Potro is back in the final for the first time in five years, having lost to Rafael Nadal in 2013 after beating Novak Djokovic in the semis.
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Federer had a chance to serve out the match, holding two match points.
With nothing to separate the two after 12 games, the set went to a tiebreak and Federer celebrated victory at 7-5 as Del Potro's return of serve sailed long. Raonic, who is coming back from an injury-riddled 2017, blasted six aces but made two double faults.
"So it should sting, like you said, for a bit". "He served well. He struck the ball well".
The win ranks up there with del Potro's 2009 US Open title, in which he beat Federer and helped Argentina win the Davis Cup in 2016. Federer mishit a forehand high into the air beyond the baseline, giving del Potro another break point.
"And I'm excited to keep working". It was his first win against Federer since last year's U.S. Open quarters.
Beating Federer has never been easy - del Potro had succeeded just six times in 24 previous attempts - and the nail-biting final lasted nearly three hours with both players taking occasional issue with the chair umpire.
"I'm really enjoying playing tennis again", he said.
"Obviously there is not too much time to dwell over it. The people were excited on every single point", said Del Potro said. It's a tough one. I think I was just also just trying to pump myself up more, to get energy for me.