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Del Potro Clinches First Title Since 2009 US Open

Delray Beach, U.S.A.

Juan Martin del Potro© CameraSportJuan Martin del Potro returns to the winner's circle.

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro won the first title of his comeback, denying sixth-seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.

It marked the first title for the 22-year-old del Potro since the 2009 US Open, when he came from two-sets-to-one down against five-time defending champion Roger Federer to capture the Grand Slam crown.

Del Potro, playing in his first final since the championship match at the 2009 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, rallied from a 1-4 deficit to start the match. He saved five break points in the 10th game of the opening set before converting on his third set point.

“Janko had the control in the first set, but I was focused on my serve because it was only a break. If I get a break soon, maybe I can come back to fight that set, and that’s what happened,” said del Potro. “I served very bad at 5-4, he had the opportunity to break my serve, but I improved a little bit my game, my forehand started to work; that helped me to close the set.”

He broke Tipsarevic to go up 3-2 in the second set and fought off three break points in the next game. In total, he saved 10 of 11 break points faced on serve during the one-hour, 54-minute match.

“I think the key was one of 11 break points and my first serve percentage was just horrible,” said Tipsarevic. “All the factors were going my way today to win. He was playing every single match late at night with no wind, so he was not adapted to the weather. You could see that in the middle of the first set that he picked up, but it was a tough match. We played almost two hours, two sets, but I really didn’t use my chances.”

Del Potro improved to an 8-3 record in tour-level finals and to a 4-0 mark in finals on U.S. soil.

“Today was my first match in the afternoon for a month. I was playing for two weeks those tournaments, then four matches here at night, then today was my first match in the afternoon,” he said. “It was very hot and of course I felt it, but in the final, you have to think how can you win. Even if you play bad or not, you have to win the final.”

Gaining 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points for his victory, the former World No. 4 will be back in the Top 100 for the first time since November. With semi-final runs at San Jose and Memphis and his triumph in Delray Beach, he will have risen nearly 400 rankings spots from No. 484 to No. 89 in a three-week span.

Del Potro played in three tournaments last season due to a wrist injury, undergoing surgery in May. He briefly returned in the autumn, making first-round exits in Bangkok and Tokyo, and relaunched his comeback at the start of the 2011 ATP World Tour season.

“He’s a tough player, a tough competitor. He was out for long, which means he’s hungry to win tournaments and win matches,” said Tipsarevic.

The 26-year-old Serbian was attempting to win his first ATP World Tour title after runner-up finishes in 2009 at Moscow and last year in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

“It just didn’t go my way today,” he said. “I think the tactic I had was too aggressive, probably because I was afraid that maybe if I start letting him play that we would dominate the court. I just didn’t execute well. The game plan I had was good. I just didn’t play good today.”

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