ERSTE BANK OPEN 2012
Del Potro Triumphs In Vienna; Boosts London Bid
by ATP Staff|
World No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro strengthened his bid to qualify for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday, defeating qualifier Grega Zemlja 7-5, 6-3 to capture the Erste Bank Open title in Vienna.
“I’m so happy. It’s important to have a good end of the year,” said del Potro. “I’m looking forward to keep improving, keep playing well at the same level as I had here. I also look forward to London. I’m looking better to qualify there. We have two big tournaments coming next week. They have the chance to get points also, so it will be very interesting to see how we are going.”
Del Potro entered the tournament at No. 7 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings Race to London. He is aiming to return to the season finale at The O2 for the first time since 2009, when he finished runner-up to Nikolay Davydenko. Del Potro celebrates his third trophy of the season, following triumphs in Marseille (d. Llodra) and Estoril (d. Gasquet). The 2011 Vienna finalist takes home €87,870 and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points.
Zemlja was looking to win his first ATP World Tour title in his debut tour-level title match. The 70th-ranked qualifier enjoyed a surprise run to the final, notching his first Top 20 win in an upset over No. 3 seed Tommy Haas in the quarter-finals and following it up with his maiden Top 10 victory over ninth-ranked Janko Tipsarevic, the second seed, in the semi-finals. Zemlja earned €46,280 and 150 points.
“I am satisfied with the way I played. I did my best,” said Zemlja. “I felt I played really well the first seven games. Maybe I wasn’t serving my best, but I was fighting till the end. I think Juan played really well from 4-4 (in the first set), to 3-0 (in the second set). He was serving really good.
“I’m happy with how I played all week. I just have to continue with that. Also, I still have two Challengers to play at the end of the year. I have to get motivated to play the same level as I did here.”
In a tense opening to the final, both players struggled to hold serve. Del Potro led 40/0 in the first game, but the Slovenian No. 1 created a break point opportunity. Del Potro wiped it away to hold. In the fifth game, the Slovenian No. 1 broke the Argentine to become the first player to win a game on del Potro’s serve in the tournament. Zemlja took a 4-2 lead, before London contender del Potro found his rhythm to fight back to 4-4. Del Potro saved three break points in the ninth game. Zemlja cracked at 5-6, when he lost the first three points. Del Potro clinched the first set in 64 minutes.
From there, del Potro never looked back, beginning the second set with a routine service hold and an immediate break of serve. He finished the one-hour-and-41-minute contest with 10 aces and won 82 per cent of his first serve points. Del Potro did not face a break point in the second set.
“I didn’t have a very good start to the match. I made a lot of errors and I was nervous because it was a final,” del Potro said. “I tried to find a way to play aggressive. In the second set, I broke early and that gave me confidence to play the final like I was expected. I was a little lucky to survive from 2-4 down in the first set.”