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Del Potro Powers Into Second Rotterdam Final; Benneteau Beats Simon

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

del Potro© Henk KosterJuan Martin del Potro is in the Rotterdam final for the second time.

Second seed Juan Martin del Potro reached the final of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament for the second year in a row on Saturday in Rotterdam as he defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4.

The Argentine finished runner-up to Roger Federer at this ATP World Tour 500 indoor tournament last year and will play for his 14th tour-level title when he faces Julien Benneteau in Sunday’s final. 

Three of the four ATP World Tour titles that del Potro won in 2012 were indoors. He has a 13-5 record in tour-level finals.

The 24-year-old del Potro produced a strong serving display to win his first meeting with the upcoming Dimitrov. The Tandil native won 74 per cent of points on his first serve and saved both break points he faced. He broke Dimitrov in the third game of both sets to clinch victory in 75 minutes.

"The match was tough," said del Potro. "The breaks I got gave me the confidence to be aggressive all the time and play my game throughout the match.

"Being in the final means a lot to me after an early loss at the Australian Open," continued the Argentine, who was beaten in the third round in Melbourne by Jeremy Chardy. "I think I'm serving really well, but I feel like I can improve a little bit for tomorrow. I faced break points today, so that means I need to improve if I want to win tomorrow."

"Juan Martin is one of the toughest guys to play on tour," said Dimitrov, who is set to rise to a career-high position in the 30s of the Emirates ATP Rankings next week. "He played very good tennis today; he deserved to win the match. It's always nice to get through a couple of tough matches. I'm happy with the performances and it's been a good week for me."

In the second semi-final, Benneteau defeated fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon, the fifth seed, 6-4, 7-6(2). Benneteau had stunned defending champion Roger Federer a day earlier in the quarter-finals and backed it up by breaking Simon twice to clinch victory in one hour and 49 minutes.

The 31-year-old Benneteau, who clinched his 200th tour-level win in the quarter-finals, will contest his eighth ATP World Tour final and is searching for his first title. The right-hander’s two most recent runner-up finishes came last year at the Apia International Sydney (l. to Nieminen) and the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur (l. to Monaco).

"It's never easy to come back 24 hours later after a big win like yesterday,” said Benneteau. “When I beat [Federer] in Bercy (in 2009), I didn't play too good the day after against [Gael] Monfils. It was the same scenario today against another Frenchman and I managed to win and I'm very happy with that.

"It's never easy to play against Gilles, because he has a special game and you have to be very focussed from the beginning to the end I did it today."

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