Delpo On The Rise, Repeats In Stockholm
The “Tower of Tandil” is rising toward the top of the tennis world again.
Fourth seed Juan Martin del Potro defended his Intrum Stockholm Open title on Sunday, defeating top seed and 2013 champion Grigor Dimitrov, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour, 23 minutes. It is the Argentine’s first title since he lifted the trophy in Sweden last year.
“I played the best match of the week against Grigor today. Unlucky for that, sorry Grigor,” del Potro said. “It’s amazing to come back and hold this big trophy. And hopefully I can come next year as well. I love to be in Stockholm. I like the city a lot. I like the Swedish people and you treated me very, very good this week and I would like to thank everyone.”
Not only did del Potro capture his 20th ATP World Tour title, but he launched himself into contention in the Emirates ATP Race To London. The 29-year-old will move up to 14th in the Race with 2,135 points, 470 points behind Pablo Carreno Busta, who currently occupies the final qualifying spot. The Argentine also has his eyes set on the possibilities for him in the future.
"I’m still going up in the [Emirates ATP] Rankings. I’m already in the Top 20 and I don’t have too many points to defend next season. Could get close to the Top 10 guys," del Potro said. "[It] could be a dream after all my problems with the wrist. To reach that ranking, that number again, would be fantastic for me. But I’m very calm. I’d like to stay in good shape, keep healthy and keep playing tennis."
Del Potro dominated the final with his serve, notching nine aces and saving all four break points he faced. He earned a double-break lead in the second set while returning up 4-2, as Dimitrov launched a forehand approach shot long to virtually put the match out of reach. Fittingly enough, del Potro ended the championship with a big serve in the deuce court down the middle, eliciting an error from his opponent. When the ball landed in the net, del Potro's arms rose straight toward the ceiling in celebration.
The Argentine extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against the Bulgarian to 6-2, despite losing their past two matches, both this year, in straight sets.
It was still a strong effort for Dimitrov in Stockholm. Dimitrov is fifth in the Race standings, next in line to qualify for London with 3,560 points, nearing his first appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals.
“I couldn’t have lost to a better gentleman on and off the court. Juan, congrats...you’ve been playing great the whole year, quite a few battles and wishing you the best of luck for the rest of the season,” Dimitrov said. “Unfortunately I couldn’t bring a lot more fight today. But again, Juan totally deserved it.”
Del Potro earned 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points along with €105,045 for his efforts, while Dimitrov added 150 points to his tally and pocketed €55,325.