Delpo On Verge Of Completing The 'Mexican Double'
One year ago, Sam Querrey completed the 'Mexican Double', winning both ATP World Tour events held in Mexico (Acapulco and Los Cabos). After another strong performance on Friday evening at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex, top seed Juan Martin del Potro is one victory from doing the same.
Del Potro saved set point at 5/6 in the second-set tie-break before ousting third seed Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 7-6(6), closing out the clash after one hour, 40 minutes with a thunderous inside-in forehand winner to reach the championship match in Los Cabos.
"It was a good fight from him. We played good tennis, especially in the second set," Del Potro said. "I made some mistakes in the end of the set, but then I played a smart game in the tie-break. I took my chances to win and I'm glad to reach another final this season."
The Argentine, currently No. 4 in the ATP Rankings, has already triumphed this year at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC and the BNP Paribas Open. Now, he will play second seed Fabio Fognini — against whom he owns a 1-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head series advantage — as he tries to lift three titles or more in a year for the fifth time.
"It will be tough tomorrow against Fabio," Del Potro said. "But anything can happen in the final, so I will try to do my best."
For a moment, it appeared a third set was in the cards. Del Potro, who will climb to a career-best No. 3 if Alexander Zverev loses against #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Citi Open semi-finals, served for the match at 5-4 in the second set. But Dzumhur, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, began to redirect the Argentine's inside-out forehands, which were aimed at his backhand, down the line with great effect. The 26-year-old broke Del Potro for the second time in their battle to extend the match.
In the ensuing tie-break, Del Potro let slip a 5/3 advantage, double-faulting to give Dzumhur a set point. The three-time ATP World Tour champion used his opportunity by hitting a smart approach shot to the Argentine's backhand, but Del Potro laced a passing shot down the line for a winner, and he didn't stumble again.
The 29-year-old's opponent in the final, Fognini, is quietly having one of the best seasons of his career, and it's only getting better in Los Cabos. The Italian defeated Brit Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-2 on Friday to move within a win of what would also be his third ATP World Tour trophy of the season. It's a tremendous effort for his debut in the event.
"I'm really happy, for sure. I played really good tennis today. I was really solid from the baseline," Fognini said. "I'm happy to be in the final here in Los Cabos. This is my first time here, so it's not going to be the last time."
Fognini has already been victorious in Sao Paulo and Bastad this year. Not only has the 31-year-old never captured three tour-level titles in a campaign before, but he has also never won a tour-level hard-court event. Thirteen of the seven-time titlist's 16 finals have come on clay, falling short in all three of his championship matches on hard courts.
The 5'10" right-hander, who won 48 per cent of return points in his 72-minute victory, is also nearing his career-best ATP Ranking of No. 13, which he first achieved on 31 March 2014. Regardless of the rest of the week's results, Fognini will climb to No. 14 on Monday. He'll also have an opportunity to move up even further in the weeks ahead, as he has just 55 points to defend through the US Open.
Did You Know?
Del Potro is tied for third with World No. 1 Rafael Nadal on the ATP World Tour this season with 35 match wins. Fognini is right behind them, currently in fifth with 34 match wins, while Alexander Zverev (39) and Dominic Thiem (38) lead the way.