Del Potro Beats Verdasco in Three Sets at ATP Tennis Tournament

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina defeated Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in three sets in the group stage of tennis’s ATP finals in London.

The 21-year-old won 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-1) over the seventh- seeded Verdasco, a 26-year-old lefthander from Madrid.

The 6-foot, 6-inch Argentine made it more difficult than it had to be, allowing Verdasco to come back from 5-2 to even the match at 5-5 in the last set. The loss leaves Verdasco at the bottom of Group A without a win. Top-seeded Roger Federer and No. 4 Andy Murray, who both have one win, play later today.

“It wasn’t easy,” Del Potro said in a court-side televised interview. “I’m very happy, it’s great.”

He said he needs to play better in his next match to have a shot at making the semifinals. The Argentine failed to convert a match point when leading 5-2 in the third set. He let Verdasco back into the match, failing to convert a second match point leading 5-4, before taking his third in the tie-break as Verdasco hit a forehand wide.

Del Potro will play Federer and Verdasco faces Murray in the final Group A matches later this week.

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Career on thin ice as Safin faces Del Potro

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Marat Safin needs to score a massive upset on Wednesday in Paris if he wants to prolong his career. Safin's opponent is U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro.

Marat Safin was one point away from retirement on three different occasions in his first-round match at the BNP Paribas Open. Now he faces an even tougher test on Wednesday afternoon in the form of a first-ever meeting with Juan Martin Del Potro.

Safin, who will call it a career after this final regular-season tournament of 2009, faced three match points on Monday against Thierry Ascione before surviving 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(3). Normally this year it has been Safin who has been throwing away matches he had every chance of winning. The 29-year-old Russian owns a mere 19-21 match record in his last season and the former world No. 1 has dropped No. 65 in the ATP rankings. That said, he always seems to play well in Paris, having won this Masters title in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

Furthermore, he has a real shot against Del Potro. Although, Safin won't hear it. "The way he's playing right now, I don't think I have a chance," said the two-time Grand Slam Champion. "At the end of the day, I don't think I'm going to be the winner."

Del Potro, however, has not won a single match since his triumph over Roger Federer at the U.S. Open. The 21-year old Argentine returned for the first time in Tokyo, where he suffered a shocking first-round defeat to Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Hampered by a wrist injury, Del Potro retired in his opening match at the Shanghai Masters while trailing Jurgen Melzer by a set. Nonetheless, the world No. 5 is an impressive 49-13 for his 2009 campaign, which also includes titles in Auckland and Washington, D.C.

If 100 percent, Del Potro is obviously a huge favorite against Safin. Del Potro often struggles on lightning-fast surfaces because his forehand motion is longer than that of most players, but the Paris court is not playing extremely quick. Safin, as his Paris record indicates, excels on indoor hard courts, but he most likely needs another off day from Del Potro in order to advance.



"I'm going to try," added Safin. "Why not? If I'm going to serve well and he's not going to be at his best, I have a chance."

The pick here is that Safin has more than a chance; Safin in three.

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U.S. Open champion Del Potro returns home in triumph

Friday, September 18, 2009

U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro was greeted by thousands of fans and feted with rock band Queen's seminal "We are the Champions" when he made a triumphant return to his hometown of Tandil on Thursday.

An emotional Del Potro, who upset world number one Roger Federer in five sets, reached the town's main square on top of a fire truck waving to thousands of fans who turned the four kilometer ride along the city's streets into a carnival.

"I owe this to Tandil," he said from the balcony of the municipal palace after receiving the keys to the city where he played his first matches at the age of six. "I don't want to cry but thank all of you -- the ones that were cold waiting on the streets, the ones that ran along the route just to greet me," said Del Potro, wrapped in an Argentine flag.

Tandil, a modest rural town of 100,000 has turned into the unlikely cradle for Argentine tennis with ATP players Mariano Zabaleta, Diego Junqueira, Maximo Gonzalez and Juan Monaco all hailing from the city 350 km south of Buenos Aires.  Del Potro, who will turn 21 next Wednesday, made a stop at the Club Independiente, where he started his career, while loudspeakers blared out Queen's rock anthem.

The U.S. Open victory assured Del Potro of qualifying for the season-ending Masters tournament in London in November.

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