Potro outlasts Roddick, defends title

WASHINGTON: Juan Martin Del Potro blasted five of his 19 aces in the deciding tie-breaker on Sunday to beat US top seed Andy Roddick 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8/6) and win his second consecutive Washington Classic title.

The Argentine second seed finally overcame Roddick on his fourth match-point chance when a line call review upheld a forehand winner. Del Potro became the first player since Andre Agassi in 1999 to win back-to-back titles at the $1.4 million hardcourt event, capturing the top prize of $300,000.

Roddick, in his first event since a five-set Wimbledon final loss to Roger Federer, fired 21 aces and had a superior first-serve percentage but missed out on a fourth Washington title and 28th career crown. Sixth-ranked Del Potro, 20, won his sixth career ATP title and second of the year after a January crown at Auckland. It was his first ATP title defense.

Fifth-ranked Roddick, 26, lost his only prior meeting with Del Potro in last year’s Los Angeles final. Del Potro opened the tie-breaker with his fastest serve, a 137-mph ace, then took a 3-1 lead on a second-serve ace and a 4-1 edge on a 136-mph ace. A fourth ace gave him a 6-3 edge and three championship points.

Roddick saved the first with an ace and Del Potro followed by sending a backhand wide and a forehand long, sustaining Roddick’s hopes. But Del Potro fired his final ace and then captured the match on the replay call.

Pannetta wins

LOS ANGELES: Italy’s Flavia Pennetta defeated Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the $700,000 WTA Los Angeles Women’s Tennis Championship on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Italian, who was runner-up in 2008 at this event, called Sunday’s victory the biggest of her career. She earned $107,000 and posted her eighth career singles title. “This is my first big title,” said Pennetta, who was seeded 10th at the hardcourt event at the Home Depot Center facility in south central Los Angeles.

Pennetta had four aces to three for Stosur and made good on 76 per cent of her first serve points in the 81-minute match. It was just

her second title on hardcourts with six of her eight coming on clay. Sunday was the first career meeting between the two WTA veterans. The 25-year-old Stosur fell short of winning her first WTA title but was happy with her progress.

Stosur has been on a brilliant run of success over the past few months, improving her world ranking to 18. The 13th seeded Stosur is known more for her success in doubles but was knocked out of that draw on Thursday.