Roddick restrained as Del Potro wins 2nd straight title
WASHINGTON: Juan Martin Del Potro blasted five of his 19 aces in the deciding tie-breaker Sunday to beat US top seed Andy Roddick 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8/6) and win his second consecutive ATP Washington Classic title.
Ignoring fatigue and sweltering heat to launch his most powerful serves of the match at the finish, the Argentine second seed finally overcame Roddick on his fourth match-point chance when a line call review upheld a forehand winner.
"I did my best services ever in my life," Del Potro said of the tie-breaker. "I don't know what happened in that moment. I was just trying to do my best, play 10 minutes and you are out.
"On that last forehand, I saw the ball very close. Andy called the HawkEye and said, 'I saw out.' I said, 'I saw out too.' Then HawkEye said it was in." Del Potro became the first player since Andre Agassi in 1999 to win back-to-back titles at the 1.4 million-dollar hardcourt event, capturing the top prize of 300,000 dollars after 2 1/2 hours in hot and humid conditions.
"It was very difficult," Del Potro said. "After the first set I couldn't move any more. It was impossible. It was serve and one more ball. If you run, you die." 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.
"Today was brutal," Roddick said. "He was rolling the dice a lot. He played high risk tennis and he connected. To go for as much as he was going for late in the match and not have any errors to show for it, that was the difference." 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 defence and showed his improvement since a shock 2008 title opposite the Beijing Olympics.
"I've improved everything a little bit," Del Potro said. "But if I want to beat Roddick a lot of times, Federer and Nadal, I have to get better. I have to keep working." Fifth-ranked Roddick, 26, lost his only prior meeting with Del Potro in last year's Los Angeles final.
Roddick likes the state of his game three weeks ahead of the US Open.
"I'm on the right path to the Open. I'm not far off from where I was toward the end of Wimbledon," Roddick said. "This is the start of preparations for the US Open. I definitely feel better about my game than when I first got here.
"I will take a lot more good than bad away from this week." 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.