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Del Potro Stifles Verdasco to Capture the Estoril Open Title

The last time Juan Martin Del Potro competed on clay, he was battling Roger Federer in the 2009 French Open semifinals. Del Potro demonstrated that he can be a threat on this surface in Paris this year. The Argentine annihilated Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-2 for his second title of the season.

After failing to consolidate on an opening service break, Del Potro fabricated double break by forcing a backhand error from Verdasco. With the latter making another miscue, Del Potro went ahead 2-1. This time, with an ace at 40-0, Del Potro solidified his lead.

With Verdasco burying a backhand into the net, Del Potro again had double break point. Then, as Verdasco’s forehand flew long, Del Potro broke a third time for a 4-1 lead. By easily guarding serve his next two service games, Del Potro bedded the first set.

In the second set, Del Potro’s persistent power proved too much for Verdasco. Thus, as Verdasco’s forehand crosscourt went wide, Del Potro manufactured double break point. Del Potro burned Verdasco with a forehand crosscourt pass winner to break the initial game of the second set.

Once more with a comfortable hold, Del Potro moved in front 2-0. The Argentine consistency on serve meant that Verdasco had no break point opportunity.

Subsequent to having double game point, Verdasco committed two consecutive mistakes for deuce. As a result of a third error in a row, Verdasco gifted Del Potro break point. With Verdasco sending a forehand down the line wide, Del Potro took a commanding 5-2 advantage.

Perhaps a tad anxious serving for the championship, Del Potro double faulted to give Verdasco break point. However, Del Potro promptly recuperated with a backhand crosscourt winner and got to deuce.

By striking a backhand crosscourt winner, Verdasco arrived at another break point. Yet, because of a backhand error, the Spaniard vaporized that opportunity.

Later, Verdasco netted a return which resulted in Del Potro’s third match point. As Verdasco’s forehand crosscourt traveled out of regulation, Del Potro finally closed out the championship.

Del Potro’s strong performance this week means he will climb back into the top 30 in the rankings. Estoril is Del Potro’s third career clay court title, the previous two were in 2008.

Following a tough three set first round against qualifier Pedro Sousa, Del Potro has been sharp. He ousted top seed Robin Soderling in straight sets in the quarterfinals. If Del Potro maintains his current form, he will be a heavyweight at the two upcoming Masters series and at the French Open.

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