On the hottest day this week at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, upgraded to ATP 500, world number 6 and defending champion Juan Martin Del Potro took on top seed and world number 5 Andy Roddick in the finals. In a captivating three set battle, Del Potro prevailed 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, becoming the first man since Andre Agassi in 1998-1999 to seize back to back trophies.
Despite Del Potro being in the top ten since June 2008, this was only their second meeting. After Roddick sent a forehand into the net to give Del Potro a break point, with clutch serving, Andy held. Although Del Potro carried his first service game easily, at 1-2, great defense by Roddick contributed to Del Potro’s lob going long which put the score at deuce. Even though Del Potro protected serve, Roddick appeared to be making headways. After three successive aces pulled Andy ahead 3-2, Del Potro netted a forehand to hand Roddick double break point. Then, Juan Martin gift wrapped the game with a double fault. With a 4-2 edge, two decent service games was all Roddick required to secure the first set.
At the start of the second set, Del Potro recovered from 15-30 down to seal his game with a backhand volley winner. After a strong first game, serving at 1-2, Roddick double faulted and with a forehand winner Del Potro had a chance at 0-30. But, Roddick responded with superb serves and forehand winners. However, serving at 3-4, a forehand crosscourt winner and excellent defense by Del Potro provoked two backhand volley errors, so Roddick faced triple break point. Del Potro converted when Roddick’s backhand traveled out of bounds. Yet, serving for the set, Del Potro misjudged a return which dropped in for a winner. Then, with an overhead winner, Roddick had break point. Andy was back in the set when Juan Martin double faulted. But, after equalizing and Del Potro held for 6-5, Roddick committed three backhand miscues to send the match into a third set.
After each guy guarded serve the first two games, Del Potro muffed an easy overhead giving Roddick a break chance. Juan Martin then donated another double fault for Andy’s 2-1 lead. After Roddick consolidated and Del Potro had no trouble on serve, the Argentine made two deep returns which resulted in backhand errors from Roddick and connected on a forehand down the line for triple break point. When Roddick double faulted, the set was squared at 3 all. Hence forth, the two cruised on serve with the exception of Roddick’s small window at 15-30 and 4 all. The set went to a tiebreaker. Del Potro went ahead a mini-break 2-1 when Roddick sliced a backhand long. They stayed on serve and with an ace for 6-3, Del Potro had three match points. After Roddick held serve for 6-5, Del Potro misfired on a forehand after a sensational return by Roddick for 6 all. But, an ace out wide earned Del Potro another match point. On a second serve, Del Potro thumped a forehand crosscourt winner. Once Hawkeye technology confirmed the umpire’s ruling, Del Potro collected his second title of 2009.
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