Juan Martin del Potro claimed a second straight Swiss Indoors trophy on Sunday with a 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-4 win over Roger Federer to earn his second title in a month.
Even though Federer lost a chance to clinch a spot in the ATP World Tour Finals in London next week, the Swiss can assure himself a place in the eight-man field by winning his opening second-round match this week at the Paris Masters.
Federer faces the winner of Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny, the Valencia champion on Sunday, and South African Kevin Anderson. He if wins he will be into the London year-ender for a 12th straight edition where he would be bidding for a sixth title.
Del Potro, the Tokyo champion three weeks ago, profited after Federer, who had squared the match at a set each, double-faulted twice in the opening game of the final set in front a 9,200-strong crowd at the event he has won five times from 10 finals.
“I played my best match of the week today,” said the Argentine winner, who could not stop expressing his respect for Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam champion. “Roger is a great person and he has already won this title too many times. I know how it feels to lose big matches like this. I played well today and felt I got better at the end. My last two service games were the best I could have hoped for.”
Del Potro has now defeated Federer in their past three matches.
“It’s always a pleasure to play Roger. He’s the hero here and for me my biggest inspiration. You make history at every tournament you play,” Del Potro said.
Federer fired 14 aces to no avail in the final as he failed to win what would have been just a second title in a disappointing season.
“I may have lost, but it was perhaps my best match of the week,” Federer said. “It was a high level, but it’s hard to judge when you lose. I shouldn’t have handed the break over to him so easily in the third set, but overall I did well today.”
“I felt I was getting better in the third set, but at the end he wasn’t giving me anything,” he said. “Overall, it was a great week. I’m happy to have some tough matches and withstood the challenge. Physically, I’m fine. The crowd gave me amazing support, which makes it easier when you lose a match like this.”
Russian Mikhail Youzhny denied top seed and defending champion David Ferrer a fourth Valencia Open title when he beat the world No. 3 6-3, 7-5 in the final of the Spaniard’s home event on Sunday.
Ranked 21 and a couple of months younger than his 31-year-old opponent, Youzhny used his graceful one-handed backhand to devastating effect at the cathedral-like Agora Arena, breaking the tenacious Ferrer’s serve four times.
Runner-up in Valencia in 2009, the Russian sealed victory and his 10th career title on his second match point when Ferrer netted a forehand and it was his second success of the year following his victory on clay in Gstaad, Switzerland, in July.
“I am happy because it was a great week for me and a great tournament,” Youzhny told Spanish television. “Of course, everyone in the crowd was for David, but still if I played good I felt they were supporting me too. Now there is a big tournament in Paris, and I just want to enjoy it and play like I played this week.”
Ferrer, who has already qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals in London next week, was appearing in his 41st career final and the second in as many weeks.