Juan Martin del Potro showed he deserves to be among the favorites to win the US Open by rallying to beat John Isner in Sunday’s final of the Citi Open.
The 24-year-old top seed from Argentina shook off a sluggish start to beat the US eighth seed 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 for his third title in six years at the US$1.76 million ATP and WTA hardcourt event, a tuneup for the year’s final Grand Slam event beginning in New York in three weeks.
“I would have to be a favorite,” Del Potro said. “I’m playing well. To win tournaments and beat these guys, you have to be fit and in good condition, but I have a few more guys playing better than me, and they have been favorites forever.”
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, defending champion Andy Murray, five-time US Open winner Roger Federer and 2010 US Open champion Rafael Nadal were Del Potro’s picks as the players to beat at Flushing Meadows.
“I would put him the smallest hair behind Djokovic and Murray,” Isner said of Del Potro. “It would just be those guys right now. He would be third favorite.”
In his first event since an epic five-set loss to Djokovic in the longest semi-final in Wimbledon history, Del Potro showed his left knee was fine after an injury at Wimbledon.
“Honestly, I’m surprised to win this tournament after a month without competition,” Del Potro said. “To win my first tournament on hardcourt, it means a lot. It gives me confidence to keep going and get closer to the top guys.”
Del Potro stretched his Washington win streak to 14 matches by adding to the titles he won in the US capital in 2008 and 2009.
WOMEN’S CITI OPEN
Seventh-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia beat unseeded Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) on Sunday to win the Citi Open for the second consecutive year.
Rybarikova, who is ranked 43rd, improved her record at the hard-court tournament to 10-0.
“I would love to play [here] all the time, maybe,” Rybarikova said.
She fell behind 0-4 before taking eight consecutive games to win the first set and go up 2-0 in the second.
There was one other blip for Rybarikova, who was broken while serving for the match at 5-4.
“I was really tight and my arm was kind of shaking,” Rybarikova said.
However, she pulled herself together in the tiebreaker, explaining later that she was “really, really calm and relaxed.”
Petkovic, in contrast, was feeling fatigued out down the stretch. She had a tough turnaround, coming back to play in the final a little more than 15 hours after her rain-delayed semi-final finished past 2am on Sunday.