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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentinian tennis ace Juan Manuel del Potro won the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 9. His victory over local idol Andy Roddick gave the world’s sixth-ranked player his second title this year and the sixth of his career.
According to Clarín, del Potro beat the fifth-ranked U.S. player Andy Roddick, 3-6, 7-5, and 7-6 (8-6 in the tiebreak) in a hard-fought match played in searing 97 degree heat. Roddick served 21 aces in the match – two more than del Potro – but the Argentinian served five of his aces in the tiebreak to win the title in 2 hours and 30 minutes.
“Winning the final and also beating Fernando Gonzalez and Lleyton Hewitt was really great. I had never beaten either of them before. But best of all was the final, because it was exciting and tough,” del Potro told EFE after the match. Roddick, on the other hand, told AP only that his opponent “was more connected with the match.”
For the 20-year-old del Potro, the victory was a validation of the title he picked up in Washington D.C. last year, when he also won the Los Angeles, Kizbuhel and Stuttgart tournaments. Coming on top of his victory over U.S. player Sam Querrey in the Auckland tournament, this was del Potro’s second title of 2009. And, as ANSA reported, he also reached the semifinals of France’s Roland Garros tournament, where he was defeated by the world’s number one player, Roger Federer of Switzerland.
On his way to the Legg Mason final, del Potro beat the Chilean player Fernando Gonzalez. Roddick – who came to this match after losing to Federer in the Wimbledon final – beat fellow U.S. player John Ishner to get to the final. Included in the ATP 500 series of tournaments, the Legg Mason Classic is worth US$1.4 million in prize money, of which del Potro picked up US$300,000. Perhaps more important still, the event is also worth 500 ATP ranking points.
Aug. 8 was the opening day of the ATP Rogers Cup in Montreal, where both del Potro and Roddick, together with Federer, Rafael Nadal and others, will receive first-round byes. Next, on Aug. 31, they will go on to the last Grand Slam of the year in New York.