Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin Del Potro all but locked up berths in the year-end ATP Finals in London next month. The two big men both won Sunday titles on the circuit as Berdych beat back Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to win Stockholm while the Argentine claimed Vienna taking down qualifier Grega Zmelja.
“London is always a goal every season,” said Berdych. “You have to play well the whole year to qualify. It will be special for me, if I make it for the third year in a row. I then hope to do well for Czech Republic in the Davis Cup final at home.”
Berdych is in the sixth position in the ATP Race and could clinch a spot this week. At No. 7, Del Potro is also likely to qualify unless Tsonga and No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic catch fire in Paris. This is assuming Rafael Nadal plays. If he doesn’t then the tournament will include the ninth player like Tipsarevic.
“I’m so happy. It’s important to have a good end of the year,” said Del Potro. “I’m looking forward to keep improving, keep playing well at the same level as I had here. I also look forward to London. I’m looking better to qualify there. We have two big tournaments coming next week. They have the chance to get points also, so it will be very interesting to see how we are going.”
In Moscow, Andreas Seppi rallied from a set and 4-5 down to stun Tomaz Bellucci 3-6, 7-6, 6-3.
“It is very special to win this title as I remember Yevgeny winning so many times here and he was my idol growing up,” said Seppi. “I saw him a few times this week but I was too shy to ask him anything.
“It has been a great season for me, winning titles is so special, now I have won on all surfaces and that means a lot.”
The women’s event was won by former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki who triumphed over Sam Stosur in three sets 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
“I’m just happy I’m healthy, and I feel I’ve been hitting the ball well lately, so I’m just hoping to play well here this week,” Wozniacki said. “Everyone’s quite tired at the end of the season – I’m hoping to play well here, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to some holidays.”
The win for Wozniacki was her first title of the year, and first since 2011 New Haven.
Wozniacki wasn’t the only women ending a lengthy title drought. Venus Williams got her first crown since 2010 Acapulco by capturing the Luxembourg trophy. The seven-time Slam winner eased passed Monica Nicolescu 6-2, 6-3 to tally her 44th career title.
“The score looked easy but the first set was 6-2 and like 42 minutes!” Williams said. “You have to put a lot of balls back in the court against her. It was back and forth, back and forth – I knew I just had to stay focused and keep fighting.
“Coming to the tournament this week I was just trying to play well. I didn’t know if I could win this event, so to stand here as the winner is a wonderful way for me to end the year, and it really makes me look forward to next year as well.
“My main goal coming here was to make the Top 32 and be seeded going into the Australian Open. I hope I’m somewhere in the Top 32 now. But wherever I end up, it’s just very rewarding to win here after facing a lot of challenges.”
Venus ends her season ranked No. 24 assuring her of a seeing at the Australian Open.
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