With his big frame and a history of wrist problems, Juan Martin del Potro is unlikely to match Roger Federer’s longevity on tour. But the 29-year-old Argentine showed he has plenty of championship-level tennis left in him, on Saturday night defeating Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 for the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC title in Acapulco.
The 6-foot-6 Del Potro improved to 7-0 career against 6-foot-8 Anderson.
“It’s a very special tournament to me,” the Argentine said. “I beat three Top 10 guys in the same tournament, which is very important for myself. I’m so glad to win my 21st title playing in Acapulco.”
Prior to beating the No. 8-ranked Anderson he defeated No. 6 Dominic Thiem and No. 5 Alexander Zverev.
In claiming his first title of the year Del Potro also needed to get past serve-and-volleyer Mischa Zverev and four-time Acapulco champion David Ferrer in one of the most difficult roads to a championship this year.
Del Potro, who pounded 28 winners over two sets, will rise to No. 8 on the ATP rankings.
It was the third final of the season for Anderson who won at the inaugural New York Open and earlier reached the final in Pune, India.
“I think he played really well,” Anderson said of Del Potro. “He’s obviously a tough competitor and a great player. I just needed to do a little bit more today.”
The Argentine had 12 aces to 11 for the South African. Del Potro took his chances more on the first serve, hitting four doubles faults but winning 62 percent of first serve points as opposed to 57 percent for Anderson.
“He is a very dangerous guy,” del Potro said. “His serves are so strong but I got lucky in the important moments of my return games, and I broke just twice and that was the key of the match.”
Del Potro improved to 21-10 in career finals while Anderson dropped to 4-12. Anderson said he’ll take the momentum of already reaching three finals on the year into the back-to-back Masters-level events in March.
“I can take a lot of confidence going into Indian Wells and Miami, two tournaments I really enjoy playing,” the South African said. “I feel like I’m playing really good tennis. As always, I’ll pick myself up. I’ll try to learn as much as I can from tonight’s match.”
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