Top seed Roger Federer lifted his first trophy of the season in Rotterdam Sunday, defeating Juan Martin del Potro 6-1, 6-4 in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament final. “In the first set, I was rock solid. I played great from start to finish,” said Federer. “In the second set, it got tighter. I’m happy I was able to sneak it out.”
Federer raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, converting both of his break point opportunities against the Argentine. After del Potro held to get on the scoreboard, Federer served out the 34-minute set.
Del Potro settled into the match in the second set, but was broken in the fifth game by the World No. 3. Federer was pressed on his serve by the 10th-ranked del Potro, but saved all seven break points he faced throughout the match to beat the former US Open champion for the ninth time in 11 FedEx ATP Head 2 Head meetings, claiming victory in one hour and 26 minutes. “He couldn’t pull the trigger the way he wanted to,” assessed Federer. “Just like yesterday, I had a good mindset. I really believed I was going to make it difficult for him, especially on the break points. I know the second set could have been a whole lot different.”
With the win, the Swiss extended his streak of winning at least one ATP World Tour title each season to 12 years in a row. He has triumphed at the last five indoor-hard court events he has entered, dating back to the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, winning 24 consecutive matches in those tournaments. His last loss on the surface came at the hands of Gael Monfils in the BNP Paribas Masters semi-finals two years ago. “It’s nice to pick up the momentum after the indoor season I had last year,” Federer said.
“And then coming back here after seven years and going through this whole buzz in Rotterdam has been amazing, having a standing ovation every time I walked on and off the court. I think it was a great tournament all-around. I really enjoyed myself here and saved my best for last. That match with Davydenko was gigantic looking back now. I knew I had a chance if I got through that one. It all came together perfectly. I’ll enjoy this tonight with my friends and family who are here.”
The 23-year-old del Potro was bidding to win the ATP World Tour 500 event on his event debut. Federer improves to a 71-30 final record, while del Potro drops to 9-5 in title matches. “He played much better than me today,” said del Potro. “I didn’t take the break points when I had them. It’s really difficult to beat Federer if you have the chances and don’t take them. He was more confident and concentrated than me in the important moments and I think that was the key.”
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