DELRAY BEACH, Florida (Reuters) - Former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro won his first title since 2009 by defeating Janko Tipsarevic 6-4 6-4 on Sunday to clinch the Delray Beach International Championships.
Argentine Del Potro, who played just three tournaments in 2010 because of an injury to his right wrist, needed just under two hours to claim his eighth career title.
“It’s amazing for me, this comeback,” Del Potro said in a courtside interview. “I’m trying to improve my game day-by-day and today Janko played better than me but I had a little luck in the important moments.”
Del Potro, once ranked fourth in the world but now 166 because of his injury, appeared out of gas in the opening set but got stronger as the match progressed.
“I was playing at night, every match,” said Del Potro, who will crack the top 100 when the next rankings are released. “And today was a little bit hot for me. I just tried to focus on my serve, especially on my break points.”
Del Potro broke the 26-year-old Tipsarevic three times in five break-point chances, denying the Serb a chance at his first career title.
When Tipsarevic, seeded sixth, punched a forehand wide to end the match, Del Potro raised his arms and looked skyward before dropping his racket and kissing his once-injured wrist.
Del Potro, 22, fought off 10 of 11 break points by Tipsarevic to claim his first tournament since defeating Roger Federer to win the 2009 U.S. Open.
Reporting by Steve Ginsburg and Jahmal Corner. Editing by Ian Ransom