Ruthless del Potro dispatches Tomic to win Sydney title
Juan Martin del Potro defeated Bernard Tomic in straight sets to take out the 2014 Apia International in Sydney.
Juan Martin del Potro conducted a tennis lesson on Saturday night at Apia International Sydney.
The student was Bernard Tomic, and the setting was an atmospheric Ken Rosewall Arena packed with 10,203 fans – and a vocal contingent of Argentinean supporters – who watched the world No.5 dispatch Tomic in just 53 minutes en route to his first title in Sydney.
The match pitted the top-seeded del Potro against Tomic, the defending champion and who had won nine straight matches at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre. And it ended with del Potro smiting 21 winners to just four errors and benefiting from the 20 errors which flowed off the racquet of an oddly listless Tomic.
Del Potro also slammed down eight aces, the last a 208km/h scorcher down the T which sealed a dominant victory.
“I was surprise of my level of tonight. I think I play great. My forehand works perfect; I make a lot winners, many aces, play good slices,” he reflected.
“Every long rally we played I won all of them, which is good for my confidence during the game.”
The early stages of the match were far more competitive.
The Australian held serve to kick off the match, and games continued on serve as the pair traded powerful shots, Tomic playing aggressively and getting the Argentine both on the run and out of position.
With Aussie tennis legend Ken Rosewall in attendance at the arena that bears his name, del Potro made the first push towards breaking serve in the fifth game, changing a pattern of sliced backhands with a pulsating forehand winner to move ahead 15-30. Tomic would not be discouraged, hitting his way out of trouble to nose ahead 3-2.
Yet on his next service game, Tomic threw in a shocker. Four unforced errors handed del Potro a break to love, and it was a lapse from which the Aussie would not recover.
“I felt like at the three-all game I missed two, three shots I shouldn’t have probably missed,” Tomic admitted.
“From then, he just sort of got momentum and started to relax, and he was starting to play to win rather not to lose. From then it was very difficult for me to turn it around. Very difficult.”
That game was the beginning of a run of 10 consecutive points for del Potro; the Argentine unleashed an ace and a pair of forehand winners to hold for 5-3, and opened the ninth game with a lunging forehand return that he smoked for a blinding winner.
Del Potro had taken the set by the scruff of the neck, and sealed it a few points later after just 27 minutes, committing only one error along the way.
Indicating to Tomic that there would be no let-down from his end of the court, the top seed held serve to love – thanks to another ace – to open the second set.
Tomic managed to produce a flurry of winners in the second game to hold serve and stop a run of five straight games for the Argentine.
But it was merely a brief reprieve. Del Potro quickly wrested control of proceedings in the next game, with a forehand winner helping him hold for 2-1. Tomic then unsuccessfully challenged two calls in the fourth game, dropping serve to fall behind 3-1.
A combination of Tomic’s errors and del Potros winners saw the second set steam toward a rapid conclusion; the Aussie committed six in the next two games on his way to losing another eight straight points.
The crowd roared at 6-3 5-1, getting behind the Australian in the hopes of sparking a comeback and seeing some more tennis.
But although he lost the first point of the seventh game, del Potro would not be denied. From 15-15, a forehand winner followed by a pair of aces secured victory.
“(To) start the year in this way, it’s very, very positive looking forward for the rest of the season,” he said.
“The Australian fans respect me a lot even playing against Bernie. It’s so nice to me playing in front of this atmosphere with this crowd.
“It was a really nice, nice week for me … I really enjoying all days here in Sydney, and hopefully I can be here next year.”
Earlier in the evening, the unseeded pairing of Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic won the men’s doubles title.