Djokovic Weathers Del Potro Storm
By Reuters | November 12, 2012 5:12 AM EST
(Reuters) - For a set not even the granite defense of Novak Djokovic could withstand the irresistible brute force of Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday but the Serb then rode out the storm to win the opening semi-final at the ATP World Tour Finals.
The world number one soaked up some wrist-bending blows from the inspired Argentine before turning the match in his favor to romp home to a 4-6 6-3 6-2 victory at the O2 Arena.
He struggled to live with Del Potro's weight of shot in the opening set and was in trouble when he went a break down in the second but once again he showed the qualities that have made him such a hard player to beat.
Djokovic broke Del Potro's serve twice in the second and third sets and surged to victory in two hours 11 minutes after winning 11 of the last 14 games.
World number seven Del Potro had played down his chances of reaching the final despite beating Federer in their final Group B match on Saturday, saying "three big names and one big guy" had reached the semis.
However, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, back to near his best after some career-disrupting injuries, showed scant regard for reputations as he traded blows with Djokovic in the first set.
Djokovic did have a chance to break the south American's serve in the second game but Del Potro swatted away the danger with hefty blow.
Djokovic looked increasingly uncomfortable as Del Potro turned up the power throughout the set.
He survived a break point in the sixth game after a terrible smash had given his opponent a chance.
Del Potro produced a stunning forehand pass on the run at 4-4 and two wasteful forehands from Djokovic cost him his serve before Del Potro clinched the opener with a love service game.
Djokovic found himself under immediate pressure at the start of the second set.
He wriggled his way out of one crisis, saving three break points, but two games later Del Potro broke serve again when he prevailed in a rally that Djokovic normally thrives on.
Both men traded heavy groundstrokes before an interlude of low slices but Del Potro then exploded a huge forehand down the line which Djokovic could barely get a racket on.
A set and break to the good Del Potro appeared to have Djokovic where he wanted but the world number one proved he was far from a spent force when he broke for the first time in the match in the following game.
The sting suddenly went from Del Potro's game and Djokovic broke his increasingly weary-looking opponent for a 5-3 lead before leveling the match.
Djokovic picked Del Potro apart in the decider, breaking in the third game with cleverly angled forehand, broke again for a 5-2 lead and wrapped up the win with the minimum of fuss.
(Editing by John Mehaffey)
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Taylor Swift Named Forbes' Second Highest Paid Country Musician [PHOTOS]
- Forever Lost: Indescribable Anguish for Malaysia Airlines MH17 Families, Remains of Some Victims May Never Be Found (PHOTOS)
- Global Aviation Accidents: UN to Form Safety Task Force, Gov'ts Should Share Intelligence Info to Avert Future Incidents on Flying Over Warzones (PHOTOS)
- PageSix: Beyonce & Jay Z Union is Not About Love, All About Business & the Brand
Join the Conversation
- Roger Federer Not That Good If Different Surfaces Were To Exist – Giles Simon
- Jeremy Lin Should Be Ready to Start for Los Angeles Lakers as Steve Nash Confirms Retirement
- Manchester United Transfer News: Arturo Vidal Leaving Juventus for the Red Devils Gaining Momentum
- Dan Bilzerian Opens Up to Howard Stern, Poker Pro Admits He Once Had Sex with 16 Women in 12 Days
- Ana Ivanovic Posts a Hot Selfie on Instagram after her San Francisco Photo-Shoot
- Samsung Galaxy S5 Alpha Leaks Online: Release Date, Five Features to Wait for New Smart Phone
- Photos of Motorola Moto X+1 Prototype and Specs Leak Online, Release Date, Four Fresh Features Revealed
- Sony Xperia Z3: Release Date, Five Features to Expect from New Android Smart Phone
- Top Surprising Features Of iOS 8
- Top 4 Reasons Why iPhone 6 Will Hit Big Soon After its Sept 2014 Release Date
- Freshly Leaked Apple iPad Air 2 Cases Confirm Touch ID Sensor; Release Date, Limited Specs and Price Listed
- 5 Food Scandals That Shocked The World