It took Juan Martin del Potro just one hour and 37 minutes to dispatch Julien Benneteau in straight sets (7-6, 6-3), securing the title at the 40th ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Argentinian entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed behind Roger Federer, and it looked as if the two might square off to determine a champion. Federer fell to Benneteau 6-3, 7-5 in the quarterfinals, though, and Benneteau used the momentum to dispatch Gilles Simon in the semifinals en route to his eighth trip to the tournament’s final stage.
Del Potro dominated his half of the draw throughout the tournament, not dropping a service game in his first four matches (per ESPN). Benneteau did manage to break his service twice, but the Argentinian’s powerful playing style wore down Benneteau, dashing his hopes of taking home the title in his eighth attempt in the tournament finals.
Del Potro matched up far better with Benneteau than he likely would have with Federer. The 2009 U.S. Open champion reached the finals last year, but he was defeated by Federer in straight sets (via ESPN). With the world’s No. 2 player on the sidelines, Del Potro was in position to secure the title that eluded him in 2012.
After battling back to 5-5 in the first set, Benneteau had a chance to swing the momentum and put pressure on Del Potro. His powerful serve was too much for Benneteau, though, and the No. 7 player in the world finished out 7-6 with a firm one-set lead.
The second set never got as close. Del Potro jumped out to an early 5-2 lead, and despite not taking advantage of three match points, he ultimately powered through the competition with a 6-3 victory.
Both players recorded double-digit aces in the contest. Del Potro had 13 uncontested points, while Benneteau bested him with 14. The No. 39 player in the world battled hard, but Del Potro ultimately played just a little better.
Del Potro has a chance to move ahead of Tomas Berdych in the ATP rankings this year. He currently trails by just 365 points and will look to make a run at tennis’ big four this season.