Mexican Open: Juan Martin del Potro sets up title clash against Kevin Anderson; reigning champ Lesia Tsurenko into final
Juan Martin del Potro dispatched top seed Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-2 in the semi-final of the Mexican Open to set up a decider against Kevin Anderson.
Acapulco: Juan Martin del Potro dispatched top seed German Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-2 in the semi-final of the Mexican Open on Friday to set up a decider against Kevin Anderson, who overcame Jared Donaldson 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 earlier in the day.
Zverev assumed top ranking after the late withdrawal of Rafael Nadal and he had not lost a set all week.
But Del Potro, who has won 16 of his 20 career titles on hard courts like the one in Acapulco, dominated his higher-ranked opponent in a match that lasted just 90 minutes.
The Argentine never lost a break point all night and hit only one double fault. He won 78 percent of his first-serve points and 55 percent of his second serves in the match.
Zverev, of Germany, hammered 10 aces but had two double faults.
South Africa's Anderson moved one step closer to capturing his second consecutive title with his win over American qualifier Donaldson.
Anderson, of Johannesburg, won the New York Open crown two weeks ago and has plenty of confidence heading into Saturday's final.
"It just feels great to win tonight's match," Anderson said. "When you're out there, you're not really thinking about finals and what happened before. In the heat of the battle, I thought it was a really tough match."
Since last January, when he plunged to 80th in the world, Anderson has made five finals comprising Washington DC, the US Open, Pune, New York and now Acapulco. He was runner-up at the 2017 US Open.
Anderson saw his ranking fall of as a result of a variety of injuries and health issues.
On the women's side of the draw, defending champion Lesia Tsurenko earned a ninth straight victory at this event as she held off a late charge from Daria Gavrilova to return to the WTA final with a 6-2, 6-4 win.
Tsurenko frittered away six match points before finally booking her spot in the final.
The Ukrainian seventh seed has yet to drop a set over the last two years on the Acapulco hard court, a hot streak she will expect to extend when she meets unseeded Swiss Stefanie Voegele in Saturday’s final.
Voegele, ranked 183rd in the world, reached her first WTA-level final appearance when she beat Swedish qualifier Rebecca Peterson 6-4, 7-6(5) in the second semi.
Tsurenko acknowledged she had struggled to close out her match after leading 5-0 in the second set, but also credited her third-seeded opponent with some spirited resistance.
“I think it was just getting more and more tough in the second set because her defence was just amazing,” the 28-year-old told reporters after extending her perfect record against Gavrilova to 5-0.
“It was confusing for me and I made a lot of mistakes, probably because I lost some concentration, but I’m really happy I finished 6-4 and didn’t go to a tiebreak or something like that.”
Tsurenko, ranked 40th in the world, has three career titles.
With inputs from agencies
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Top Seed Open is the WTA Tour’s first US competition since tennis came to a halt in March due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Local organisers and the WTA Tour have been vigilant about abiding by strict health protocols in order to hold this week’s Palermo Ladies Open, the first tour-level tennis tournament for men or women in five months.
Four months after the high point of his career — the final of the 2005 French Open — the Argentine tested positive for etilefrine, a banned cardiorespiratory stimulant. He had also been caught in 2003 for the use of a banned anabolic steroid.