Juan Martin del Potro will make his return to the top-eight of the rankings after he ousted fellow top-10 player Kevin Anderson in a hard-hitting final at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. It was del Potro’s third consecutive win over a top-10 player and his amazing run concludes with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over the South African after an hour and 40 minutes of play in the high-quality contest.
This was del Potro’s first title of 2018, while incredibly enough, Acapulco was the third tournament of the year where Anderson made the final. Both players now head into Indian Wells high on confidence and riding on their momentum, though Anderson has a possible injury concern which bothered him in the second set.
Sole break proves to be the difference
It was a tale of two stories as Anderson and del Potro had totally different paths en route to setting up this blockbuster championship match. The South African roared into the final without facing a seeded player while the Argentinian had to beat two top-10 players, alongside Mischa Zverev and David Ferrer. Del Potro was the huge favorite entering this encounter due to his overwhelming 6-0 lead in their head-to-head and looked in red-hot form.
Routine service holds came and went until we surprisingly had the first break of serve in the seventh game. Anderson, with his powerful serves, looked invincible when he went up 40-15 but his inability to consistently produce first serves backfired immediately, with del Potro taking his chances to be aggressive on the return, and a wild backhand ultimately gifted the world number nine with the advantage.
Anderson then produced some resistance by recovering from 40-0 down to give himself a slight chance to break at deuce, although del Potro removed any form of threats by firing an ace down-the-tee to consolidate the break for a commanding 5-3 lead. Fighting off a set point on his serve, Anderson kept his chances alive although the outstanding del Potro serve was just too good again, sealing the first set 6-4 on an ace.
Injury issues hinder Anderson as del Potro takes home the title
As compared to the first set, the second was more straightforward with none of the 10 games heading to deuce or beyond. Serving to the backhand side of Anderson was certainly effective for del Potro, who was in a comfortable position to triumph once more. A worrying fall in the third game saw the world number eight and US Open finalist having to take a medical time-out during the game.
It did not affect del Potro, though, who continued to utilize his screaming forehands to take the break. That turned out to be the only break in the second set. Furthermore, the Argentinian claimed the title without facing a break point in the final, an extraordinary feat considering his opponent was the world number eight. A comfortable hold to love ultimately clinched the deal for del Potro, grabbing his first title in the year and thus exchanging places with Anderson on the new rankings.