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Tennis: Del Potro beats Isner to win Washington title

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Argentine top seed Juan Martin Del Potro rallied to defeat US eighth seed John Isner 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Sunday to win the ATP and WTA Washington Open.

Del Potro captured his third Washington title after crowns in 2008 and 2009 and stretched his win streak in the US capital to 14 matches to take the top prize of $295,200 at the $1.76 million hardcourt event, a tuneup for the US Open.

"I'm so glad to win again here," Del Potro said. "It felt unbelievable."

Seventh-ranked Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, won his 15th career ATP title and his second of the season after Rotterdam in February. It was Del Potro's first final since losing to Rafael Nadal in the Indian Wells final last March.

Del Potro, in his first event since an epic five-set loss to Novak Djokovic in the longest semi-final in Wimbledon history, improved to 4-0 all-time against Isner, but dropped a set to the ATP season aces leader for the first time.

"The wind helped me find things with his serves," Del Potro said. "At sonme moments you have to be lucky against his serves."

Isner broke at love for a 3-1 lead in the first set, Del Potro firing a forehand into the net cord on the deciding point, and dominated until hitting Del Potro with an ace to reach triple set point in the ninth game.

Del Potro answered with a forehand winner, Isner hit a backhand long and Del Potro made a great service return that forced an errant forehand from Isner to reach deuce.

Isner used a drop volley and service winner to claim the set after only 28 minutes but there was new energy from Del Potro, who admitted he was weary after getting to sleep only at 3 a.m. after a rain-delayed semi-final finish.

"I was frustrated in the beginning of the match," Del Potro said. "John served so well and I felt not 100 percent.

"I found a really quick break in the second set and that helped keep me fighting and in the third set I played my best tennis of the tournament."

Del Potro broke Isner at love in the fourth game of the second set, the most impressive point coming when the South American took an overhead smash from Isner and fired back a lightning-like forehand winner in reply.

Del Potro did the same thing on the penultimate point of Isner's next service game on the way to another break and held to force a third set.

"I hit some unbelievable forehands," Del Potro said. "I played really well from the baseline and won a very tough tournament."

Isner double faulted to hand del Potro a break chance in the opening game of the final set and netted a forehand to surrender a break in the seventh game.

Del Potro was forced to save three break points in the final game, but rescued two on service winners and Isner was beyond the baseline with a forehand on the third. After Isner netted a forehand volley, Del Potro fired a backhand cross-court winner to end it after 89 minutes.

Isner, ranked 20th, missed out on his third title of the season after winning last week in Atlanta and in April at Houston. He would have been the first American to win ATP titles in back-to-back weeks since since Andy Roddick at Montreal and Cincinnati in 2003.

Defending women's champion Magdalena Rybarikova, the seventh seed from Slovakia, was to face Germany's Andrea Petkovic later in the women's final.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130804/tennis-del-potro-beats-isner-win-washington-title