Andy Roddick’s return to competition made it look like he would sail through the Legg Mason Classic. But Juan Martin Del Potro stepped up with a three-set final victory, as the Argentine inched out Roddick in the third-set tiebreak 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(6).
Del Potro was the defending champ but still seems like an underdog to the revived American who pushed Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final and took a month off to recharge his engine.
The mid-90s heat was a factor as the two big hitters slugged it out. Del Potro’s last point winner had to be settled by video review.
“Today was brutal,” said Roddick. “It was hot. I think he might have been feeling it more than I did. He didn’t want to get in the long points and was going for broke there at the end. He was rolling the dice. I forced him to play high-risk tennis with the conditions. He was taking big cuts, especially for the last 30 minutes, and connecting.”
In Los Angeles, Sam Stosur lost her first four Sony Ericsson WTA Tour finals and Sunday was no different as she lost again, this time to Flavia Pennetta in straight sets in the LA Women’s Tennis Championships.
Pennetta kept up a steady, forcing attack and watched as the more sporadic Stosur lost her range and composure. Both players were surprise finalists in a strong field, outlasting everyone from Dinara Safina to Vera Zvonareva to Victoria Azarenka.
Stosur made 32 unforced errors and never seemed to have an answer to Pennetta’s steady ground strokes in the 6-4, 6-3 victory.
“I think my serve was very good today. Almost all week it helped me a lot in the important points,” said Pennetta, who lost her serve just once in the final. “When I was aggressive I won the points today. That was a big step for me to improve my game. I’ve played a few finals before… I was ready to play the final today.”
The Italian won her eighth title and biggest of her career.