The men’s final at the Apia International has officially been set; Top seed Juan Martin del Potro will meet defending champion and local star Bernard Tomic in what will likely be an intriguing match-up between two towering players. For Del Potro, this is an opportunity to secure a season-opening title ahead of the Australian Open, while Tomic will be looking to gain some much-needed confidence ahead of his opening round match in Melbourne against World no. 1 Rafael Nadal. Del Potro leads the head-to-head series 1-0.
It was a fantastic showing from the top seed, as Juan Martin del Potro put on arguably his best performance in Sydney last night with a dominant straight sets victory over Dmitry Tursunov to reach his 25th career final and his first in Sydney. Del Potro was in phenomenal form on court, as he dominated the rallies against the Russian and hit 23 winners, 9 aces and won 92% of his first serves. He needed three breaks to earn the 6-4, 6-2 victory and a spot in the Sydney final, where he is now the first Argentine to reach that stage of the tournament since David Nalbandian in 2009.
“I think I played my best match of the week,” said del Potro. “I played great with my forehands and serves. I didn’t make easy errors and I played solid on the baseline. I think I did everything okay, and I’m glad with my level of play today. I’m looking forward for the final of tomorrow.”
With his high expectations for the upcoming season, there could hardly have been a better start for Del Potro than his week here in Sydney. The “Tower of Tandil” intends on improving his ranking and finally breaking into the “Big Four” on the tour.
The path to the final was not an easy one for Bernard Tomic, as his semi-final contest against Sergiy Stakhovsky was a drawn out battle that lasted three sets, before the Aussie secured the victory with a break late in the match. The world no. 52 has now reached his second consecutive final in Sydney and will be looking to defend the title he won at this arena last year, when he defeated Kevin Anderson to earn his maiden ATP World Tour title.
“The way I played here, I’m very happy,” said Tomic. “Tomorrow is going to be a difficult match. I’ve got to prepare as best as I can. Last time I played he beat me pretty comfortably, 6-3, 6-3. I felt like I had chances in that match. I have to go for my shots and play the way I played in my first round and the quarters to win.”
This is the second meeting between the two athletes, with Del Potro holding a dominant 6-3, 6-3 last year in Washington, en route to lifting the trophy. Tomic appears comfortable and confident on the Sydney courts but if the Argentine plays in the same form he did against Tursunov last night, then the young Aussie will be in for a difficult final.
Prediction: Juan Martin del Potro in Straight Sets