Florida: Juan Martin del Potro’s return from injury continued to gather pace as the Argentinean booked his place in the final of the $442,500 ATP Delray Beach Championships.
Del Potro on Saturday defeated second-seeded American Mardy Fish 6-1, 7-5 to reach his first final since he won the 2009 US Open title.
He played just three tournaments in a 2010 season that was derailed by a right wrist injury.
In the weeks leading up to the Delray Beach tournament, he reached the semi-finals at San Jose and in Memphis
“It’s amazing for me, this comeback, and I’m trying to get better day by day,” he said. “I’m trying to play similar to 2009 but it is very tough. Tomorrow I’ll be in my first final in more than a year and that’s great for me.”
Del Potro will face sixth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, who is seeking his first career title.
Tipsarevic, ranked 52nd in the world, beat Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-4 to reach his third career final.
Del Potro played a flawless first set, but Fish took a 4-1 lead in the second.
Del Potro managed to break back and level the second at 4-4, and after Fish held serve for a 5-4 lead del Potro won the final three games.
“He improved his game in the second set and he’s very dangerous,” Del Potro said. “I just became very focused on trying to break his serve.
“In the important moments I played better and that was the key for the match.”
Tipsarevic, a member of Serbia’s triumphant 2010 Davis Cup team, will be hoping to break through for a first title after settling for runner-up finishes in his only two prior trips to a final - at Moscow in 2009 and ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2010.
He has dropped just one set in four matches here.
“I’m really happy with the week and my match on Sunday,” he said. “There’s still one more match to go. I hope I can maintain the level that I played on Sunday, and all throughout the week.
Against Nishikori, the 2008 Delray Beach champion, Tipsarevic converted both of his break point opportunities as he added another victory over the Japanese player to the one he claimed in the Chennai quarter-finals last month.
“I think the main difference is the serve,” Tipsarevic said. “I managed to win one or two points a service game with an ace or a winner, while Kei had to grind for every possible point on his service games.”