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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, October 22, 2017

Stockholm has become a second home for Juan Martin del Potro.

Dictating play with his first serve and fierce forehand, del Potro deconstructed Grigor Dimitrov, 6-4, 6-2, sweeping his second straight Stockholm Open title.

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“I play the best match of the week against Grigor today,” said del Potro, who won his first title since he beat Jack Sock in the 2016 Stockholm final. “I felt lucky for that. Sorry Grigor you did a great tournament you already beat me twice (this year).

“It’s amazing to come back and hold this big trophy and hopefully I can come next year as well. I love to be here a lot. I like the Swedish people and you treat me very good.”

It is del Potro’s 20th career championship. He joins compatriots Guillermo Vilas (62) and Jose-Luis Clerc (25) as the third Argentine man in the Open Era to capture 20 or more career titles.

In a final of the reigning and former Stockholm champions, del Potro served with authority and pounded crosscourt forehands repeatedly.

The 29-year-old Argentine served 70 pecent, won 10 of 16 second-serve points, blasted nine aces and denied all four break points he faced.

The top-seeded Dimitrov’s bid for his fourth title of the season was denied as he dropped his first final of 2017.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring a lot more today, but Juan Martin totally deserved it and he’s the winner today,” Dimitrov said.

The 2013 champion struggled with nerves in the early stages. Dimitrov’s first serve eluded him at times. He saved two break points in the opening game, but played a sloppy fifth game to gift the break.

Whacking a forehand sitter wide, Dimitrov netted a forehand to face two break points. When he floated a slice backhand long, del Potro had the lone break of the opening set.

The fourth seed scaled a forehand crosscourt saving a break point to back up the break for 4-2.

Deploying his net skills to greater effect, Dimitrov used a side-spinning drop volley and another dipping volley to hold for 4-5.

Slashing an ace, del Potro snatched a one-set lead after 43 minutes.

Holding his ground, del Potro knocked a two-handed backhand pass down the line for break point in the third game.

When Dimitrov slapped a running forehand down the line into net, the 2009 US Open champion had his second break of the day and a 2-1 second-set lead.

Match management skills are a del Potro strength. He played the score and situation with more care than his opponent at critical stages. Del Potro denied three break points extending the lead to 3-1.

The sixth game was a showcase for del Potro’s power and precision. He singed the sideline with a forehand, fired his ninth ace and held at 15 with a forcing forehand for 4-2.

The top-seeded Bulgarian unraveled in the seventh game finding the net with a slice backhand and scattering a backhand as del Potro added the insurance break for 5-2.

Del Potro closed his 20th career title in one hour, 23 minutes.


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