Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina eased past Michael Llodra of France today to win the Open 13 in Marseille, France, an ATP 250 event. This is Del Potro's first title of the 2012 season and the tenth title of his career. Del Potro has played in 15 finals in his career, winning two-thirds of them. The tournament in France is the second straight final for Del Potro. He lost last week in the final in Rotterdam to Roger Federer.
The question is whether Del Potro can emerge as a true contender for Grand Slam titles. He struggled in 2010 due to a wrist injury but roared back last season to take ATP Comeback Player of the Year honors. Last year Del Potro took two titles and played in another final. He also helped lead Argentina to the Davis Cup final, where his team lost to Rafael Nadal and Spain.
Del Potro is no stranger to the upper reaches of the ATP rankings. He reached a career-high of #4 in January of 2010, and currently sits at #10. He has something that contenders outside the Big Three do not, however. Del Potro already has a Grand Slam title to his name, having beaten Roger Federer in the final of the 2009 U.S. Open.
Del Potro, known for a huge forehand, seems set for a big 2012. Whether that will include another Grand Slam title is a tall order, though, considering the level of play being demonstrated by Novak Djokovic these days. Del Potro has shown the ability to win tough matches, however. To win in Marseille he had to beat crowd favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a tough three-set semi-final. Frenchman Llorda also had the fans in his corner in the final.
Keep an eye on Juan Martin Del Potro. He is putting together a very good 2012, with one title and another final in February alone.Brad Boeker has been a fan of professional tennis for over 30 years. He coaches high school tennis in Illinois.
- Juan Martin Del Potro
- Roger Federer