to a 5-0 lead in the first set by dictating play with precise groundstrokes and keeping a sluggish del Potro on the defensive. But the momentum shifted in the second set when del Potro began connecting on his serve and cracking the same forehand winners he used to sweep Nadal off the court in straight sets in the previous round.
He broke Djokovic to take an early lead, then played a magnificent game to save three break points to hold for 5-2 before closing out the set. The Argentine appeared to tire slightly as the third set wore on.
During one changeover, the chair umpire, Damien Dumusois, warned him that he needed to speed up play between points. “Even after a long rally?” Del Potro asked, looking up wearily. Dumusois nodded yes.
Djokovic had two match points on del Potro’s serve at 4-5 in the set, but the Argentine saved them both. The Serb then pulled away in the tiebreaker by hitting a forehand winner to finish off a 24-shot rally to take a 4-2 lead, leaving del Potro unable to manage another comeback.
Stosur wins in Japan
Osaka: Samantha Stosur of Australia rallied from a set down to beat Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 on Sunday and win her second Japan Open title. Third-seeded Stosur, who won this tournament in 2009, could only convert seven of her 15 break-point opportunities but eventually won in two hours and 13 minutes at Utsubo Tennis Center. It was the 17th tour final for the 29-year-old Stosur but the first of Bouchard’s career.