ROTTERDAM, Netherlands - Juan Martin del Potro underlined his indoor credentials as he overcame a bleeding nose to beat Frenchman Julien Benneteau 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 in the ATP Rotterdam Open final yesterday.
Del Potro, the 2009 US Open winner, claimed his fourth trophy indoors but had to play the last game with a nostril packed with cotton wool after suffering another of his ocasional nosebleeds.
In the previous game, Benneteau had saved four match points as he held on in a deaperate attempt to pick up his first title in eight ATP finals. Del Potro, the Argentina second seed, could barely contain his joy after winning in Rotterdam a year after losing the final to Roger Federer.
But this time the Swiss star had fallen in the quarter-finals to an inspired performance from Benneteau, leaving the way clear for del Potro.
"It feels amazing, it was a big goal for me to win this title after losing the final last year," said Del Potro.
"I'm so happy to be the champion.
"I'm feeling very confident with my serve, hopefully for the rest of the season. Today I did lose serve for the first time this week, but finals are tough to play.
"I played perhaps my worst tennis of the week at the start of the match, I came out very nervous, but I fought back. Later on I started feeling very confident and in control all the time. "I will try to keep on winning, I'm looking forward to my next event. It's a big challenge for me this season to try and move closer to the number one position."