- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 9, 2009

With temperatures on the court topping 110 degrees and a swirling wind wreaking havoc, Andy Roddick and Juan Martin del Potro battled for more than two and a half hours Sunday in the finals of Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

And it was del Potro who was the last man standing, arms raised, emerging as a 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) victor over the tournaments top seed to secure his second straight title in Washington.

On paper, it was a battle of mighty servers, but both players struggled with consistency as the two repeatedly alternated breaks of serve in the final two sets. Del Potro, however, served superbly in the third-set tiebreak, cranking out three aces and a service winner that proved to be the difference. Though Roddick saved a match point down 5-6 in the tiebreak, del Potro won the match when he fired a forehand winner past Roddick that barely ticked the sideline.

Roddick appeared sharp early, winning all but seven points on his serve and earning the first key break to go up 4-2 in the first set. In securing the break, he successfully challenged a call on a del Potro serve that originally had been ruled in. Del Potro then double-faulted away the game and Roddick followed to hold serve at love to take a 5-2 lead. Two games later, Roddick held serve again to secure the set, winning the final point on an ace.

In the second set, both players held serve until del Potro broke serve at love to go up 5-3 after Roddick netted two volleys and pushed a backhand long. But Roddick immediately broke back, earning a break point on an overhead smash and securing the game when del Potro double faulted.

Three games later, however, del Potro broke Roddick a second time to secure the set 7-5, after Roddick committed to unforced errors on his backhand.

Early in third set, it was del Potro who got rattled, giving Roddick break point after missing a wind-addled overhead. Del Potro then double-faulted away the game to give Roddick a 2-1 lead. But del Potro then broke to tie the set at 3-3.

Both players held their serves to force a tiebreak, where del Potro took a 6-5 lead and had match point on his serve. Roddick tied the breaker a six a piece when del Potro pushed a forehand long. But del Potro secured the next two points, finishing off the match with a forehand winner that appeared to land right on the line. Roddick challenged and the call was upheld, though Hawkeye replay showed the ball barely touched the line.

Earlier in the day, Martin Damm and Robert Lindstedt beat fifth-seeded Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 7-5, 7-6(3). It was the second straight doubles title in Washington for Lindstedt, who won last year with Martin Gicquel. It was the third doubles title of the year for Damm and Lindstedt, as well as the 40th career title for the 37-year-old Damm.

The tournament drew 76,881 spectators during the week. Though complete historical attendance figures unknown, tournament officials said they believe it was a record crowd or close to it.

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