Juan Del Potro ends title drought at Delray Beach

Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro won his first title since 2009 by defeating Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-4 late on Sunday night to clinch the Delray Beach International Championships in Florida.

Argentine Del Potro, who played just three tournaments in 2010 because of an injury to his right wrist, needed just under two hours to claim his eighth career title.

"It's amazing for me, this comeback," Del Potro said in a courtside interview. "I'm trying to improve my game day-by-day and today Janko played better than me but I had a little luck in the important moments.

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"Three months ago I was thinking I'll be trying to play tournaments. Now I won a tournament. It's great to win a tournament after a year."

Del Potro, once ranked fourth in the world but starting the event at No 166 because of his injury, appeared out of gas in the opening set but got stronger as the match progressed.

"I was playing at night, every match," said Del Potro, who has subsequently risen to No 89 in the new world rankings that were released yesterday lunchtime. "And today was a little bit hot for me. I just tried to focus on my serve, especially on my break points."

Del Potro broke the 26-year-old Tipsarevic three times in five break-point chances, denying the Serb a chance at his first career title. When Tipsarevic, seeded sixth, punched a forehand wide to end the match, Del Potro raised his arms and looked skyward before dropping his racket and kissing his once-injured wrist.

Del Potro, 22, fought off ten of 11 break points by Tipsarevic to claim his first tournament since defeating Roger Federer to win the 2009 US Open.

Having only just cracked the world's top 100, though, Del Potro knows there is still a long way to go before he contends with top players again. He plans to stay in South Florida and skip the Davis Cup for Argentina this coming weekend, then play at Indian Wells or Miami later in March.

"I don't know if I'm ready to fight with top-ten players, but I'm working very hard and hope to do it soon," said Del Potro, who has eight career wins and reached the semi-finals at San Jose and Memphis in advance of playing Delray Beach. "I need 20 to 25 matches before I'll really be ready to play with them, but it's coming soon."

Tipsarevic had been trying to win his first title in three career finals. "The key was the break points and my first serve percentage was horrible," he said afterwards. "All the factors were going my way to win.But I really didn't use my chances.

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"One of 11 break points - it's completely unacceptable against a guy like this in a final."

Tipsarevic was heading off to join his Serbian Davis Cup teammates in Novi Sad, Serbia, where they'll begin the defence of their 2010 Davis Cup title against India.

Meanwhile, Neil Stubley has been appointed the next head groundsman at Wimbledon. The All England Club says the 41-year-old will continue as an understudy to the retiring Eddie Seaward until he assumes the position following the 2012 London Olympics.