ROTTERDAM (AFP) –
Juan Martin del Potro dispatched Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday to move into his second straight Rotterdam World Tennis final and will face Frenchman Julien Benneteau for the title.
The second-seeded Argentine is now the top-ranked player left after Friday’s shock elimination of Roger Federer by Benneteau who will be looking for his first career title after losing all seven of his previous finals.
Benneteau won an all-French semi-final in one hour and 50 minutes, beating compatriot Gilles Simon, the fifth seed, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2). Simon was treated midway through the second set for a left leg injury.
Benneteau had nine break chances, converting two, as he played his second semi-final of the season after Sydney last month.
Del Potro, who lost the Rotterdam final to Federer a year ago, lifted a pair of indoor titles last autumn in Vienna and Basel.
“Anything can happen in the finals, I have to play at my best and not give my opponent any chance to break,” said Del Potro.
“I’m a little surprised not to see Federer in the final, but Benneteau plays well on hard courts and Roger can have a bad day like anyone.
“Benneteau deserved to win the match. Playing someone like Roger is always a pleasure but I’m focused on the match in front of me. This is my second final here, so I’ll try to win it for the first time.”
The Argentine fired six aces in his 75-minute win, breaking once per set in his victory in a first meeting with the 21-year-old Dimitrov.
“I’m glad I was able to beat him, he’s a newcomer with a lot of potential,” said Del Potro, bidding for his 14th career title.
“I improved my game since the quarter-finals, but if I want to win the title I have to get that little bit better. I need to play at 100 per cent.”
Benneteau said he was delighted to have reached the final.
“It feels great, 24 hours after a big win (over Federer), to do it again. I found a way to win today against Gilles,” he said.
“It’s tough to play a countryman, we know each other’s game so well. But I felt like I played well, I kept up my level. I got the victory and I’m happy.
“The drama now is to finally win a final, I really hope I can do it.”
Dimitrov had been looking for his second career ATP final after losing in Brisbane last month to Andy Murray.
The Argentine improved to 6-1 this season while Dimitrov dropped to 9-5.
Benneteau and Del Potro have never played each other.Published 17 Feb 2013, 10:38 IST