In 2016, Juan Martin del Potro found himself in what was unfortunately becoming a familiar situation: back on the comeback trail.
Wrist injuries had robbed the 2009 US Open champion of much of the prior two seasons, but upon returning to the tour this year, he steadily made his way back up the rankings, with a silver medal at the Summer Olympics his biggest feat.
In his first tournament of the fall European indoor season in Stockholm, Del Potro reached his second final of the year, beating three seeds along the way. On the other side of the draw, 2015 Stockholm finalist Jack Sock made a return trip to the championship match. The No. 6 seed went the distance in three of his four matches, with his semifinal against the No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev lasting three hours.
In their only prior encounter, Sock defeated Del Potro at the clay-court Masters event in Madrid a few months prior in straight sets. The second set of that match went to a tiebreak, and it appeared the first set of the Stockholm final was approaching a similar scoreline. Two of the biggest hitters on the ATP World Tour went toe-to-toe through the first 10 games, but in the 11th, Sock racked up the errors to give Del Potro the break. The Argentine held serve easily to close out the opener, 7-5.
In the first game of the second set, Sock was immediately broken again and what was once looking like a close match was quickly no longer the case. Del Potro continued to blast away at the ball, and broke the American again in the fifth game and the seventh, which gave him the title—his first in nearly three years.
On his way to the title, Del Potro defeated three former members of the top 10: John Isner, Nicolas Almagro and Grigor Dimitrov.
Sock’s appearance in the final marked the fifth time in tournament history an American reached the championship match in consecutive years. However, Sock is the only one that didn’t win the title at least once.
Del Potro won the 15th hard-court title of his career, and fifth under a roof.
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