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FEDERER

Federer arrives in Stockholm for ATP event

Roger Federer arrived in Stockholm on Monday afternoon determined to add the Stockholm Open title to his long list of tennis achievements.

Federer arrives in Stockholm for ATP event

The 16-time grand slam winner announced on his Facebook page in early

evening that he was finally on the ground in the Swedish capital after leaving China earlier in the day.

He will begin his Stockholm Open campaign Thursday evening in the second round after playing here in 2000 and losing in the second round to Sweden’s Andreas Vinciguerra.

The world number two will take to the court against the winner from American Taylor Dent and Michael Przysiezny from Poland, with the Swiss keen to bounce back after his finals loss to Andy Murray in Shanghai.

In 2008, Federer withdrew from much of the autumn season to rest after beating glandular fever earlier in the year. One of his scheduling victims was the modest Stockholm event, now run by former playing colleagues Thomas Johansson and Jonas Björkman.

There is now no stopping the Swiss from fulfilling what he believes is an important obligation to the event.

“I felt like I owed Stockholm to come back there,” he said in Shanghai after losing his title bid in straight sets Sunday to Murray.”

“I’m good friends with Björkman and Johansson.”

“It was disappointing pulling out there a couple of years ago. That was the decision behind that.”

Stockholm is the beginning of the end of Federer’s season which still includes his home event in Basel from November 1st, the Paris Masters and the eight-man season final in London next month.

“I hope also by playing Stockholm is going to help me to play well in Basel, Paris and then London. There are still a lot of points to pick up and many important events for me,” said the owner of a mere two titles (Australian Open, Cincinnati Masters) this year.

Federer admits that part of the reason for his stepped-up autumn programme is his lack of success at the two summer grand slams.

“The French and Wimbledon (quarter-final defeats at both) were nothing asbrutal as last year. That’s why also for me it was a big priority at the beginning of the year to play Shanghai. I was considering either playing the week before Shanghai or the week after.”

With Federer on the top seeding, Swedish rival Robin Söderling – who lost 6-1, 6-1 to the Swiss in a Shanghai semi-final blowout – stands second ahead of Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych and Croatian Ivan Ljubicic.

Stan Wawrinka was getting the week started for Switzerland with a first-round match against Andreas Seppi, Federer’s third-round victim in Shanghai.

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TENNIS

Del Potro defends Stockholm Open title for 20th career crown

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro won the Stockholm Open for the second year in a row on Sunday.

Del Potro defends Stockholm Open title for 20th career crown
Juan Martin del Potro. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Del Potro beat Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday to retain his Stockholm ATP title.

He thereby climbs to 14th in the race to the end-of-season ATP World Tour Finals in London while Dimitrov, who was top seed in Sweden, sits in fifth place.

The 29-year-old Argentine served nine aces and remained unbroken in a display of power to cruise past the Bulgarian in 1hr 25mins.

“I played the best match of the week against Grigor today,” Del Potro said.

“It’s amazing to come back and hold this big trophy. And hopefully I can come next year as well.”

After an injury-hit late season Del Potro made the Shanghai semi-finals last week before clinching his first title of the season on the indoor hard courts and the 20th of his career.

The Stockholm Open was first held in 1969 and has been played every year since.