LOS ANGELES Andy Roddick ran into an Argentine buzz saw.
Lanky teenager Juan Martin del Potro won his third title in less than a month when he rolled to a 6-1, 7-6(2) victory over Roddick in the Countrywide Classic final on Sunday.
The 6-foot-6, 172-pound del Potro extended his match victory string to 14 in a row with powerful, pinpoint groundstrokes against Roddick.
"I think it's my biggest victory," del Potro said, understating the obvious.
Roddick, a former No. 1 who is ranked ninth and was the tournament's top seed, looked overwhelmed as his service was broken three times in the first set after not losing any of his 24 previous service games in the tournament. After hitting one bad shot, he angrily threw his racket to the court.
He recovered in the second set and didn't give up a break, but del Potro held serve the entire match and put it away by winning the final five points of the tiebreaker.
"The first set, he played lights out," Roddick. "He's playing well. No doubt he's got a lot of talent. His forehand is huge. It will be interesting to see how he does.
"He certainly has the weapons; it depends on how he builds on it."
Roddick said del Potro is a potential top 15 player, maybe even top five if he keeps developing.
The title was his first in on hardcourt, Roddick's best surface.
Del Potro said: "If I want to be in the top 10, I have to beat them (highly ranked players) on every surface, and I'm beginning to do that."
After Roddick's final shot sailed out, del Potro grinned, raised his arms then flopped on his back onto the court. A group of young fans in the stands waved an Argentine flag and cheered.
He captured his first career ATP title by upsetting Richard Gasquet in Munich on July 13, then beat Jurgen Melzer to win the following week in Kitzbuehel, Austria. Both those tournaments were on clay.
Del Potro came into the Los Angeles tournament with a 1-13 record against top 10 players, with the lone win coming against No. 9 Tommy Robredo last October. The Argentine became the first teenager to win the Los Angeles tournament since Pete Sampras did it as a 19-year-old in 1991.
Although Roddick lost the final, he said he's healthy again after having some nagging injuries.
"I hadn't been playing much and kind of made the final here out of nowhere," he said. "I was able to play this many days in a row and not have any (health) issues. That's positive."