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Del Potro: I'm getting closer to top 4

Juan Martin del Potro (c)RichardWashbrooke

I beat Roger yesterday; I was close to beat[ing] Nole today. But in the end, they are too good for me

His sterling showing at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals may have ended in a semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic, but Juan Martin del Potro believes he’s “getting closer” to the top four every day

The 24-year-old Tandil native defeated Roger Federer for the second time in two weeks in his final round robin match and found himself a set and a break up on Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals. Though he was unable to finish the Serb off, losing 4-6 6-3 6-2 in a two-hour 11 minute battle with the world No.1, del Potro is confident that he can further close the gap on the top four in 2013.

“These kind of matches give me illusions for next season,” said the Argentine. “I beat Roger yesterday; I was close to beat[ing] Nole today. But in the end, they are too good for me.

“I’m getting closer every day. My big challenge for next year, my big goal, [is] trying to fight all [of the] Grand Slams with this group, Novak, Federer, Rafa and now Murray. I would like to be part of [those] names in the Grand Slams.”

The Argentine, who reached the final on his last appearance at the O2 in 2009, had looked to be heading for another showdown with Federer on Monday night, but was unable to maintain his advantage as Djokovic forced his way back.

“I had the chance to win today when I was [a] break up in the second [set], but I [didn’t] serve like yesterday, and I [didn’t] serve like my first set today. But that was because Nole was returning really well,” conceded del Potro. “He [made] the difference. He’s so good. Of course, he’s the No.1. He deserves to win today.”

Djokovic, who has won two of his last three tournaments, faces six-time champion Roger Federer in the season finale on Monday evening, aiming to add a second year-end crown to the title he picked up in Shanghai in 2008.

“I really look forward to it,” said the Serb. “[My year] is already a great success, but knowing it’s the last match of the season, I’m really going to try to give my best physically and mentally tomorrow to eventually try to get the trophy.”

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