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Lacko Surprises Querrey, Faces Del Potro Next

San Jose, U.S.A.

Lukas Lacko© Ron AngleLukas Lacko notched his first Top 20 win on Tuesday in San Jose.

Lukas Lacko extended Sam Querrey’s early season woes, surprising the third-seeded American 7-6(6), 6-3 Tuesday at the SAP Open to set up a second-round meeting with former World No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentine cruised past Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3, 6-2.

Querrey, the highest-ranked American in the San Jose draw, fired 12 aces but lost serve twice against World No. 113 Lacko. The Slovakian said of his winning strategy: “I didn’t try to play fast. I tried to play more accurate, to make him run, and I knew he was going to miss when he was moving a lot.”

The 23-year-old Querrey won a career-high four titles on three different surfaces last year, placing him third behind Rafael Nadal (seven) and Roger Federer (five), but has lost all three matches he’s contested in 2011. Since a fourth-round finish at the US Open, Querrey has compiled a 1-8 record. 

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The victory over the 17th-ranked Querrey marked Lacko’s first over a Top 20 opponent. His previous best win came against World No. 24 Ivan Ljubicic in 2010 at Zagreb.

“It’s a good feeling because it proves to me I’m able to beat guys like this,” said Lacko. “I played a couple matches this year, last year, against guys like Sam – Top 20, Top 10 players. I played good matches, I got chances, but I never finished the match. I lost too many close matches. It’s good satisfaction to beat a guy like this.”

In the final match Tuesday night, del Potro made a strong start and finish, jumping out to a 3-0 lead and closing the match by winning the final four games.

The 22-year-old Del Potro played just three tournaments in 2010 due to a right wrist injury, and relaunched his comeback this season, reaching the second round at Sydney and the Australian Open.

Del Potro made his breakthrough in 2008, finishing as the youngest player in the year-end Top 10 after winning four titles in consecutive tournament appearances. In 2009, he claimed his first Grand Slam title at the US Open (d. Federer).

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SAP Open, San Jose, Lukas Lacko

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