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Del Potro Wins Sydney Opener; Isner Falls

Sydney, Australia

Reynolds© Getty ImagesBobby Reynolds stunned No. 2 seed John Isner 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in Sydney Wednesday.

Top seed Juan Martin del Potro won his 2012 ATP World Tour season opener on Wednesday, dismissing Lukasz Kubot 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 35 minutes at the Apia Sydney International.

The Argentine saved all four break points he faced, and broke Kubot three times to win the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head 2 Head meeting. "[They were] really tough conditions for both of us," said del Potro. "But I was just focussed on my serve in the first set, and then tried to take a little opportunity, because it was really difficult to play long rallies, to feel the ball like I wanted."

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Del Potro is aiming to win his 10th title, having lifted two trophies in 2011 at Delray Beach (d. Tipsarevic) and Estoril (d. Verdasco) in a comeback season that saw him rise from as low as No. 485, to a season-ending South African Airways ATP Ranking of No. 11.

In the quarter-finals, del Potro will square off against Marcos Baghdatis. The Cypriot edged wild card Matthew Ebden 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(3).

Baghdatis, the 2010 champion, won 82 per cent of his first serve points, and took advantage of an early mini-break lead in the final set tie-break to win the hard-fought encounter in two hours and 13 minutes.

Qualifier Bobby Reynolds denied second seed John Isner a victorious main draw debut, upsetting the second seed 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Playing in windy conditions on Court 1, Reynolds capitalised at 3-6, 5-4, 40/40. Following an Isner double fault, Reynolds converted his first set point to even the match at one-set all. Though he went down an immediate break to start the third set, Reynolds handled the wind better than his countryman, winning 69 per cent of his second serve return points in the final set to claim victory in one hour and 52 minutes.

With the win, Reynolds advances to his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since reaching the final eight at Indianapolis in 2008. It also marked his first win over a Top 20 opponent in nearly seven years, when he defeated 18th-ranked Andrei Pavel in the second round of the 2005 Australian Open. He’ll face qualifier Jarkko Nieminen, who ousted eighth seed Radek Stepanek 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-1.

After losing the second set, Nieminen converted all three of his break point opportunities in the third set to snap a four-match losing streak to the Czech. The Finn also avenged a second-round loss to Stepanek at last week’s Brisbane International.

Isner was not the only seeded player upset on Wednesday. France’s Julien Benneteau ousted No. 4 Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-3, 6-4 to set a clash with Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. , who knocked out fifth seed Viktor Troicki 7-6(5), 6-4.

No. 3 seed Richard Gasquet won his season opener with ease, beating Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-1 in 56 minutes. The Frenchman, who reached the Sydney final in 2010 (l. to Baghdatis), won 86 per cent of his first serve points to defeat Fognini for the second time.

Gasquet will meet Denis Istomin in the quarter-finals, after the qualifier cruised in similar fashion against Ryan Sweeting, taking their second-round meeting 6-2, 6-1. Istomin broke the American four times to advance in 54 minutes.

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