Del Potro Sets Federer Clash
Former World No. 4 to meet Federer for 21st time
Juan Martin del Potro has locked in a second-round showdown with Swiss No. 3 seed Roger Federer at the Miami Open. The 27-year-old Argentine, playing just his third event since returning to the ATP World Tour from left wrist surgeries, downed his countryman, Guido Pella, 6-0, 7-6(4) on Wednesday night.
Federer leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with del Potro 15-5 (10-5 on hard court) but the Argentine’s lone Grand Slam singles title – the 2009 US Open – came with a defeat of the Swiss great in the final. In his eighth appearance in Miami, del Potro extended his win-loss record to 14-7, with his best result coming in 2009, when he reached the semi-finals (l. Murray).
He raced through the opening set without conceding a game in under half an hour before Pella, No. 39 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, would get on the board for 1-1 in the second set. Del Potro had a match point with Pella serving to stay in the match at 4-5 but would have to wait until the tie-break to seal the deal. He progressed on his second match point, 7/4, after one hour and 29 minutes.
It marked a triumphant return for the Argentine. He bowed out in the opening round last year to Vasek Pospisil in what would be his final match of the season.
In his comeback event at the Delray Beach Open last month, he reached the semi-finals before falling to eventual champion Sam Querrey. He fell in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open last week to Tomas Berdych.
#NextGen qualifier Taylor Fritz continued his run of recent form, seeing off Italian Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-2. The 18-year-old American thumped down seven aces and did not face a break point in the one-hour, 11-minute affair.
Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas saved a match point with an inside-out forehand winner on his way past Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(3). The pair battled for two hours and 42 minutes before Ramos-Vinolas prevailed. He broke five times and held 75 per cent of first-serve points throughout.
Vasek Pospisil also ground out a third-set tie-break victory. The Canadian held off Argentine Diego Schwartzman 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) on the back of nine aces.