Delpo's QF Charge Put On Hold
Juan Martin del Potro will return to the court on Tuesday just a set away from earning a spot in his second Wimbledon quarter-final. The Argentine’s fourth-round match against French veteran Gilles Simon was suspended due to darkness Monday evening with the fifth seed leading 7-6(1), 7-6(5), 5-7. The winner will face World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the last eight.
Del Potro is attempting to become the third Argentine (also Guillermo Vilas and David Nalbandian) to earn a spot in the quarter-finals of each Grand Slam multiple times. This year’s BNP Paribas Open champion recently matched his career-high ATP Ranking of No. 4. And if he is able to navigate to the semi-finals at the All England Club, will climb to a career-best No. 3.
It appeared that the 29-year-old would be able to move into the quarter-finals with a straight-sets victory, after he recovered from a 1-4 deficit to 4-4 in the third set using his powerful forehand. But despite a third consecutive tie-break looking inevitable, Simon earned a set point on his opponent’s serve. Del Potro let an innocent-looking return deep down the middle go without making an attempt at it, and the Tata Open Maharashtra champion’s shot landed right on the chalk, sending the match to a fourth set.
Simon is pursuing his second quarter-final at SW19, which would make him the seventh Frenchman to advance to multiple Wimbledon quarter-finals in the Open Era.
Del Potro leads the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head series 4-3, and has triumphed in all three of their grass-court meetings. In their first match since the 2016 MercedesCup, both players have struggled to convert their break-point chances, with the Argentine breaking twice from 15 opportunities and Simon going three of 10.
The Frenchman has done a good job frustrating Del Potro at times with his flat counter-punching, eliciting 47 unforced errors. But he will have to do a better job protecting his second serve against the powerful groundstrokes of the Argentine, who has captured 61 per cent of those points. If the match should go to a fifth set, Del Potro is 7-9 in five-setters, while Simon is 19-12.