Del Potro Continues Recent Mastery Against Ferrer

Delpo looking to return to Indian Wells final for first time since 2013

In the beginning of their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, David Ferrer dominated Juan Martin del Potro. The Spaniard won six of their first eight matches. Yet in this “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” world, Del Potro can claim all the bragging rights.

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The Argentine made it five in a row against Spanish veteran on Tuesday in Indian Wells, beating Ferrer 6-4, 7-6(3) to advance to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open. It's Del Potro's first trip to the Round of 16 since 2013, when he made his first and only Indian Wells final (l. to Nadal).

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His seventh victory against Ferrer was all about persistence. Ferrer saved the first 10 break points he faced until Del Potro broke through in the seventh game. The Argentine wouldn't break again – Ferrer saved 15/16 break points – but Del Potro didn't need to as his forehand and always-improving backhand carried him to the straight-sets win.

I couldn't break at the beginning of the match. I lost many opportunities to start even better the match, and I got frustration after all those points. I was waiting on more chances, and the chances came in the end of the set, and finally I took one,” Del Potro said. “Then I played solid every service game, and I think I played much better than him in the tie-break.”

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Del Potro will next meet countryman Leonardo Mayer, who didn't face a break point in beating Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-1 in only 75 minutes. The 25-year-old Daniel had stunned World No. 13 Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

“I just want to keep winning. It's good to feel with this confidence when I get to the court and I play well, but I'm going step-by-step. I will play another Argentinian guy... which is a special match for both. It's not easy when you play against a friend,” Del Potro said. 

Mayer made the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open for the first time. He had lost in the third round two times in the past (2013, 2016). Del Potro leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 1-0, but their only contest came six years ago at the 2012 US Open.

“We practise a lot together. We train at the same club in Buenos Aires. We grow up together. We win the Davis Cup together. And we have dinners together and we spend a lot of time together,” Del Potro said. “It will be a special match for both. And I know if he has a good day, he's a very dangerous guy, and he plays solid from the baseline. He plays very flat, and his serves are good enough to beat me or to beat anyone on tour.”