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Juan Martin del Potro strikes 24 winners past Stefanos Tsitsipas on Wednesday for a place in the Rome third round.

Delpo Overcomes Challenge Of Tsitsipas In Rome

Argentine to meet ninth seed Goffin in third round

Juan Martin del Potro drew upon his big-match experience on Wednesday to overcome the challenge one of the rising #NextGenATP stars, Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Fifth seed Del Potro, a quarter-finalist in 2009 and 2017 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, triumphed 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 42 minutes on Pietrangeli for a third-round test against ninth seed David Goffin of Belgium.

Del Potro and Goffin are tied at 1-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, following two matches in 2016 at the Rolex Shanghai Masters and the Swiss Indoors Basel.

“It’s going to be a really tough one for me,” said Del Potro. “David has a great game, and he could be in the final of this tournament and in every tournament. It will be a big challenge, and I will try to play even better than today. He has a nice style of the game and he's so fast. He likes to play from the baseline and he can mix it up during the game, as well. He's very smart to play. So it will be an interesting match tomorrow.”

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The 19-year-old Tsitsipas got off to a 4-2 advantage, courtesy of a break in the third game, when Del Potro struck an in-out forehand that hit the net and landed wide. However, Tsitsipas gifted the break back with a double fault at 3-4. Del Potro soon seized control and at 6-5, he finally converted his fifth set point chance on Tsitsipas’ serve with a deep crosscourt backhand that the Greek mis-timed.

Del Potro broke Tsitsipas for a 3-1 lead in the second set – in a run of 17 out of 25 points – and finished the match with a forehand winner down the line. The Argentine struck 24 out of 37 winners off his forehand wing.

“I think he (Tsitsipas) has big potential to keep improving his game,” said Del Potro. “He played a really, really good match at the beginning. I think he has everything to win and to be even better in the future. I like his game and he has all the potential to be dangerous for us in the future.”

Tsitsipas, who has already reached the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell final (l. to Nadal) and Millennium Estoril Open semi-finals (l. to Sousa), drops to a 15-13 mark on the year.

Del Potro, who is now 23-5 on the season, returned to the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings for the first time since August 2014 on 15 January 2018.

He has already lifted back-to-back trophies at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (d. Anderson) and the BNP Paribas Open – his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown (d. Federer). His 15-match winning streak ended at the hands of John Isner in the Miami Open presented by Itau semi-finals.

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Doubles Round-up: Isner/Sock Upset Madrid Champs Mektic/Peya In Rome
John Isner and Jack Sock produced a shock win on Wednesday, defeating Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya 7-6(8), 6-4.

The American duo overcame the Mutua Madrid Open champions after 80 minutes, winning 71 per cent of service points en route to victory. Mektic and Peya served for the first set at 5-4 and held set point at 8/7 in the tie-break, before Isner and Sock converted their third set point to move clear.

The Americans broke through early in the second set to lead 2-1, and despite relinquishing that advantage, broke once more before completing the upset victory to reach the second round. Isner and Sock will meet reigning Nitto ATP Finals champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers for a place in the quarter-finals.

Acapulco champions Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares reached their second quarter-final in as many weeks, defeating Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus 6-3, 6-4. Murray and Soares won 75 per cent of first-serve points and played well in decisive moments, saving five of six break points en route to the last eight.

Pablo Carreno Busta and Joao Sousa came from a set down to reach the quarter-finals, overcoming Americans Sam Querrey and Rajeev Ram 3-6, 6-3, 10-5. Carreno Busta and Sousa led 3-1 in the opening set, but lost five consecutive games to trail the Americans by a set. The Spanish-Portuguese duo rallied, winning deciding points at 2-1 and 5-3 in the second set to force a Match Tie-break. From there, Carreno Busta and Sousa were perfect on serve (8/8) and secured two mini-breaks to advance.

Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters quarter-finalists Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers were also victorious in the Italian capital, beating wild cards Julian Ocleppo and Andrea Vavassori 6-4, 6-4. Cuevas and Granollers, who defeated Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo in Madrid, saved all three break points they faced and won 63 per cent of points behind their second serve returns to clinch victory after 64 minutes.

Did You Know?
Isner is seeking his second Rome doubles title this week. The American won the title alongside countryman Sam Querrey in 2011.