Read & Watch: Djere Saves 1 M.P. On Delpo's Return

Del Potro returning to action for first time since February

Laslo Djere saved one match point on Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open to deny Juan Martin del Potro a winning return to the ATP Tour after a two-and-a-half month absence.

Djere completed a 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 victory over two hours and 23 minutes to advance to the third round of an ATP Masters 1000 tournament for the second time (also 2019 Miami Open presented by Itau). The Serbian hit 36 winners and saved nine of 11 break points for just his second victory (2-1 overall) over a player in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings. He will now prepare to face ninth-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic.

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In his first match since 22 February, when he fell to Mackenzie McDonald in the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com quarter-finals, seventh seed Del Potro worked hard in just his second tournament appearance of the year, but was unable to convert a match point opportunity at 5-4, with Djere serving at 30/40.

Djere, this year’s Rio Open presented by Claro titlist (d. Auger-Aliassime), saved the point with a backhand volley winner, then grew in confidence and returned deep in the next game to break serve with his Argentine opponent striking a slice backhand into the net.

Del Potro fired 11 aces and lost nine first-service points (42/51), but could only convert two of his 11 break point chances on his return to competition.

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Earlier in the day, French No. 15 seed Gael Monfils recorded a 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Marton Fucsovics of Hungary in one hour and 55 minutes for a clash against three-time former champion Roger Federer, the fourth seed from Switzerland. Monfils captured the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (d. Wawrinka) in February.

Monfils' compatriot Jeremy Chardy reached the Madrid third round for the first time (on his seventh tournament appearance) with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-2 win in 59 minutes against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. Afterwards, Chardy admitted to ATP Tennis Radio, “It was a solid match, I played perfectly from beginning to end. I was very clear with my tactics. I arrived with no confidence, but I was playing well in practice and I just need to continue to play well.” He now meets World No. 1 and two-time former champion Novak Djokovic.

Meanwhile, 10th seed Fabio Fognini, who, last month, became the first Italian to win the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title since Nicola Pietrangeli in 1968, swept past Australia’s John Millman 6-2, 6-2 in 69 minutes. He now challenges fifth-seeded Austrian and last year’s Dominic Thiem.

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