Delpo Dominant In Reaching Second Week At US Open
When Del Potro is this efficient, few can touch the Argentine's imposing game and he continued his ruthless run on Friday. A semi-finalist last year, he has carried the momentum into the 2018 edition, barely putting a foot wrong en route to the Round of 16.
Del Potro dismissed an upset-minded Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 7-6(6), 6-3, overcoming a mid-match hiccup to punch his ticket on Day 5. He launched 41 winners, including 12 aces, while claiming a dominant 80 per cent of points on his first serve.
"It was a really nice fight and we played three great sets," Del Potro told ESPN following the match. "Thanks to the crowd for staying until almost 1am to cheer for me."
The 2009 champion earned his 40th match win of the year on Friday, joining Alexander Zverev (45), Rafael Nadal (43) and Dominic Thiem (41) in the club. Del Potro is bidding to reach the quarter-finals or better in a fifth consecutive tournament, having entered Flushing Meadows on the heels of deep runs at Roland Garros, Wimbledon, Los Cabos and Cincinnati.
40-Match Winners In 2018
|Juan Martin del Potro||40|
After exchanging breaks early in the opener, Verdasco was unable to sustain the momentum as the set hit a critical juncture. A loose service game saw Del Potro break to love for 6-5 and he would unleash a forehand barrage to snatch a one-set lead.
Del Potro earned a quick break in the second set and the rout was on. Or so it seemed. After committing just six unforced errors in the first 15 games, seven more would suddenly leak from the Tandil native's game as Verdasco broke back and edged ahead 3-2. But with his mettle tested, Del Potro would eventually take a two-set advantage by the slimmest of margins in a tie-break. And he cruised from there, breaking early in the third and never looking back.
The match finally hit its conclusion at 12:34am, as Del Potro converted his first match point after two hours and 59 minutes.
Del Potro sets a fourth-round meeting with Borna Coric, who has dropped just one set en route to the last 16. The 20th-seeded Croatian downed Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 under the lights on Court 17. He fired 30 winners, while converting an impressive six of 13 break chances.
A rematch of their encounter at the Next Gen ATP Finals last year, also won by Coric, the Croatian owns a 3-1 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. He ended Medvedev's win streak at eight straight, following the Russian's dominant run to the title at the Winston-Salem Open last week.
Competing in his 17th consecutive Grand Slam main draw, Coric is enjoying his best result. It marks the first time he will appear in the second week of a major. The 21-year-old is up to a career-high No. 20 in the ATP Rankings and coming off his biggest victory to date, having upset Roger Federer in the Gerry Weber Open final in June.
On Sunday, Coric and Del Potro will meet for the first time.