Juan Martin del Potro has cruised through the first four rounds. Image courtesy of news.com.au/Peter Dejong/AP
Since winning the 2009 US Open, Juan Martin del Potro has failed to advance past the quarter-finals of any Grand Slam event. The enigmatic Argentine has a golden opportunity to reach the final four of Wimbledon this year when he takes on a slightly out-of-sorts David Ferrer on Wednesday night (AEST), the man who bundled him out of The Championships last year.
Ferrer was ten minutes late getting out on to the court for his round of 16 clash against 49th-ranked Ivan Dodig last night, and it took him much longer to get in to the swing of the match as the Croat’s heavy serve helped claim the first set tie-break , and only after Ferrer claimed the second in a tight breaker did he finally swing the match in his favour before winning in four .
It’s not the first time this event Ferrer has had issues putting away players who have modest records on grass. Ukrainian seed Alexandr Dolgopolov took him the distance in the third round , while claycourt specialists Martin Alund and Roberto Bautista-Agut both took sets off him in the opening two rounds.
On the other hand, it has been smooth sailing for Del Potro throughout the first four rounds. He is yet to drop a set , and easily accounted for veteran Italian Andreas Seppi in his last match. Seppi had previously upset Japanese 12th seed Kei Nishikori in the third round, which was a surprise given the latter is comfortable on grass.
Ferrer has a 6-2 career head-to-head advantage over Del Potro. The Spaniard’s phenomenal return has always been able to nullify Del Potro big serve, but on Monday night he struggled, at times, with Dodig’s heavy first ball. Ferrer has won their past three contests in straight sets, including last year’s 6-3 6-2 6-3 rout in the fourth round at the All England Club. Del Potro did, however, win a Bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics; he went down 19-17 in the third and deciding set to Roger Federer in the semi-finals but backed up to beat Novak Djokovic in the consolation final.
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