Juan Martin Del Potro: ‘Things Are Starting To Feel Natural Again’ - UBITENNIS
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Juan Martin Del Potro: ‘Things Are Starting To Feel Natural Again’

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Juan Martin Del Potro in action at the Madrid Open (Zimbio.com)

In the wake of his first top-20 scalp for 17 months, Juan Martin Del Potro is on the right road to the top of his game. The Argentine is certainly getting nearer, but he himself has admitted that there is still a lot more needed to do.

 

I’m getting closer every day, but still I’m very far away from my highest level,” Del Potro reflectively said in Madrid.

Plagued by a troublesome wrist injury, the 27-year-old returned to the tour at the Delray Beach Open after being absent for almost a year. In his comeback, the Argentine has experienced a solid return  with a win-loss of 5-3 (prior to Madrid). At Delray Beach he reached the semifinals, but today’s win over Thiem in Madrid stands out as the highlight of his season so far.

“I felt good. I’ve had a great test against a very high-level player. During some moments I felt very comfortable,” he said about playing Thiem.
“Incredibly, I was able to win the match and I’m in the next round in a very tough tournament.”

The win over Thiem isn’t a surprise given Del Potro’s outstanding talent that has taken him to the US Open title and fourth in the world rankings. The shocking thing is how near the triumph has occurred to his return to the tour. Madrid is his sixth tournament this year and only his second tournament on clay since 2013.

Since the 2014 BNP Paribas Masters, the Argentine has missed 20 months of the tour due to a series of surgeries on his left wrist. After spending such a lengthy absence from the tour, Del Potro has to once again learn how to play on the court without doing further damage to his wrist. Fortunately, for the former world No.4 he is once again starting to hit the ball in matches without fearing the worst.

“I’m starting to feel natural,” he said about the style of his current game.
“ I’m feeling much better with my backhand in this tournament than a couple months ago. That means that very good improvement on my game”.

The emotional journey that Del Potro had to endure in recent time was evident for everybody to see in Madrid. As the realization of his win over Thiem started to surface, tears started to fall down the Argentine’s face.

I wasn’t crying because I had to leave or because my wrist were hurting or anything. I was just very happy about it,” he said.

The future for Del Potro is one with encouraging signs, but also with a lot of caution. He refuses to think about titles as he focuses on winning matches to boost his current ranking position of 274th in the world.

I would like to play every single competition, but today that’s not the reality. I go week by week. If I feel good, I’ll put up the level in the calendar and also the number of tournaments I attend,” Del Potro said about his future plans.

Del Potro will face Jack Sock in the third round on Wednesday. A win over the American will take him to his first Masters quarterfinal since the 2013 Paris Open.

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Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini reach the quarter finals in Madrid

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Alexander Zverev beats Dan Evans 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to reach the quarter final at the Madrid Mutua Open. Matteo Berrettini moved into the quarter final with straight-set win over Federico Delbonis

 

Evans earned an early break to take a 1-0 lead. Zverev broke twice in the second and fourth games to open up a 4-1 lead and closed out the first set 6-3 with an ace. 

Evans saved the only break point of the second set at 4-4. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Zverev got three mini-breaks to win the breaker 7-3. 

Matteo Berrettini has reached the third Masters 1000 quarter final of his career with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4. 

The first set went on serve until the eighth game, when Delbonis saved the only break point. Delbonis went up a 4-1 lead, but Berrettini fought back by winning six consecutive games to take the first set 7-4. 

Berrettini went up an early break to take a 2-0 lead, but Delbonis broke straight back to draw level to 2-2, when Berrettini made two forehand unforced errors. The next games went on serve until the 10th game, when Berrettini earned the break to win the second set 6-4. 

Berrettini will face a quarter final against Christian Garin, who upset Danil Medvedev. Berrettini ties 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Garin. Garin beat Berrettini in the 2019 BMW Open final in Munich. Berrettini avenged this defeat against his South American player in Shanghai later that year. 

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Casper Ruud stuns Stefanos Tsitsipas to take the biggest win of his career

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Casper Ruud scored his first win over a top five player, beating this year’s Monte-Carlo champion and Barcelona finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 after 1 hour and 34 minutes without facing a break point. 

 

The Norwegian player has reached his third consecutive clay-court Masters 1000 quarter final following the semifinals in Rome in 2020 and in Monte-Carlo last month. 

The first set went on serve with no break points. Ruud won the tie-break 7-4 with two mini-breaks before earning the only break in the seventh game to close out the second set 6-4. 

Tsitsipas won his first Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo and lost the Barcelona final after holding a championship point against Rafael Nadal. 

“Stefanos is one of the best players this year on the Tour, one of the ones who has the most matches. He has won his first Masters 1000 in Monte-Carlo. He was very close to getting the title there, as well, but the conditiions are a bit different here than other clay courts with there, as well, but the conditions are a bit different here than other clay courts with the fast shots, the ball travelling faster through the air because of the altitude. You get a lot of free points with the serve that you don’t usually get on the clay courts. I think that also today went a bit in my advantage. I felt like he was doing some mistakes that he doesn’t always do. I was just trying t take care of the chance that I got”, said Ruud.Ruud set up a quarter final against Alexander Bublik, who beat Aslan Karatsev 6-4 6-3. Ruud beat Bublik in their only previous head-to-head match against Bublik in three sets in St. Petersburg.

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Ash Barty Eases Into Madrid Final

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Number 1 seed Ashleigh Barty beat Paula Badosa 6-4 6-3 to reach her fourth final of the 2021 season at the Madrid Mutua Open after winning three titles at the Yarra Valley Classic, Miami and Stuttgart.

 

The first set went on serve in the first nine games. Barty earned two break points in the 10th game with a lob and loose forehands from Badosa. Badosa saved two set points with winners, but Barty converted her third chance after a double fault from Badosa to close out the first set 6-4. 

After an early trade of breaks, Barty earned her second break after a double fault from Badosa in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. The Aussie star saved three break points in the fifth game and held serve for 4-1 with a dropshot. Barty dropped just two more points on serve to close out the second set 6-3. 

Barty has extended her red clay winning streak to 16 consecutive matches and her win-loss record to 25-3 this season. 

Barty has clinched her 16th consecutive win on red clay. The Australian player avenged her recent defeat against Badosa in the quarter finals in Charleston. 

“It was important for me to get that early break back in the second set and keep my nose in front, almost force her to come up with something that was going to be a really high level to be at a high level to be able to get back into the match. I have learnt a lot about clay, without a doubt. I promise you, I am still counting down to the grass court season. It’s one of the my favourite times of the year. I think the memories and the learnings now that we are getting from the red clay has been really cool, to be able to challenge myself in different ways”, said Barty.

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