Miami, FL Ricky Dimon
No Roger Federer, no Rafael Nadal, and now no Juan Martin Del Potro. Always a marquee draw, especially at a tournament sometimes known as “the Latin American slam,” Del Potro lost his opening match at the Sony Open on Friday evening. The Argentine lost to Tobias Kamke 7-6(5), 6-1 in one hour and 50 minutes.
Del Potro, coming off a runner-up finish in Indian Wells, led 5-2 in the first set and even had two set points in the eighth game. Not only did the world No. 7 fail to close the deal, but he also squandered a mini-break lead in the ensuing tiebreaker. After a rain delay halted play for two hours in between sets, a listless Del Potro had nothing left in the tank. Kamke raced to a 5-0 advantage before serving out the match with a routine hold at 5-1.
“I made a lot of mistakes,” Del Potro assured. “I was excited to play here, but it was just a bad day and he played really well. I think he deserved to win and it’s okay.”
Although the German’s victory made for a shocking result, it was by no means the most bizarre event of the day. Early on in the night session, not long after Del Potro’s setback, a power outage blacked out the grounds and delayed the action yet again, this time for 30 minutes.
Novak Djokovic finally took center court more than two and a half hours after his scheduled start time, but he wasted no time getting through his opener. Djokovic destroyed Lukas Rosol 6-1, 6-0 in a mere 53 minutes to kick off his bid for a third consecutive title in Miami. The top-ranked Serb capitalized on a dismal serving performance by Rosol, who has not come close to finding the form that carried him past Nadal last summer at Wimbledon. Rosol served at a horrendous 41 percent while double-faulting seven times.
Next up for Djokovic is Somdev Devvarman, who had to work later than anyone else. Devvarman made a second straight comeback from one set down when he outlasted Edouard Roger-Vasselin 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and 20 minutes. India’s top player came up clutch at the end of the final two sets, breaking serve at 5-4 in the second and 6-5 in the third.