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Del Potro wins all-Argentine affair, will face Federer on Friday in Miami

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Del Potro wins all-Argentine affair, will face Federer on Friday in Miami


IMG_9379_DelPotroMiami, Ricky Dimon

It will be Roger Federer vs. Juan Martin Del Potro in round two of the Miami Open on Friday afternoon.

Del Potro assured that the highly-anticipated showdown would become a reality when he got the best of fellow Argentine Guido Pella 6-0, 7-6(3) on the opening day of main-draw action on Wednesday night. The former world No. 4 held all nine of his service games to advance after one hour and 29 minutes.

Contesting his third tournament of 2016, Del Potro got off to an emphatic start at the expense of his countryman. Pella had been in outstanding form following a February swing that included a runner-up finish in Rio de Janeiro, but he had no answer for Del Potro in the first set. The world No. 39 won just 14 points in the opener and failed to convert any of his two break opportunities.

Pella managed to make the second set competitive even though he became even more hopeless against his opponent’s serve. Del Potro surrendered only seven points in his last six service games but was pushed to a tiebreaker soon after missing a match point with Pella serving at 4-5. Pella got a mini-break back late in the ‘breaker with a net-cord winner, but Del Potro won two consecutive return points at 5-4 and 6-4 to seal the deal.

“I made it through and I’m so, so happy for the chance to play against Roger after tomorrow,” Del Potro told the crowd.

Due to the world No. 366’s recent inactivity related to multiple left-wrist surgeries, Federer and Del Potro have not squared off since the 2013 World Tour Finals. Before Del Potro started succumbing to physical problems, this rivalry was shaping up to be one of the sport’s best even though Federer has a comfortable 15-5 lead in the head-to-head series. The two veterans have engaged in several memorable meetings, including in the 2009 U.S. Open final (won by Del Potro) and in the semis of the 2012 London Olympics (won by Federer).

Joining Del Potro in the Miami second round on Wednesday were 18-year-olds Alexander Zverev and Taylor Fritz, just to name a few. To at least a small degree, Zverev erased the demons of his brutal fourth-round loss in Indian Wells to Rafael Nadal by holding off Michael Mmoh 7-6(3), 7-6(4). Also in the midst of a breakout 2016 campaign, Fritz took care of Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-2.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @Dimonator by clicking here.

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So Nice to Be On Grass: Federer Claims Fifth Title in Halle


After the fiasco in the finals of the French Open last week, Roger Federer was probably relieved to be back on grass. The world number one extended his winning streak on that surface to 59 by beating hometown boy, Philipp Kohlschreiber, 6-3, 6-4 at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany.

With the crowd in his corner, Kohlschreiber was inspired and played well. In the first set, the German kept up with Federer and actually had the opportunity to go up a break in the third game. Unfortunately for him, Federer served his way out of trouble. Federer’s variety, his most potent asset, proved overwhelming for Kohlschreiber. Eventually, Roger got the upper hand in the first set with a break 5-3. With a strong service game, Roger closed out the set.

Early on in the second set, Federer had a few chances to break. Yet, the German found a way to pull through. While serving at 3-3, Kohlschreiber once again lost his way which allowed Federer to take the lead 4-3. Nevertheless, with the spectators urging him on after a double fault, the German extended the match to 4-5. In the end, with a powerful service game, Federer closed out the match to secure the championship.

With his atrocious record against top ten competitors 8-18, Kohlschreiber beating James Blake, the second seed, in the semifinals was a surprise. Federer appeared in tip-top shape throughout the tournament with straight sets victories over every opponent he faced. Hopefully, this title will heal some of Federer’s latest wounds and help him regain the confidence he has been lacking the last few months. With Nadal’s first title on grass in Artois coming also today, the gauntlet has been thrown. Should these two meet in the finals at Wimbledon, Nadal may have the psychological edge and that may be the deciding factor in the match.

On the doubles side, after Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram, the number one seed, lost in the second round, the draw opened up. The finals came down to the number four seeds, Leander Paes /Lukas Dhouly and the unseeded team of Mikhail Youzhny /Mischa Zverev. The latter prevailed in the three sets.

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