TWO years after he ended Roger Federer’s five-year winning streak at the US Open, Juan Martin del Potro has his eyes on further success at Flushing Meadows.
The 22-year-old Argentine has had a difficult time over the last 20 months, having missed nearly all of last year with a wrist injury, but hopes his improving form will help him to make major inroads again at the year’s final Grand Slam tournament.
At the beginning of February, Del Potro was No 485 in the world rankings, but last month he returned to the top 20.
The former world No 4 reached the quarter-finals in Los Angeles in his first outing during the current hard-court season and made an impressive start to this week’s Montreal Masters, beating Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-0 in his opening match on Monday night.
“I’m doing well this season - I have beaten top 10 players and there have been many good things for me in this year,” Del Potro said.
“Of course, I’m looking forward to the next Grand Slam. It’s my favourite and it will be my first time there since 2009, so it will be fantastic for my confidence. But every tournament is very tough for me after 2010. I was completely out of the circuit and now I’m trying to recover my game, my fitness, everything.”
Del Potro, who has won titles this year at Delray Beach and Estoril, was playing his second-round match last night against Marin Cilic.
The winner will face Novak Djokovic, who was making his first tournament appearance yesterday since going top of the world rankings, or Nikolay Davydenko.
Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis, who beat Del Potro in Los Angeles and went on to win the tournament, came from behind to beat Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, while South Africa’s Kevin Anderson overcame Spain’s Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-4. Anderson was meeting Britain’s Andy Murray in the second round last night.
The world’s top 20 women are all playing in Toronto this week, but three of them went out on the first day. France’s Marion Bartoli and Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova both went out to qualifiers, losing to Galina Voskoboeva and Simona Halep respectively, while Jelena Jankovic was beaten 6-1, 6-3 by Julia Goerges.
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