Juan Martin Del Potro and Novak Djokovic contested the bronze medal match at the 2012 Olympics in London, and four years later, they clashed in the first round in Rio De Janeiro and in what will go down as one of the most shocking result in tennis history, the 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina dumped the top ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia 7-6(4) ,7-6(2) in the first round on Sunday.
The Tower of Tandil who had been sidelined in the past three years due to wrist injuries, won the two hour twenty seven minute encounter striking an impressive 41 winners. The tall Argentine had been relying on a slice backhand since returning in Delray Beach in February this year, but his wrist appeared fully healed as he drove the ball with power off both wings.
In complete contrast the previous two Gold medalists Andy Murray who won in London saw off Djokovic’s compatriot Victor Troicki 6-3, 6-2. Rafael Nadal, the 2008 gold medal winner in Beijing who missed the London edition, scored an impressive and dominant 6-2, 6-1 win over the Argentine Davis Cup star Frederico Delbonis. Murray next plays Juan Monaco of Argentina, while Nadal takes on the Italian Andreas Seppi.
Earlier on Saturday, Kei Nishikori of Japan, Frenchmen Jo Wilfred Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Giles Simon, Croatian Marin Cilic, veteran German Phillipe Kohlschreiber and the American Steve Johnson advanced to the second round. The American Jack Sock was the lone seed to fall loosing 4-6, 4-6 to Taro Daniel of Japan.
Seeds advancing on Sunday were the Spaniards David Ferrer and Roberto Bautista Agut, David Goffin of Belgium, Benoit Paire of France, Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.
Following is the line up for round two with my pick mentioned first:-
Juan Martin Del Potro v. Joao Sousa
Kyle Edmund v. Taro Daniel
Roberto Bautista Agut (10) v. Paolo Lorenzi
Jo Wilfred Tsonga (5) v. Gilles Muller
Rafael Nadal (3) v. Andreas Seppi
Giles Simon (15) v. Yuchi Sugita
Pablo Cuevas (11) v. Thomaz Bellucci
David Goffin (8) v. Dudi Sela
Gael Monfils (6) v. Rogerio Dutra Silva
Marin Cilic (9) v. Radu Albot
Phillipe Kohlschreiber (13) v. Andrej Martin
Kei Nishikori (4) v. John Millman
David Ferrer (7) v. Evgeny Donskoy
Steve Johnson (12) v. Gaston Elias
Benoit Paire (16) v. Fabio Fognini
Andy Murray (2) v. Juan Monaco
In the ladies’ section of the draw, the Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber of Germany, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and the Wimbledon champion Serena Williams stayed on course with straight set wins. Venus Williams of U.S.A. and Agnieska Radwanska of Poland were eliminated by Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium and Sasai Zheng of China respectively.
Other notable winners include the 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic who next plays former world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark. Promising American Madison Keys, two time grand slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia and Brits Heather Watson and Johanna Konta too advanced to the round of 32.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]