Del Potro Wins Clay Court Opener In Estoril

Juan Martin Del Potro (photo: Brigitte Urban)

ESTORIL, May 2, 2017

Two-time Portugal Open champion Juan Martin del Potro opened his campaign for the Millennium Estoril Open title on Tuesday with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Yuichi Sugita from Japan.

After five years away, the 28-year-old Argentine has returned to the ATP 250 event and was in total control of his first round encounter. Del Potro fired eight aces, winning 81 per cent of his first service points, saved the only break point he faced and capitalized on four of his own chances to advance in one hour and 20 minutes.

“The match went better than I had expected. I served well and my forehand was pretty powerful, hitting a couple of winners,” Del Potro was satisfied after his first match of the season on clay. “Considering that my last match on clay took place one year ago, it was good work today.”

Del Potro’s last encounter on the dirt took place at the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid in April 2016 against Jack Sock. He lost his second round match in straight sets.

“I still have to work on my backhand, in particular with the slice. But it is really nice to play here, as the court is pretty small and the fans are very close to the action. The surface is pretty fast, that’s what I like on clay. Overall I enjoy my stay here in Portugal. I feel good.”

Del Potro will next take on Ryan Harrison from the United States. The 24-year-old from Texas fought past Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-López 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 in just under two hours of play.

Nicolas Almagro got his title defence off to winning start, easing past eighth seed Benoit Paire of France 6-3, 6-2. The 31-year-old Spaniard, who defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in last year’s Estoril final to capture his 13th ATP World Tour title, didn’t face a break point and converted all three of his own opportunities to finish the encounter in only 52 minutes. Next up for Almagro will be local favourite Gastao Elias.

Joao Domingues made a successful debut on the ATP World Tour beating the tournament’s number seven Kyle Edmund 6-4, 3-6, 7-6. The 23-year-old Portuguese wild card saved two match points and won one point less than his opponent but secured victory in two hours and five minutes. Domingues will next face South African Kevin Anderson.

Photo Gallery (by Brigitte Urban):