Indian Wells Round-up: Juan Martin del Potro storms into second round, Laura Robson exits

Juan Martin del Potro in action at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday
Juan Martin del Potro in action at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday.
Sudeshna Banerjee

Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro made a grand return to the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday as he dropped just four games to book his place in the second round of the season’s first Masters tournament. The Argentine lost just 11 points on his serve to thrash American qualifier Tim Smyczek 6-4, 6-0. The match lasted 69 minutes only.

Del Potro is playing at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the first time since finishing as runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2013.

The 27-year-old was pleased with his level as this happens to be just his second tournament since his comeback at Delray Beach last month, where he reached the semi-finals. The former World No. 4 spent the better part of the last two years recuperating from two surgeries on his left wrist.

“I think I surprised myself with my level. I didn’t expect to play that well tonight. I have worked hard to be competitive,” said Del Potro.

Del Potro to meet Berdych

He thus set up a blockbuster second round clash with the sixth seed Tomas Berdych. Del Potro has a 4-2 record over the Czech, who recently had to retire during his Davis Cup singles rubber with a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, the ATP teen brigade at Indian Wells was led by the 47th ranked Borna Coric who beat France’s Lucas Pouille, 6-2, 7-5. The other teenagers who emerged triumphant on Thursday are the 64th ranked Hyeon Chung and World No. 177 Francis Tiafoe.

Almagro exits

Some of the other names who won are Spaniards Marcel Granollers, Pablo Carreno Busta and Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Nicolas Almagro had to bite the dust as be bowed out to fellow Spaniard Inigo Cervantes, 7-5, 3-6, 4-6.

WTA – Bouchard, Kasatkina win

2014 Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard continues her resurgence as she fought her way into the second round of the BNP Paribas Open. The Canadian got some stiff resistance from Japanese qualifier Risa Ozaki but she managed to pull through in the end, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

18-year-old Daria Kasatkina, who broke into the top 50 in February, put up a strong performance and comfortably beat Daniela Hantuchova, 6-2, 6-4.

Garcia out

Some of the other players winning on Thursday were Annika Beck, Camila Giorgi and Yanina Wickmayer. Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova also prevailed 6-2, 7-5 over 19-year-old Croatian Donna Vekic while World No. 41 and 2016 Dubai semi-finalist Caroline Garcia was upset 4-6, 4-6 by American Christina McHale.

Robson’s return cut short

Much like Del Potro, former British No. 1 Laura Robson too was having a woeful time for the past couple of years because of her wrist. She had to undergo a surgery on her playing left wrist in 2014.

It has been a tough battle since then. The 22-year-old former junior Wimbledon champion went down 6-7, 2-6 to Magdalena Rybarikova in the first round. The Briton has said that she has started to feel pain-free for the first time since the month of January and even though she lost, the signs are encouraging.

The former World No. 27 is now ranked at a lowly 551st in the current world rankings but she was able to play in the Indian Wells main draw by virtue of her protected ranking.

Edited by Staff Editor


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