Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships
2nd match on Center Court
The second round begins tomorrow with one of the headline matches an all-Argentinian affair between Carlos Berlocq (Player Profile) and Juan Martin Del Potro (Player Profile). The pair have been teammates in Davis Cup action but Del Potro’s fall out with captain Martin Jaite has put paid to that for now. Check out the Del Potro vs Berlocq Head to Head.
Del Potro had a tough opener in his first outing since the US Open. He needed three sets to see off the dangerous Marcos Baghdatis, winning 4-6 6-4 6-3. He showed rust early on, getting broken in the very first game of the match but would break at the end of the second and third sets for the victory. Quite surprisingly, he was beaten convincingly in the aces count with just 6 to Baghdatis’ 17 but it would matter little in the end.
Having also played the Cypriot last week, Berlocq is more than aware of the threat posed by him. Berlocq lost in straights in the first round of Kuala Lumpur but bounced back with victory against Pablo Cuevas in the opener here. A tough first set saw him taken to a tiebreak but he had a much easier time in the second to complete a 7-6 6-2 win. It was a dominant serving performance that led the way with just three points lost on first serve.
For someone who barely stepped off of clay a few years ago, the improvements are staggering for Berlocq who actually has a winning record on hard courts this year. Although he doesn’t play that much still on the surface, the current 5-4 record is still impressive for someone of his level.
However, Del Potro will be a different matter altogether and it should be easy for the 2009 US Open winner as he looks to shake off the rustiness. Berlocq actually won the only match between the two defeating a 15 year-old Del Potro in a futures event in 2004.
Prediction: Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets