Top seed Juan Martin Del Potro (Player Bio) had to put in a lot of energy to overcome the initial hurdle at Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championship. The Tokyo opener did not start particularly well for the World no. 7 as he was broken to love in the first game of the encounter and produced no break points later in the set, enabling his Cypriot adversary Marco Baghdatis (Player Bio) to take the lead. In the second set, the players were still tied at 4-4 when Delpo first held to love and converted the second set point in the follow-up game to level the terms. 49th-ranked Baghdatis kept putting pressure on the favorite in the deciding set as well, yet he suffered a late loss of serve again to allow the Argentine completing his comeback with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory. Delpo will square off against his countryman Carlos Berlocq next.
“I was feeling good on the court, after one month at home,” said del Potro. “I am ready to play well here, but I realise that I will need to play better against Berlocq. My wrist is okay and I was hitting my backhand almost 100 per cent. My serve went well and I didn’t double fault, which I am happy about.”
Similarly, the Serbian number two Janko Tipsarevic (Player Bio) dropped the opening set against Romania’s Victor Hanescu (Player Bio), but he grew stronger as the match progressed and ultimately secured his second round spot after two hours and a half of play on Centre Court. In truth, the opener could have gone either way as the Romanian squandered a triple set point opportunity in the tenth game, whilst the eighth seed Serb failed to wrap it up in the tie-break. In the end, Tipsarevic made it through the match without giving away a service game, whilst he broke Hanescu three times over course of the final two sets. He won 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-4 and is to meet Ukrainian Aleksandr Dolgopolov in the last 16.
Defending champion Kei Nishikori (Player Bio), seed number four, found himself on the brink of a defeat as he lost the opening set tie-break and was trailing 5-2 in the second set against Austria’s Jurgen Melzer (Player Bio), yet he pulled off a magnificent comeback to stay in the contest at the ATP World Tour 500 tournament in Tokyo. The result: 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-2 in favor of the local hero who will take on Feliciano Lopez in the second round.