After over ten months away from the professional tour, Juan Martin del Potro made a successful return to competition and will now contest a second round contest against Fabio Fognini. This marks the first time that the two competitors will cross paths on the tour.
Following his extended spell on the sidelines with another wrist injury, del Potro dispatched Sergiy Stakhovsky in straight sets to reach the second round of the Apia Sydney International on Tuesday. He defeated his Ukrainian opponent 6-3, 7-6(4) in exactly 81 minutes of court time.
“It was a great moment for me,” Del Potro said. “I think I played well in my first match after 10 months. I served well. My forehand is still working out. So that’s a good signal for the future. I need to work very hard to my backhands and my movements, but I think now is time to think about my comeback and enjoy this moment a lot.
“I’ve been at home for a long time; [it’s been] really sad. To be honest, I didn’t expect this moment to be early in the season. I’m so happy, so glad. I would like to share with a lot of people who were behind me last year, but all of them are in Argentina. So I will meet them once again very soon.”
The world No. 338 will now face Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini for the first time. The world No. 18 is taking part in his first tournament of the season, as well as his first professional match of 2015. Following a mediocre year last season, he will be looking for a strong start against the Argentine.
To the surprise of many, this is the first time that Fognini and del Potro cross paths on the ATP World Tour. Given del Potro’s injury, this will be a difficult contest to predict fairly. Fognini will have the advantage if he plays to the best of his abilities, while del Potro appears to be recovering quicker than many expected and could manage a path to the quarter-final round.
Prediction: Fabio Fognini in Three Sets