Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych will be squaring off for the seventh time in their careers when they clash in round two of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday. Del Potro is leading the head-to-head series 4-2, but they have not faced each other since 2012 because the Argentine has been away from the tour for so long due to injuries. The two veterans last met in the 2012 French Open fourth round, with Del Potro prevailing 7-6(6), 1-6, 6-3, 7-5. Their only outdoor hard-court showdown came in their first-ever encounter back in 2008, when Berdych triumphed 6-1, 6-4 in the Tokyo final. Check out the Del Potro vs Berdych Head to Head.
Del Potro’s comeback from recurring wrist issues is off to an outstanding start. At the Delray Beach Open last month he beat Denis Kudla, John-Patrick Smith, and Jeremy Chardy all in straight sets before succumbing to Sam Querrey in the semifinals. After a few weeks off, Del Potro is back in business in the desert. The 27-year-old kicked off his fortnight on Thursday with a 6-4, 6-0 rout of American qualifier Tim Smyczek. The fact that Del Potro is also signed up for doubles with countryman Leonard Mayer also speaks volumes that his wrist is feeling fine.
Now it is Berdych who is actually the significant question mark. The 27-year-old Czech has been in unspectacular form to begin this year and his problems were exacerbated during Davis Cup action last weekend in Germany. Berdych needed five sets to hold off Alexander Zverev before he retired on Sunday with an adductor injury after dropping two sets at the hands of Philipp Kohlschreiber. The sixth seed has been practicing in Indian Wells so it looks like he be able to take the court, but it remains to be seen if he is 100 percent. If Berdych is less than in peak physical condition, Del Potro is playing well enough to capitalize.
Prediction: Del Potro in straight sets