Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro renew their rivalry on Friday night in the Rome quarter-finals. They play for the first time since the US Open final, where Djokovic won in straight sets to earn his second slam of his current three in a row. Despite the lopsided 15-3 head to head, there has been some great clashes between the pair with the Argentinian well capable of overpowering Djokovic at his best.
After a surprising loss in Madrid early, Del Potro bounced back here with there being no issues in playing two matches in one day for the Argentinian. He eased past David Goffin in the first and avoided a dramatic clash with Nick Kyrgios in the second. The Australian was defaulted in his match with Casper Ruud, giving the Norwegian the third round matchup with Del Potro. He won 6-4 6-4 in just over an hour and a half to earn his second quarter final of the year.
Djokovic passed his two tests with flying colours, dropping just 7 games against Denis Shapovalov and Philipp Kohlschreiber. He will have been delighted with the latter victory, having already lost to the German once this year. He won the last 7 games in the 6-3 6-0 victory over Kohlschreiber, needing just over an hour to get off the court. “I felt the ball really well. Obviously completely different conditions playing at night. It’s colder, the ball bounces lower than during the day. So obviously that’s not favorable to Philipp, who plays with a lot of spin. I’m just really glad to overcome the challenge,” Djokovic said afterwards.
“Of course, he probably prefers because of style of play hard court more. He played equally well throughout his career on clay, with that serve and forehand, it doesn’t really matter what surface you play on. It’s quite a weapon that he has.” Djokovic said on the matchup. Madrid suggested he was back to his best following a lull in form so it may be down to Rafael Nadal to end a lengthy winning streak going into the French Open for Djokovic.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets