With two very winnable matches ahead of him, Juan Martin Del Potro looks the favourite to make the final of the BNP Paribas Open, where Roger Federer likely awaits. He must first see off the threat of Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber before taking on one of two big servers – Sam Querrey or Milos Raonic.
After cruising through the opening rounds, Del Potro found it much tougher against his countryman Leonardo Mayer in the fourth round. He came from a set and break down to win in three sets, finally coming out on top 3-6 7-6 6-3. The all decisive seventh game of the set was where things changed for Del Potro, saving 3 break points to hold – the last he would face in the match. “I’m surprised with the Mayer levels of today. I mean, he deserved to play like that… I turned around the match and the control of the points, and then I started to play much better right after the tie-break.” Del Potro said afterwards. He dropped just 6 points on serve in the decider while breaking to begin and end the set.
Kohlschreiber made his third Masters 1000 quarter final with victory over Pierre Hugues Herbert, 6-4 7-6. He was broken at 5-4 when serving for the match but otherwise looked in good shape and is feeling confident right now. “I felt like the level of tennis I played in the past weeks got better and better, and then luckily here it all come together. I like the conditions. I like the weather. I think I played some good tennis here already in the past, so I knew it could be a good tournament for me,” the German said.
The head to head does not make pleasant reading for Kohlschreiber, who is just 2-6 against his opponent. While he has won the last two, they both came in 2016 when Del Potro was on one of his many comebacks. Del Potro won the first six times they met, dating back to 2007, including five matches on hard courts.
Prediction – Juan Martin Del Potro in three sets