Juan Martin Del Potro returns to the court after just over a month, hoping to establish himself as one of the top contenders for the French Open. He begins his clay swing against the Bosnian Damir Dzumhur, just his third match in Madrid since 2012. Currently ranked No. 6 in the ATP rankings, he is one spot off a top 4 seed in Paris and is well placed to take advantage with Marin Cilic not competing this week and Alexander Zverev defending a Rome title and 1000 points.
Del Potro has had a strong 2018 so far, currently residing at No.2 in the race – although that is aided by Rafael Nadal’s absence in two of three Masters 1000 events so far. The Argentinian has been enjoying some much needed rest after a busy February and March that saw him go on a 15 match winning streak. “The last weeks were great to me. I been at home for a while, spending good time with friends, family. Also training to be ready for these tournaments. We decided to come here maybe couple of weeks ago when I got good feelings on the clay court.” he said on his time away.
After losing three straight matches to begin the clay season, Dzumhur finally returned to winning ways with a comfortable victory over Julien Benneteau in round one. He is more comfortable on hard courts though and didn’t have much luck on clay last year at main tour level although two Challenger finals suggest he is adept enough against lesser players. On the cusp of a grand slam seeding, Del Potro is far from an ideal opponent for someone who needs to ensure they have a top 33 ranking in a fortnight’s time.
Prediction – Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets