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Miami Open Tennis • Del Potro Dominates Kei Nishikori • Marin Cilic Wins Too

Juan Martin del Potro reacts after defeating Kei Nishikori of Japan during a third round match at the Miami Open tennis tournament on Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA, 25 March 2018. EPA-EFE/ERIK S. LESSER



By Ricky Dimon


Juan Martin Del Potro’s spring surge continued at the Miami Open on Sunday afternoon, when he easily got the best of Kei Nishikori 6-2, 6-2 during second-round action. Del Potro extended his match winning streak to 13 following one hour and 12 minutes of play.


In this battle between oft-injured stars, it was Nishikori who was obviously feeling the effects of time off due to recurring wrist problems. Japan’s top player, who has played only seven matches in 2018 and has plunged to 33rd in the world, won only 45 percent of his second-serve points and earned a mere one break chance (in his first return game, failed to capitalize on it). Del Potro, meanwhile, dominated most of the baseline rallies and generated 13 break-points opportunities–converting four.


“I think I’m playing good,” the reigning Acapulco and Indian Wells champ commented. “I can play even better, but I need to get confidence playing [on] this court, trying to keep winning matches. But is not easy. My body [is starting] to feel tight because (of) all my success. But I’m enjoying a lot playing this tournament. I would like to stay longer because it’s a special tournament for me. (It) is the last time playing in Key Biscayne, so I would love to stay here few more days.


“I did well (against Nishikori). I took all my break chances. I served well. I think he is still having to get the power as he had in the past. But he’s in a good way to get that. He just needs time to recover his best game.”


Del Potro and Marin Cilic are the favorites to reach the semis in the bottom half of the Miami draw, especially now that Grigor Dimitrov has exited the Argentine’s section (was upset by Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday).


Cilic scraped past Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 7-6(4) on Sunday. The world No. 3 broke serve at 6-5 in the opening set and had chances to do the same in the second, leading 0-40. Pospisil, though, saved three match points and won a wild rally at deuce with an amazing forehand pass that helped him produce a critical service hold. A tiebreaker ensued, at which point Cilic regained control of the contest and took it seven points to four.


“It was a relief at the end,” the second-seeded Croat said. “I had those three match points at 6-5 and there was that great rally at deuce. I was playing really well in the tiebreak, returning really well and serving really good. I saved the best for last and I’m really pleased with the victory. I was quite focused on my service games and I had to stay patient.”


Other winners to wrap up the weekend were John Isner, Joao Sousa, and Hyeon Chung. Isner will face Cilic in the fourth round, while Chung and Sousa are going head-to-head.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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