Del Potro Sinks Soderling
by Matt Fitzgerald|
In what was thought to be the match-up of the tournament so far, Juan Martin del Potro crafted his best performance of the 2011 season, dismantling No. 4 seed Robin Soderling 6-3, 6-2 on stadium court in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open. “It feels good. I played a really good match,” del Potro said. “I served much better than in the Kohlschreiber match, and that's what I need if I want beat Top 10 players.”
The two heavy hitters started emphatically, each ripping winners on both wings to hold serve easily. The Argentine then made his move in the fourth game with three break opportunities. Though Soderling brought the game to deuce, del Potro continued to generate incredible pace and broke the Swede on his fourth chance. Down 5-2, Soderling held serve after saving a set point with a much needed first serve. Del Potro proceeded to close out the set in the next game with a cracking forehand winner down the line. “It was a nice shot. I really enjoy it when I make good forehands,” said a pleased del Potro.
The 2009 US Open champion continued to make things difficult for Soderling, winning the first three points of the second set for an early opportunity to break. Soderling again clawed his way out of the 0-40 hole but del Potro was too strong, eventually breaking the Swede. A semi-finalist here last year, Soderling was unable to inflict any pressure on del Potro’s serve, failing to see a single break point opportunity throughout the match. A beautifully struck backhand pass set up two break points for del Potro at 4-2 and his conversion on the following point was a virtual end to the match for the deflated Soderling. The Argentine served out the match effortlessly, winning his third straight encounter against the Swede.
“I'm always prepared for tough matches,” claimed Soderling. “I know anyone can be a danger. I have to play well every match to have a chance to win, which I didn't do.”
Del Potro’s fourth round opponent is Mardy Fish, the 14th seed. The American won earlier today over Frenchman Richard Gasquet in straight sets. His Argentinean constituent believes it will be a great match. “It will be a special match because I know him. He knows my game. We’ve played many times against each other,” said del Potro. “And here in fourth round, every player is playing really well. So will be a nice match for both.”
In an all-American match between No. 30 seed John Isner and Alex Bogomolov Jr., Isner came out on top 6-2, 7-5 to advance into the fourth round, his best result in Miami. Dissatisfied with his performance at Indian Wells last week, Isner is putting it all on the line here. “I wanted another hard court tournament in the States, and this is what I have. It's important to get some wins under my belt before I go over to Europe on the clay court season.”
His advancement pits him against Kevin Anderson, who like Isner played tennis collegiately. Their matchup is a perfect example of there being alternative pathways to building a lucrative professional tennis career. “It speaks volumes for college tennis with myself and him and Somdev [Devvarman],” Isner said. “The three of us came out from the 2007 college class, and all of us are doing really well.”
As for his thoughts on playing an opponent one inch shorter than him, Isner joked, “He's not used to looking up to anybody, I'm not used to looking at anybody that's almost at my eye level, so it's a unique matchup for sure.”
No. 16 seed Viktor Troicki won an exhausting match against 19th seeded Sam Querrey, prevailing 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and 35 minutes. The Serbian, down a break midway through the final set, stayed with the American and capitalized on his first match point in the final game to get through to the round of 16. He awaits the winner of tonight’s match between No. 2 Novak Djokovic and wild card James Blake.
Marcel Granollers dug out of a 5-3 deficit in the final set in his third round match against No. 23 seed Michael Llodra, taking the final four games to win 7-5, 3-6, 7-5. With just two wins on the season coming in to Miami, Granollers is an unlikely fourth round opponent for sixth seeded David Ferrer, who won earlier today. Ferrer has won their two career meetings, both coming in 2010, and is yet to drop a set against his countryman.
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