ATP Delray Beach: Juan Martin del Potro makes winning return. Tiafoe is out



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ATP Delray Beach: Juan Martin del Potro makes winning return. Tiafoe is out

Sidelined since October with a right knee injury (read more about that HERE), the world no. 4 Juan Martin del Potro has scored the first win of the new season, beating Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 50 minutes. Juan Martin hit 12 aces and he saved three out of four break points to control the pace, winning 42% of the return points and earning three breaks from seven chances to seal the deal and reach the second round.

A left-handed Janapese saved a break point in the fourth game and he had the opportunity to move ahead at 3-3, only to be denied by a powerful forehand from Delpo who forced an error from his rival in the following game to open up a 5-3 advantage.

Serving for the set the Argentinian saved two break points with winners (25-shot rally on the second), closing the set with an ace for a 6-3. They traded breaks in games five and six in set number two and Juan Martin established the crucial lead with a break in game 11 when Nishioka sent a backhand long, closing the match with four winners a few minutes later for the first triumph in 2019.

The 3rd seed and the defending champion Frances Tiafoe has scored another early exit, beaten by a qualifier Daniel Evans 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 in a grueling two hours and 15 minutes. Evans won five points more than the American and he made the better distribution out of those, trailing 4-2 in the decider before scoring three consecutive breaks that pushed him into the second round.

Nothing suggested such an outcome would be possible after the opening five games that Tiafoe grabbed all, closing the set with a forehand winner in game nine before an open battle in set number two that saw no break points in the first ten games.

After pulling one break back in the opening set, Daniel looked much better on the court until Frances broke him in the 11th game, serving for the match in the game that followed. It wasn't to be for the youngster, though, suffering a break when Evans placed a forehand winner and losing the tie break 7-1 after a forehand down the line winner from the Briton who was now back in the match completely.

Tiafoe was the one who seized an early lead in the decider with a break in game two, moving 4-1 up before a downfall that cost him four straight games, suffering a break at 15 in the seventh game after a forehand error and again in game nine after a huge volley error at the net.

Evans was in the ideal position now but there was more drama waiting around the corner, with Frances breaking back at 15 in game ten to level the score at 5-5, only to lose the next eight points and hand the win to his opponent after a terrible backhand in game 12.

New York finalist Brayden Schnur had nothing left in the tank after that close loss to Reilly Opelka (read the match report HERE), winning just six points on the return in a 6-2, 6-2 defeat to Adrian Mannarino in 52 minutes.

The Frenchman won half of the points in the return games, scoring two breaks in each set to dominate the scoreboard and move into the second round in no time at all. Andreas Seppi toppled Bernard Tomic 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 16 minutes, repelling all six break points and breaking the Aussie once in both sets to score a comfortable win and book the place in the last 16 where he will face Jordan Thompson who ousted Marcel Granollers 7-5, 6-1.