Juan Martin del Potro made a triumphant return to tennis on Tuesday night in Delray Beach thanks to a win over Yoshihito Nishioka.
No.1 seed Del Potro, playing his first match in four months, defeated the Japanese lefty 6-3 7-5 to advance to the second round.
The Argentine last competed in Shanghai in October 2018, where in his third-round match he fell and fractured his patella.
Del Potro on first match after knee injury "Still hurts sometimes will see how I feel tomorrow…I was thinking about it all the time…when I got tired I started to fill a little bit of pain but that's normal" #ATP #DBOpen
— John Horn (@SportsHorn) February 20, 2019
He was forced to skip the ATP Finals that year plus the Australian Open in January before returning at the 250-level hard-court event this week.
His victory over Nishioka, during which he sent down 12 aces, sets up a meeting in the last 16 with in-form American Reilly Opelka.
Opelka last week won his first ATP title at the New York Open and in his first match at Delray Beach crushed Tennys Sandgren 6-4 6-0 to take his winning streak to six.
We think the fans are happy to see you back in Delray Beach @delpotrojuan… ????
— Delray Beach Open (@DelrayBeachOpen) February 20, 2019
“I have the experience doing comebacks, but it’s not good for me and for other players,” Del Potro told atptour.com.
“I know it takes time and then you have to be having enough confidence to move 100 per cent, to feel the body in good shape and then the tennis part comes.”
Earlier, Dan Evans recovered from a break down in both the second and third sets to upset defending champion Frances Tiafoe.
Tiafoe, the third seed, served for the match at 6-5 in the second set and led 4-1 in the third but could not stop the Brit, who roared back to triumph 3-6 7-6(1) 7-5.
Evans, who has now won three straight matches after qualifying for the main draw, next takes on South Africa’s Lloyd Harris.
Also moving through to the second round in Delray Beach were second seed John Isner – who beat Peter Polansky in straight sets – and No.4 seed Steve Johnson, a 7-6(3) 6-4 winner over Jason Jung.
Sixth seed Andreas Seppi and No.8 seed Adrian Mannarino also moved through, thanks to wins over Bernard Tomic and Brayden Schnur respectively.
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