Juan Martin del Potro won his second match at the Delray Beach Open to advance to the quarterfinals, where he will face Mackenzie McDonald.
His latest victory ended the six-match winning streak of young American Reilly Opelka, who last week won the ATP New York Open.
Del Potro defeated the towering Opelka – who stands at 6’11” – 6-4 6-4, withstanding 18 aces to seal victory in a brisk 73 minutes.
The Argentine, playing his first tournament in four months due to a fractured patella, was facing an opponent who, according to tennis strategist Craig O’Shannessy, “is averaging a mind-blowing 27.8 aces per match during the past 12 months.
“It’s as close to untouchable as our sport has witnessed,” O’Shannessy wrote in a recent piece for atptour.com.
However, Del Potro managed to break the American’s serve twice while not facing a single break point throughout the match.
Del Potro finishes off Opelka 4 and 4 and the @DelrayBeachOpen QFs are set:
???????? Del Potro v McDonald ????????
???????? Johnson v Albot ????????
???????? Seppi v Evans ????????
???????? Mannarino v Isner ????????
— TennisNow (@Tennis_Now) February 22, 2019
Del Potro and McDonald have never met, with Del Potro – the tournament’s top seed – ranked almost 80 places higher than the 23-year-old.
McDonald arrived in the Delray Beach quarterfinals thanks to wins over Taylor Fritz and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Earlier on Thursday at the 250-level hard-court event in Florida, Radu Albot got the better of an ailing Nick Kyrgios, who continues to struggle with a knee injury in 2019.
Albot, who overcame Kyrgios in three sets, will go on to face No.4 seed Steve Johnson, who got past Italian Paolo Lorenzi 7-5 7-5.
Fifth seed Joao Sousa has been eliminated from the Rio Open, adding to the list of favourites knocked out of the clay-court tournament in the early stages.
Norwegian Casper Ruud topped Portugal’s Sousa 6-3 3-6 6-4 in the round of 16.
Top seed Dominic Thiem of Austria, Italians Fabio Fognini and Marco Cecchinato and Diego Schwartzman of Argentina have already been ousted.
In the quarterfinals, Ruud will face Serbia’s Laslo Dere, who eliminated Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-4 6-2.
Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, the 2016 Rio Open champion, advanced after beating Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero 6-1 6-4.
Cuevas will face Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the quarterfinals, after Ramos-Vinolas defeated Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 3-6 7-5 6-3.
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