ROME – Veteran Argentine Juan Martin del Potro came back from an early deficit to outclass rising Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-3 on Wednesday in the second round of the Italian Open.
Del Potro trailed by a service break early in the first set, but he turned the match in his favor by imposing his forehand and dominating his service games.
In the second set, the Argentine did not face a single break point and won 20 of his 25 service points.
The match was intriguing because the 19-year-old Tsitsipas has had a breakout clay-court campaign, highlighted by his run to the Barcelona Open final (where he lost to then-world No. 1 Rafael Nadal).
The Greek player’s ranking stood at No. 69 when the clay-court season started in early April but has since risen to No. 43.
The sixth-ranked Del Potro, meanwhile, will look to reach his first quarterfinal of the 2018 clay-court season when he takes on 10th-ranked Belgian David Goffin in third-round action Thursday.
The 29-year-old Argentine – winner of a big hard-court event in Indian Wells, California, in March – lost in the final eight of last year’s Italian Open to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.