Monday, March 27, 2017

Roger Federer dismisses Del Potro to reach last 16 at Miami Open

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Roger Federer added another big win to his nearly invincible 2017 on Monday, fighting off Argentine Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the fourth round of the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Federer, a two-time Miami champion (2005-06), never lost his serve against the powerful right-hander, who had five break chances but couldn't convert any of them. The win improves Federer to 15-1 on the season and 46-13 for his career at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.

Federer also extends his FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against del Potro to 16-5. Perhaps more impressive, the Swiss star adds del Potro's name to his list of defeated opponents during his comeback season, a ledger that also includes Top 10 players Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Rafael Nadal.

In the round of 16, Federer will try to add 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut to that list. The Spaniard came back to beat American Sam Querrey 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 55 minutes.

The third-round showdown between Federer and del Potro was their first meeting since the round-robin stage of the 2013 ATP Finals, but they renewed their rivalry with vigor from the start on Monday afternoon. Federer sought to stay away from del Potro's rocket forehand, targetting the backhand wing and seeking to catch del Potro favouring that side. Del Potro looked to crush his best stroke as often as he could.

But it was the 35-year-old Federer, as he has been all season long, who was more on point in front of a packed and boisterous crowd on Stadium Court. After failing to convert two break points at 3-2, Federer seized the occasion in the eighth game, ripping a forehand past del Potro, who left a backhand slice too short to challenge Federer.

Serving at 5-3, the fourth-seeded Swiss erased four break points and finished the set with a backhand drop shot that del Potro could only watch. Federer didn't wait long to break in the second set, taking advantage of his first opportunity to go up 3-2. One break was all he would need as he served out their 20th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting to love.

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