Yesterday evening under the lights of the L.A. Tennis Center, fans were treated to the most anticipated matchup of the draw, a second round clash between number two seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina and James Blake of the United States at the Farmers Classic. For Blake, this is the second consecutive week where he’s caught an unlucky draw, falling to John Isner in the early rounds of Atlanta in a tight three set match. Even though Blake was dubbed the extreme underdog in this match, he didn’t go down without a fight. The two monster forehands on display were a scary, yet beautiful, thing to watch. Del Potro, however, proved to be too much for Blake to handle, taking the match in a respectable straight set victory, 6-4, 7-6(3).
Up next for Del Potro is Ernests Gulbis of Latvia in the quarterfinals where Del Potro will surely be favored to come through to the semis. The heavy hitting Argentine won this tournament back in 2008, so he is more than capable of winning it again. Del Potro looks to be just about fully recovered from a wrist injury that sidelined him for nearly a year, dropping his ranking down to as low as 474th in the world. He looks to be in near-top form and should be considered a serious threat during this U.S. Open Series.
“I think I’m still a little far from the top-10 players,” Del Potro said. “It’s a long road to get there. I was playing really well before I got here.”
There was only one upset during match play yesterday and it came in the match between number three seed Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus and Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Tapei, as Baghdatis was upset in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
Still left to play in the second round is American Mardy Fish who will take on Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. American Ryan Sweeting will do battle with Igor Kunitsyn, the number eight seed from Russia. Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria is seeded seventh and will take on American veteran Alex Bogomolov Jr. Lastly, Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, seeded number three, will go head-to-head with Alejandro Falla of Colombia.
The results for the remaining matches that took place are as follows:
►Ryan Harrison (USA) defeated Michael Russell (USA) 6-3, 6-4
►Ernests Gulbis (LAT) defeated Daniel Kosakowski (USA) 6-2, 6-4