Juan Martin del Potro kicked of his 2019 season and did so in winning fashion on Tuesday night, defeating Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 7-5 in the Delray Beach Open first round.
“It was a tough first round because Nishioka is a solid player from the baseline,” said del Potro. “But I played well in specific moments of the match. I need to keep working hard on my legs but I felt tired at the end of the second set, but that’s normal.”
Del Potro fired 12 aces and save three of the four break points he faced to move through in one hour and 50 minutes.
He takes on newly minted New York Open champion Reilly Opelka in the next round. Opelka followed up his victory on Long Island by taking out fellow American Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-0 on Tuesday.
Their compatriot, Frances Tiafoe, suffered his second straight defeat as Great Britain’s Daniel Evans came back to beat the Australian Open quarterfinalist 3-6, 7-6(1), 7-5.
Tiafoe held a 3-0 advantage in the third set but could not close the door, as Evans advanced to the second round after two hours and 16 minutes.
“I knew he was tough, but I definitely shouldn’t have lost tonight,” said Tiafoe, who was also upset in his only match at the New York Open, a straight-set defeat to Jason Jung. “I rushed a bit on big points. Very frustrating; unacceptable. I put myself in position to win. It’s a disappointing way to start the outdoor season, but it is what it is.”