Juan Martin Del Potro has struggled on clay of late, but this year’s French Open could change all that. A favourable draw accompanied with the arsenal of the fifth seed is a formidable force to face for anyone at Roland Garros.
Del Potro’s Roland Garros so far
The Argentine simply overpowered his opponents in the first two rounds. Nicolas Mahut put up a fight taking the first set 6-1, however was eventually beaten comfortably. Fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau was backed by a Partisan crowd, but even that couldn’t halt Del Potro from a straight sets victory.
His powerful serve and forehand were on show as he progressed into the third round of Roland Garros. He will now face Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The pair have only faced each other once, back in 2013, with the “Tower of Tandil” coming out on top in the first round of Wimbledon.
Back to his best
Del Potro will be pleased with his 2018 form so far. A Indian Wells title along with the Acapulco Open showed he still has what it takes to taste glory once again. A semi-final appearance at Miami was a step too far as he met an in form John Isner.
Despite, poor results in Madrid and Rome the world number #6, he can take inspiration from his year form to date.
He has impressively progressed up the world rankings and beaten the likes of Roger Federer, Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev on tour this year. If he can continue his hard court form into Roland Garros, he should reach the second week without a struggle.
Clay Form Needs Improvement
Injury once again has plagued the 29 year-old this year as he retired in the last 16 of Rome against David Goffin. A set down in the match, but 5-4 up in the second was too much with a groin problem to play with.
Another setback was his performance at the Madrid Masters. A Round of 16 exit to Dusan Lajovic was a surprise and showed that clay doesn’t suit his best tennis.
In fact, Del Potro has struggled on clay for a number of years. His best performance at the French Open was in 2009, losing in the semifinals (in five sets, to Roger Federer).
The 6’6′ giant has only reached two clay court event quarterfinals in the last two years, in Rome and Munich–a feat he will hope to beat this week at the French Open.
Del Potro needs to continue his 2018 form while at Roland Garros and he could reach at least semifinals. A likely meeting with Rafael Nadal would be a feast for the eyes on a clay court.