PARIS (Reuters) – Juan Martin del Potro fired up his power game after a sluggish start to ease past Nicolas Jarry in an all-South American first round clash at the French Open on Tuesday.
The eighth seed, a semi-finalist last year, won 3-6 6-2 6-1 6-4, the four sets taking a little more than four hours.
“The conditions were difficult at the start with wind and some rain, and Nicolas played so strong, but after that I took control of the game and played better,” Argentine del Potro said on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Chilean Jarry, ranked 58th and a finalist in Geneva last week, was a potentially tough hurdle for Del Potro, who is in just his third tournament since yet another injury break, this time to his right knee.
In the opening set Chilean Jarry took advantage of a couple of gifts to break Del Potro’s opening service game and remained solid to pocket the opening set.
The 30-year-old Del Potro is not one to panic, however, and when three wayward forehands and then a Jarry double-fault handed Del Potro his first service break in the second game of the second set, the momentum quickly shifted.
It was one-way traffic after that as del Potro took charge to set up a second round clash with Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, who beat American Mackenzie McDonald in five sets.
“I’m just happy to be playing tennis again and to be in Paris after all my injuries,” said Del Potro who has missed a combined three years since 2010, mainly with wrist injuries. “I have great memories here.
“This tournament means a lot to the Argentine players and the fans. I’m excited to keep winning.”
Del Potro was joined in the second round by compatriot Federico Delbonis, who beat Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Hugh Lawson)