It might be just the third tournament of 2019 for Argentine Juan Martin del Potro due to a right knee injury, but the 'Tower of Tandil' showed no rust on Thursday in his first match of the day at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. Del Potro ousted 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up David Goffin 6-4, 6-2 to reach the third round.
Del Potro broke the Belgian's serve four times in his one-hour, 18-minute victory, and he will face Aussie Nick Kyrgios or #NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud, who are still competing on an adjoining court, later Thursday.
Last week, in his first clay-court event of the season at the Mutua Madrid Open, Del Potro lost his opening match against Rio de Janeiro champion Laslo Djere. But the seventh seed was always in control against Goffin, losing just five first-serve points against the former World No. 7 while winning 73 per cent of his second-serve return points.
Del Potro did well to not allow the 28-year-old to find any rhythm, capitalising on Goffin's errors and feeding off the packed crowd on Court 4. In his only other tournament of the year, Del Potro made the quarter-finals in Delray Beach.
Did You Know?
Entering their match in Rome, Goffin led Del Potro 3-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, with Del Potro's only previous win coming on an indoor hard court in Basel three years ago.