ATP Stuttgart: Juan Martin Del Potro, Taylor Fritz score big wins while seeds struggle

A full slate of first round matches were completed on Tuesday in Stuttgart, with a handful of big names and seeded players getting their 2016 clay court campaigns underway. Here’s what happened on day two at the Mercedes Cup.

Results

There were high expectations for the first round blockbuster between former Wimbledon semifinalists Juan Martin Del Potro and Grigor Dimitrov. Both men have struggled of late, for entirely different reasons, making this an intriguing first round clash. However, the match hardly lived up to the hype, as Del Potro cruised past the struggling Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2. The 2009 US Open champion, who has struggled with a wrist injury for most of the period since his big title, put on a serving clinic, pounding 12 aces, only losing two points on his first serve and not allowing a single break point in the victory. He scored three breaks of his own, one in the first and two in the second, to seal the victory in an hour in nine minutes.

Up-and-coming American Taylor Fritz scored an impressive win by battling from a set down and saving a match point, going on to win 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-1 over Frenchman Fabrice Martin. Fritz was strong on serve throughout the match, although he surrendered the lone break of the opening set which gave it to the Frenchman. The second set was tight, and Martin held match point at 6-5, in the tiebreak. But Fritz saved it and turned the momentum around by winning the breaker and dominating the final set. The 18-year-old only dropped one point on serve in the final set, breaking three times to roll to the victory. He finished with an impressive 19 aces, while Martin had 16.

Taylor Fritz stretches for a volley in Stuttgart. Photo: Getty Images
Taylor Fritz stretches for a volley in Stuttgart. Photo: Getty Images

The seeds fared poorly on day two, with three of the top eight crashing out. The biggest upset was recent French Open doubles champion Feliciano Lopez, who fell in straight sets to Mikhail Youzhny. After dropping the opening set in a tiebreak, the Spaniard surrendered the lone break of the second set on the only break point for either player in the set. Sixth seed Viktor Troicki also went down in straight sets, losing 6-4, 7-6(4) to local qualifier Florian Mayer

Eighth seed Lucas Pouille was also a casualty on day two, losing in three sets to Aussie John Millman. The Frenchman had nine aces, but eight double faults and could not break serve after the opening set, as Millman scored a break in each of the last two sets to pull the upset. The only seed to survive the exodus was seventh seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, who delighted the home crowd with a routine straight-sets victory over Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

In other action, qualifier Sergei Stakhovsky advanced when Jan Choinski retired after the first set, while Jan-Lennard Struff battled back for a three-set win over Marcos Baghdatis. American Denis Kudla scored a blowout win over Dusan Lajovic with the loss of just two games, and Radek Stapanek toughed out a three-set win over Denis Istomin in just over two hours.

The second round gets underway tomorrow, with the return from a back injury for Roger Federer, who will contest a blockbuster with Fritz.  

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