ATP Miami: Roger Federer impresses in third-round victory over Juan Martín del Potro

ATP Miami: Roger Federer impresses in third-round victory over Juan Martín del Potro

World number six Roger Federer remained hot at the 2017 Miami Open with a victory over Juan Martín del Potro in the third round. The fourth seed will face Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round.

jake-best
Jake Best

In a highly anticipated third round clash, fourth-seeded Roger Federer defeated Juan Martín del Potro 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 22 minutes to advance to the round-of-16 at the 2017 Miami Open.

The victory moves the Swiss number two to 15-1 in his 2017 campaign. The two-time Miami Open champion earned his 16th career victory over the Argentine, who was looking for only his sixth victory over Federer.

Both fan favorites impressed in their respective second round matches, with Federer dispatching young American Frances Tiafoe and del Potro moving past Robin Hasse on Saturday.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion was superb on serve once again, winning 80 percent of his first service points and saving all five breaks points he faced. Federer has won 14 sets in a row, having not lost a set since playing in Dubai in February.

The number four seed in Miami will face 16th seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round in Miami. Federer owns a 5-0 career head-to-head advantage over the Spanish number two.

The main stadium at the Crandon Park Tennis Center was packed for this clash. Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images
The main stadium at the Crandon Park Tennis Center was packed for this clash. Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Federer’s serve bails him out to seal first set

After both stars won their respective second round matches on Saturday, all eyes shifted toward this monumental third round matchup.

Entering the contest, the two fan favorites had faced off 20 times in the past, with the 18-time Grand Slam champ owning a 15-5 head-to-head over the the former world number four.

However, del Potro’s biggest victory came on arguably the biggest stage, with the Argentine defeating the Swiss to claim his only Grand Slam title in the 2009 U.S. Open men’s final.

Entering this match, Federer continued to ride the unimaginable success he’s had so far in 2017, losing only one match to go with two titles. Del Potro has kept his schedule light as he continues to recover from wrist surgeries.

As if the Swiss Maestro's victory at the 2017 Australian Open wasn’t enough, his title at the 2017 BNP Paribas Open proved to the tennis world that the Swiss superstar is a force to be reckon with once again.

Both players held serve comfortably earlier on, but it was Federer who applied more pressure. With his newfound confidence in his backhand return, the fourth seed put pressure on the del Potro serve, yet the Argentine remained strong.

However, in the eight game, Federer finally broke on his fifth break point chance of the set. It seemed the Swiss would close the set out easily on serve.

The Argentine tried to turn the tides, yet Federer saved all four break chances in the game, and with a clean drop shot, the world number six claimed the first set 6-3 in 38 minutes.

del Potro's serve was strong on Monday. However, Federer was able to set up opportunities by attacking the Argentine's weaker second serve. Credit: Miami Open/Twitter
Del Potro's serve was strong on Monday. However, Federer was able to set up opportunities by attacking the Argentine's weaker second serve. Credit: Miami Open/Twitter

Federer cruises into fourth round

After claiming the first set, it seemed inevitable that the former world number one would be able to edge out his rival. This proved to be correct, as Federer broke del Potro in the fifth game of the second set for a 3-2 lead, and the fourth seed rode the break out to victory.

Del Potro did not give up, however, as he gave the Swiss Maestro a fight until the last point. However, the Swiss’ serve continued to dominate and get him out of trouble.

In the end, the 18-time Grand Slam champion was just too good for del Potro.

The Argentine called the trainer about halfway through the second set for a look at his wrist, so it is possible that the injury that has plagued his career flared up once again.

Next up for the Fed-Express is Bautista-Agut, someone to whom he’s yet to lose in five tries.

The number four seed and two-time champion seeks to complete the elusive Australian Open-Indian Wells-Miami trifecta, something world number two Novak Djokovic accomplished the last two seasons.

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