The last of the first-round action, featuring 12 singles matches, will be played on Delray Beach on Tuesday. Top-seed Juan Martin del Potro will open his tournament campaign as well on the day. Here is then previewing a few of these first-round match-ups, including that of the Argentine.
Delray Beach Day 2 Predictions
Steve Johnson vs Jason Jung
Both players come into this tournament on the back of contrasting results at the New York Openk. The third-seeded Johnson was ousted in his opening round by eventual finalist Brayden Schnur in three sets. Jung, meanwhile, reached the quarterfinals after having upset another American – and the second seed – Frances Tiafoe in the second round.
Beyond the scope of the New York Open, both Johnson and Jung have played three matches each in 2019. But where the former is yet to win a match, Jung is relatively better poised at 2-1. Given their respective trajectory so far, the 29-year-old from Chinese Taipei looks like he would get by the American, who is clearly struggling with his form.
Prediction: Jung in 3
Daniel Evans vs Frances Tiafoe
This will be the first meeting between these two players. Evans made it to the main draw after coming through the qualifiers while Tiafoe is the third seed at the event. The Briton, who continues to divide the public with his opinion, has been quite a worker bee this year, as far as his game is concerned. Making it to the main draw of the 2019 Australian Open after working his way from the qualifiers, Evans reached the second round (lost to Roger Federer). Post that run, he reached the final of the ATP Challenger event in Quimper where French player Gregoire Barrere got the better of him.
Tiafoe’s best run this year – up to this point – came at the Australian Open, where he stunned Kevin Anderson and Grigor Dimitrov along the way to reach his first Major quarterfinal. Poor results, however, bookend his Australian Open performance on either side. Last week, as mentioned above, he lost his opening-round match to Jung at the New York Open. And while it may seem too soon to predict gloom for the youngster, he does need another impressive run to bolster his credentials. Could that happen against Evans?
Prediction: Evans in 2
Tennys Sandgren vs Riley Opelka
Sandgren versus Opelka is the one of the two all-American first-round clashes in Delray Beach (the other being Mackenzie McDonald versus Taylor Fritz). While Sandgren won the Auckland Open to start the year, it is Opelka who heads into the tournament on a five-match winning streak – courtesy of his title run at the New York Open last week.
Although this will be the first meeting between the compatriots, Opelka’s recent form pegs him as the favourite to win this clash.
Prediction: Opelka in 3
Juan Martin del Potro vs Yoshihito Nishioka
Juan Martin del Potro has continued to maintain his place as the World #4 without even opening his 2019 season. Playing in Delray Beach, his first tournament of the calendar, then, holds bigger significance than merely shoring up his rankings further.
The Argentine is on a comeback after suffering an injury to his right patella (knee cap) in late 2018, which ended his season immediately. Then, against Nishioka, a first-time opponent for him, del Potro faces a tough task. Not only does the 23-year-old have a strong lefty forehand, his court coverage is also impressively faster which could neutralize del Potro’s game. Nonetheless, this is the kind of match that del Potro needs to put him on stride on the Tour.
Prediction: del Potro in 2
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