Del Potro dumped out of Japan Open by qualifier
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:46
US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro was unceremoniously dumped out of the Japan Open in the first round, losing to French qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4 6-4.
The Argentine, playing his first tournament since winning his first grand slam title against Roger Federer last month, refused to blame a stomach upset and jetlag after the shock defeat.
“I didn’t feel 100%,” admitted del Potro. “Everyone could see that. I had a little bit of jetlag and a stomach ache, but that’s not the reason I lost. The other guy played good tennis and took his opportunities.”
The world No.5, runner-up in last year’s Tokyo final, was let down by his booming forehand at crucial stages during the match.
A forehand blasted wide handed Roger-Vasselin the first set, before del Potro netted another in game six of the second set gift the French qualifier the lead.
The 21-year-old called for the trainer at the change of ends and was clearly uncomfortable as he trudged back out to receive in the next game, which Roger-Vasselin held to love.
The top seed’s ordeal was quickly over when he slammed another forehand out on the Frenchman’s first match point.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Roger-Vasselin after the biggest victory of his career. “I know him better than he knows me. That’s maybe how I won. I saw it was not a good day and thought ‘why not today?’ It was a great match for me.”
Earlier, former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt booked his spot in the last 16 with victory over Japan’s Tatsuma Ito 6-1 7-5.
“I had to dig deep to get out of that second set,” said the Australian, who won the Japan Open in 2001 after winning his first grand slam at the US Open that year.
“My focus now is on the Australian Open in January and getting myself in as good a nick as possible for that. The grand slams are still what drive me.”