Juan Martin Del Potro continues his comeback today in San Jose against fellow US Open champion Lleyton Hewitt. Del Potro, who cruised yesterday in a 6-1, 7-6 win over Luckas Lacko, is appearing in his first ATP quarterfinal match Friday in almost a year.
Since injuring his wrist in January 2010 and missing eight months of the season last year, Del Potro has slowly been working his way back into form.
“Every morning when I wake up I feel very different sensations with my body, with my mind, but I’m happy to be in the tournament again since a year out,” he said. “I’m improving my game slowly, but I’m still improving, so that’s important for the future, for the season too.
“I don’t know if I’ll be Top 10 again, but I’m working to get as good as I can,” the 484th-ranked Argentine added. “My wrist is getting better day by day.”
Del Potro and his childhood idol Hewitt have split their two prior meetings, both in 2009. Their match begins at about 8pm ET.
In a battle of 20-year-old future stars in San Jose this afternoon, Milos Raonic and Richard Berankis meet. The Canadian Raonic who at 6’5″ is about six inches taller than Berankis, has been the breakout star this year along with Alexander Dolgopolov.
Top seed Fernando Verdasco is also in action against Denis Istomin and No. 2 Gael Monfils plays American wildcard Tim Smyczek.
In the semifinals at the Brazil Open, Dolgopolov plays Ricardo Mello, Nicolas Almagro challenges Juan Igancio Chela.
In Rotterdam, Ivan Ljubicic is already through to the semifinals after a 7-6 third set tiebreak win over Marcos Baghdatis. The Croat awaits the winner of the Tomas Berdych-Tsonga match. Robin Soderling and Mikhail Youhzny are just underway while Marin Cilic’s match against Viktor Troicki follows.
And at the WTA event in Paris, Kim Clijsters will take the court in a short while needing just a win over Jelena Dokic to return to the No. 1 ranking on Monday.
SAN JOSE ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, 11 FEBRUARY, 2011
CENTER COURT start 11:15 am
S Lipsky (USA) / R Ram (USA) vs  E Butorac (USA) / J Rojer (AHO)
Not Before 1:00 PM
R Berankis (LTU) vs M Raonic (CAN)
Not Before 3:30 PM
[WC] T Smyczek (USA) vs  G Monfils (FRA)
Not Before 5:00 PM
J Del Potro (ARG) vs  L Hewitt (AUS)
Not Before 7:00 PM
 F Verdasco (ESP) vs  D Istomin (UZB)
 M Knowles (BAH) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs J Del Potro (ARG) / S Querrey (USA)
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
How hilarious and/or sad are all the “feature stories” on the “depth” and “international appeal” of women’s tennis now that there are players from 10 different countries in the Top 10 for the first time? Write the REAL story, that the Top 10 is full of average players who shouldn’t be there because a slew of top players are injured — Justine Henin (who just retired again due to her injuries), Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova (out of the Top 10 due to injury), Dinara Safina (out of the Top 10 due to a back injury), Ana Ivanovic (out of the Top 10 due to various injuries), Martina Hingis (who should be playing but retired with injury), Jennifer Capriati (same), Monica Seles (same), Mary Pierce (same), Anna Kournikova (same), etc. ‘Women’s tennis is so deep and balanced!’ Give us a break. Dumbasses. From a Bleacher Report story: “Whatever happens, tennis is as exciting and global as it ever was before, and it’s only going to get stronger. From the Americans and Europe to Asia and Australia, we’re lucky to be witnesses to this part of tennis history. The future looks bright, and we’re at the center of it.” — Really? The future looks bright for American and Australian tennis? You must work for the USTA or Tennis Australia and are looking to keep your job. That future looks like shite. For the longevity of players’ careers? The current savior of high-level tennis, Kim Clijsters, is only playing after a mini-retirement due to the fact her body was breaking down. The Williams sisters’ bodies have been breaking down on them for the last few years. Once the Williams sisters are done, the shite will hit the fan in the U.S…Rafael Nadal won the prestigious Laureus Sportsman of the Year award last Tuesday, following Roger Federer who won it four straight times from 2005-08. “It is very important personal satisfaction,” Nadal told CNN. “This nomination is voted for by the world of sport…the best sportsmen and sportswomen in the world voted for me, it’s a real honor. It was an emotional season for me, probably the most emotional of my career, so thank you very much for everyone who made this possible for me.”…If the Williams sisters are not healthy in April, the U.S. is looking at getting knocked out of the Fed Cup World Group by Germany…Maria Sharapova has pulled out of Dubai with a virus she first was hit with during Fed Cup…Kim Clijsters would become the first mother to rank No. 1 on the WTA computer…Rafael Nadal says he has resumed training, saying on his website: “So far, everything feels good. This is the first time back I can really assess how I feel as the previous days have been all about physical training. I need to follow a specific progressive training plan so that I can adapt slowly and get back to the same rhythm I had before this happened to me.”…Ana Ivanovic and coach Antonio Van Grichen are no more. Have a coaching relationship, that is.
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