The marquee match of the day lived up to the billing in Acapulco with Novak Djokovic taking the last three games of his match against Juan Martin del Potro to win it 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours, 38 minutes.
After a tight first set which saw del Potro take the final break at 4-4, Djokovic seized control in the second racing out of a 5-2 lead, then hanging on to level.
But in the third it looked like del Potro would collect his second straight win over the Serb, breaking Djokovic to lead 4-2. However, Djokovic broke right back and took the last three games of the match for the win.
“I am very happy and proud to win this match, even though I was close to losing when he was serving at 4-3 up in the third set,” Djokovic said. “I just tried to get as many returns back in play as possible, which isn’t when he has a big serve and a massive forehand. It was very, very close with one or two points deciding the winner. I cannot believe that the stadium was full at 1 a.m., so I want to thank all the people who came to watch us and support tennis.
“I think I played well, and only in some situations maybe I didn’t play tactically correct. I didn’t make a lot of mistakes and I was getting a lot of extreme balls back. When del Potro hits his forehand and serve as hard as he does, no one can really be quick enough. I just tried to anticipate and in the important moments, in the final set, I got some important balls back.”
Djokovic now leads del Potro 12-4.
“I think the crowd enjoyed it very much,” del Potro who played a 3-setter the night before. “It has been another battle between the two of us and this time it ended up in Nole’s favor. I had my chances during the third set, but he stepped up his level and didn’t make any mistakes in the decisive moments. He deserved the win.
“There are always positives to take. The season just started for me and I have to keep working hard. I really hope that one day my rivals will play to the shot that now is my weakness and I can get back to the way I want to play.”
Djokovic is back on the court today against Nick Kyrgios in a first-time meeting. Kyrgios beat Donald Young yesterday.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal continues to look strong. Through two matches the 2-time tournament champion has dropped just nine games, after pummelling Paolo Lorenzi yesterday.
“I played a complete match today and I’m feeling great after a month without playing,” said Nadal. “I think I played a very solid match … some great shots, some good winners.”
Nadal now meets qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka.
Marin Cilic beat Borna Coric in three and Dominic Thiem took out Adrian Mannarino. Sam Querrey upset No. 5 seed David Goffin. Querrey will now face Thiem tonight.
THURSDAY ACAPULCO SCHEDULE
CANCHA CENTRAL start 4:00 pm
ATP – S. Johnson (USA) vs  M. Cilic (CRO)
ATP – [Q] Y. Nishioka (JPN) vs  R. Nadal (ESP)
ATP –  D. Thiem (AUT) vs S. Querrey (USA)
Not Before 10:00 pm
ATP –  [WC] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs  N. Kyrgios (AUS)
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