Juan Martin del Potro continued to be the story of the Rio Olympic tennis event. Just 16 hours after stunned top ranked Novak Djokovic in about 2.5 hours, del Potro was back on court and needed to go the distance to put away the stubborn Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
“Last night I went to bed at 4:30 in the morning,” del Potro said. “Today I was having breakfast at nine o’clock,” said the Argentine whose build-up to his match with Djokovic on Sunday had been marked by him getting stranded in an elevator for 40 minutes.
“I still can’t believe I beat Djokovic and had to play again so soon. And I can’t believe I’ll have to play doubles later today. It is very hard, but we’ll do what we can.”
Del Potro later played in the men’s doubles with Maximo Gonzalez in the second but lost in 2.5 hours to Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.
“I am going slowly, I am trying to get better every day and I think I am doing well,” added del Potro.
Taro Daniel booked a spot opposite del Potro on Wednesday by defeating Brit Kyle Edmund.
Gael Monfils stayed hot winning for his 11th time in his last 12 cruising past Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Siva 6-2, 6-4. US Open champion Marin Cilic will be next for Monfils on Wednesday in the third round.
In the late match, Australian John Millman stormed out to a 5-2 lead in the first set and led 4-0 in the breaker but it wasn’t enough as Kei Nishikori got into gear and won it 7-6(4), 6-4.
Andrey Martin was the beneficiary of a stress fracture to the right foot of Philipp Kohlschreiber and Roberta Bautista Agut moved on with a won over Paolo Lorenzi of Italy.
The lone surprise on the day was Newport finalist Gilles Muller, who was the flagbearer from Luxembourg, sending out Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-3. Tsonga had to receive treatment for a toe injury during the match while Muller cracked 14 aces and 36 winners.
In a late doubles, Novak Djokovic and partner Nenad Zimonjic lost in the doubles to the third seeded Brazilian team of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares 6-4, 6-4. Unless Djokovic plays mixed doubles, his bid for a gold in Rio is over.
On Tuesday, the last eight second round matches are slated for completion. Andy Murray returns to face veteran Argentine and then Rafael Nadal follows against Italian 32-year-old Andreas Seppi.
TUESDAY RIO OLYMPICS SCHEDULE
starting at 10:45
(7) KEYS Madison (USA) vs (9) SUAREZ NAVARRO Carla (ESP)
MONACO Juan (ARG) vs (2) MURRAY Andy (GBR)
(3) NADAL Rafael (ESP) vs SEPPI Andreas (ITA)
not before 18:45
(1) WILLIAMS Serena (USA) vs (15) SVITOLINA Elina (UKR)
(11) CUEVAS Pablo (URU) vs BELLUCCI Thomaz (BRA)
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