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Preview: Del Potro Returns To Action Wednesday; Rafa & Felix Face Off

Juan Martin del Potro makes his long-awaited return to the singles court as he takes on Laslo Djere on Day 4 at the Mutua Madrid Open. Twelve second-round matches will take place on Wednesday. Five-time Madrid champion Rafael Nadal faces #NextGenATP star Felix Auger-Aliassime and defending champion Alexander Zverev battles David Ferrer in the Spaniard’s final tournament.
Del Potro, seeded seventh, is playing just his second tournament since suffering a fractured right kneecap last October at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. His draw isn’t kind as he opens against one of the most difficult unseeded opponents he could face in Djere. The Serbian won his first ATP Tour title this February at the Rio Open presented by Claro (d. Auger-Aliassime) and advanced to the semi-finals last month at the Hungarian Open.
Read: At 23, Djere Is Without Parents, But Not Without Hope
“I’m feeling good progress. I’m progressing day after day,” said del Potro. “For me to be here in this tournament is another step in order of my build-up towards my final recovery, in order to be at full strength and really fit.”

Second seed Nadal will need to be ready for his battle of experience against youth with Auger-Aliassime. The 18-year-old, who defeated fellow #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the first round, reached a clay-court final earlier this year in Rio de Janeiro (l. to Djere). But the Spaniard has always excelled in Madrid and boasts an impressive 47-8 record at this event.

“[Felix] is a complicated opponent,” said Nadal. “He’s young. He’s played a couple of matches on clay this year already so he’s going to be a difficult opponent. So, at the end, for him here, everything is more even, due to the altitude, the conditions.”

Who will win the first @FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting between these players?#MMOpen
— ATP Tour (@ATP_Tour) May 8, 2019
Third seed Zverev will confront Ferrer after the former World No. 3 prevailed against Roberto Bautista Agut on Tuesday to extend his run in his farewell tournament. The German leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 4-3, but Ferrer won their most recent clash this March at the Miami Open presented by Itau.
Other notable matches on Wednesday include sixth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan against Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien, eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece taking on Adrian Mannarino of France and Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland squaring off with Guido Pella of Argentina.


MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 noon
2 WTA matches
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [WC] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) vs [2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) 
Not Before 8:00 pm
WTA match
Not Before 9:30 pm
ATP – [WC] David Ferrer (ESP) vs [3] Alexander Zverev (GER) 

ARANTXA SANCHEZ start 12:00 noon
ATP – [6] Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs [Q] Hugo Dellien (BOL) 
ATP – Laslo Djere (SRB) vs [7] Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 
ATP – [8] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs [LL] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 
ATP – [13] Borna Coric (CRO) or Lucas Pouille (FRA) vs [Q] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs [11] Karen Khachanov (RUS) 
STADIUM 3 start 12:00 noon
WTA match
ATP – Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs Guido Pella (ARG) 
Not Before 4:00 pm
2 WTA matches
ATP – Wesley Koolhof (NED) / Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs [5] Nikola Mektic (CRO) / Franko Skugor (CRO)  
COURT 4 start 12:00 noon
4 WTA matches
ATP – Robin Haase (NED) / Raven Klaasen (RSA) vs [2] Lukasz Kubot (POL) / Marcelo Melo (BRA) 
COURT 5 start 12:00 noon
ATP – Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 
Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – Marton Fucsovics (HUN) vs [15] Gael Monfils (FRA) 
ATP – [10] Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs John Millman (AUS) or Steve Johnson (USA) 
ATP – [3] Jamie Murray (GBR) / Bruno Soares (BRA) vs Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) / Kei Nishikori (JPN) 
ATP – [6] Oliver Marach (AUT) / Mate Pavic (CRO) vs Maximo Gonzalez (ARG) / Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 
COURT 6 start 12:00 noon
WTA match
ATP – Jeremy Chardy (FRA) vs Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 
WTA match
ATP – [Alt] Austin Krajicek (USA) / Artem Sitak (NZL) vs [WC] Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) / Jaume Munar (ESP) 
ATP – [8] Henri Kontinen (FIN) / John Peers (AUS) vs Guido Pella (ARG) / Joao Sousa (POR) 
ATP – Kyle Edmund (GBR) / Neal Skupski (GBR) vs Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) / Horia Tecau (ROU) 
Source: ATP World Tour

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