Tearful Del Potro nears retirement, exits Argentina Open

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BUENOS AIRES — Juan Martin del Potro lost in what appeared to be a farewell match in front of his home fans at the Argentina Open tournament.

The 33-year-old, who had not played since 2019 due to injuries, was eliminated by compatriot and friend Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-3 in an emotional match in Buenos Aires. Del Potro was already in tears as the final game unraveled.

The Argentinian said in a press conference he will decide whether he will play at the Rio Open tournament in Brazil next week.

“I will speak to doctors again. I have to take care of my knee and then we will see,” said Del Potro, who did not rule out a full return to the circuit. “I will always leave the window open,” he said.

“(But) if today was the last time I will leave happy,” the Argentinian said.

Once ranked as high as No. 3 in the world, Del Potro told fans after the match his decision was motivated by his health problems.

“This is the moment I hoped would never come,” he said. “I don’t have the strength to go ahead. I gave it all.” Minutes later, Del Potro placed his headband on the net as emotional fans chanted.

Del Potro, who has also won the 2016 Davis Cup and a silver medalist at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in the same year, has had multiple wrist and knee surgeries in the past decade.

About 5,000 fans showed up to watch Del Potro, one of Argentina’s best tennis players in history, alongside Guillermo Villas and Gabriela Sabatini.

Delbonis, the 6th seed of the tournament, will face Spain’s Pablo Andujar in the round-of-16 of the Argentina Open on Thursday.

Top seed Casper Ruud of Norway will play on Wednesday against Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.