Del Potro makes winning return to Cincinnati

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[August 16, 2017]  (Reuters) - Juan Martin del Potro made a winning return to the Cincinnati Open on Tuesday when the Argentine ground out a 3-6 7-6(1) 6-0 victory over 10th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych to reach the second round on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old, back in Cincinnati after a four-year absence from the U.S. Open warmup event, powered down 17 aces to rally past Berdych after he surrendered the opening set following a listless start.

Berdych found his rhythm early in the match and broke Del Potro for a 3-1 lead and did not lose a point on his powerful serve until the 10th game.

But as Del Potro, a semi-finalist at the tournament in 2012 and 2013, worked his way back into the match, Berdych slowly began to lose confidence and failed to win a single game in the deciding set.

"During the second set, in the end, I played my best tennis," 2009 U.S. Open champion Del Potro told reporters. "I hit so sure with my forehand. I made good serves and I took all my chances to win.

"Mentally, I was strong enough to keep fighting and I think he got down after losing that second set. Then, when I broke his serve early in the third (set), my game started improving and I played much better than him."

Del Potro advances to meet American qualifier Mitchell Krueger in the second round.

Australian Nick Kyrgios also opened his campaign with a welcome victory as the world number 23 beat Belgian ninth seed David Goffin 6-2 6-3 in the afternoon heat to reach the second round.

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Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) returns a shot against Tomas Berdych (CZE) during the Western and Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center. Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Other than in the first game when he had to climb out of a 0-40 hole, Kyrgios experienced few problems on serve and even secured three breaks against Goffin, who had to take a medical time out for a knee injury during the match.

"He obviously wasn't at 100 percent today but you know I'm not at 100 percent either, so it was a bit of a battle," said Kyrgios, who has struggled with an array of injuries throughout the season.

"But I served well at crucial moments. I'm feeling okay. I think as long as I can keep putting in performances like these and being able to compete I think I'm okay."

In other action, third seed Dominic Thiem of Austria was barely tested in his 6-3 6-2 second-round win over Italy's Fabio Fognini, while Jack Sock beat fellow American Tommy Paul 6-3 6-3 to reach the round of 16.

Earlier in the day, big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, the sixth seed, announced his withdrawal from the tournament due to a lingering left wrist injury.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in Tampa, Florida; Editing by Toby Davis/John O'Brien)

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