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  • Nieminen upsets Del Potro in another third-set tiebreaker

    4/18/13 6:26 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Nieminen upsets Del Potro in another third-set tiebreaker Jarkko Nieminen outlasts Juan Martin Del Potro in three sets on Thursday in Monte-Carlo. Nieminen will go up against Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

    Jarkko Nieminen has been the marathon man in Monte-Carlo.

    One day after outlasting Milos Raonic in a third-set tiebreaker, Nieminen did the same in a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4) upset of Juan Martin Del Potro during third-round action at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Thursday. The 31-year-old fired 51 winners to his opponent's 40 as he prevailed after two hours and 37 minutes.

    Nieminen had never won a single set in five previous matches against Del Potro, but the Finn wasted no time getting off to fast start in this one. He won the first three games, mainly thanks to break at 1-0 that he converted with a crushing forehand winner. Nieminen gave it back with the pressure on at 5-3, but he earned one more break to end the set with another powerful forehand.

    Del Potro fought back in the second, which was decided by just a single break. The seventh-ranked Argentine seized it at 1-1 when Nieminen's first serve betrayed him. Del Potro saved all three of the break points he faced to make his advantage stand up and a tough hold at 5-4 forced a decider.

    If this contest had already been back-and-forth, the third was an absolute roller-coaster. Del Potro won two straight games for 2-0, Nieminen went on a streak of four to surge ahead 4-2, then Del Potro took two in a row for 5-4. Monte-Carlo's No. 5 seed failed to serve it out in the 10th game but fought off one match point in the 12th game and managed to force a tiebreaker.

    More of the same continued in the 'breaker, which was a game of streaks. Nieminen raced to 3-0 lead, fell behind 4-3 by losing four points in succession, then won four in a row of his own to clinch the huge victory. The world No. 49 could do almost no wrong as he swung for the fences, trying--not always with success--to end points short but often being forced to endure grueling rallies. Del Potro, also struggling physically, called for a trainer down 5-4 in the tiebreaker but played on instead of waiting and lost the final two points with groundstroke errors.

    Nieminen advances to face world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals, where both men may have to persevere through more adversity. Djokovic, hobble by an ankle injury, has required two three-setters to stay in the tournament.



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