• Del Potro takes on Nieminen at Monte-Carlo Masters

    4/17/13 5:26 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Del Potro takes on Nieminen at Monte-Carlo Masters Juan Martin Del Potro will continue his Monte-Carlo campaign on Thursday. Up next for the world No. 7 is Jarkko Nieminen.

    Juan Martin Del Potro and Jarkko Nieminen will be going head-to-head for the sixth time in their careers when they meet in round three of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Thursday afternoon.

    Del Potro has dominated all five of their previous encounters, including one on clay (at the Challenger level). The Argentine lost a total of eight games in a pair of 2008 clashes, one in Tokyo and the next just a few weeks later in Madrid. They most recently faced each other two months ago indoors in Rotterdam, where Del Potro beat Nieminen 6-3, 6-4.

    Both players have already been on the brink in Monte-Carlo, which is not too surprising in Nieminen's case given that he was an underdog in his most recent match. After hammering Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-2, the 49th-ranked Finn won nine fewer points than Milos Raonic on Wednesday but managed to prevail 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(3). Nieminen is a stellar 16-8 for his 2013 campaign.

    Following a first-round bye as the No. 5 seed, Del Potro trailed Alexandr Dolgopolov by a set and a break on Tuesday before storming back to win 1-6, 6-4, 6-3. The Argentine, who finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells, is 17-5 for the season.

    As their past history suggests, this is not a good matchup for the underdog. Nieminen would prefer to face a one-dimensional big server whom he can break down with his stellar return game or a passive baseliner with whom he can battle from the back of the court all day long. Del Potro, on the other hand, should once again overpower Nieminen with massive groundstrokes.

    Count on Del Potro, who will feel more comfortable having finally won his first-ever main-draw match at this event, to advance in straight sets.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
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