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Del Potro vs Chung tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – New world no. 3 del Potro under injury cloud at the Cincinnati Masters

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 16 Aug 2018
  • Juan Martin del Potro faces Hyeon Chung in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters on Thursday
  • Del Potro vs Chung is live from Cincinnati on Thursday, 16 August at 1:00pm local/6:00pm BST
Juan Martin del Potro (PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)

At a career-high ranking of world no. 3 but dogged by new injury woes, Juan Martin del Potro begins his Cincinnati Masters campaign against Hyeon Chung on Thursday.

Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung takes aim at fourth seed Juan Martin del Potro in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters.

The bad old days: Del Potro nurses his left wrist in 2013  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
In one sense, del Potro comes into the seventh Masters 1000 Series event of the year on a literal high – a career-high ranking of world no. 3, overtaking Alexander Zverev this week despite not having played the Canada Masters thanks to Zverev’s failure to defend his Toronto title.

The ranking is a recognition of what del Potro has achieved since returning, ranked outside the top 1,000, from a virtual two-year absence from competition in February 2016, and in a literal sense, a reflection of what he has achieved over the past 12 months: Semifinal appearances at the US Open in 2017 and the French Open in 2018, a first Masters 1000 Series title at Indian Wells, titles in Stockholm and Acapulco and runner-up finishes in Basel, Auckland and most recently Los Cabos.

With a 55-14 record over the past 52 weeks and 35-9 so far in 2018, del Potro has certainly become an impressively consistent performer, even if he hasn’t come close to winning a second Grand Slam title to join the US Open crown he claimed all the way back in 2009. 

But as is always the case with del Potro, whose tremendous career is still dwarfed by the spectre of the one he might have had had he not required multiple surgeries on both wrists, a career peak is followed by at least the threat of an ensuing abyss. Although del Potro has gone 7-2 in his last two tournaments, reaching the quarterfinals of Wimbledon before losing to Rafael Nadal in a five-set epic and then finishing runner-up to Fabio Fognini in Los Cabos – a title that seemed nailed on for the Argentine to win – he pulled out of the Canada Masters last week with a sore left wrist. That’s the wrist in which tendonitis led to that two-year absence from competition, requiring multiple surgeries to correct and necessitating a totally new approach to the backhand from the Argentine.

Under the circumstances, del Potro comes into the Cincinnati Masters at a career-high ranking but under a heavy cloud of foreboding and it’s entirely possible more eyes will be on the Argentine’s left wrist, or every grimace he makes, than the actual play or the scoreline as he takes the court to face Hyeon Chung on Thursday.

Hyeon Chung (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Chung has also found a career peak followed by injury issues in 2018, although to a much less dramatic extent. The South Korean’s memorable run to the Australian Open semifinals, defeating Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev on the way, ended with a whimper when he was forced to retire against Roger Federer due to severe blisters, which saw him pull out of scheduled February events. A quarterfinalist at both Indian Wells and Miami, Chung thereafter struggled with a back injury that saw him play just two clay-court events, skipping the French Open, and miss the entire grass-court season. 

Chung got wins in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. but pulled out of the Canada Masters last week, where he was scheduled to play Djokovic. And although he got a first-round win in Cincinnati, there’s good reason not to read too much into that: That win came over Jack Sock, who is mired in a tremendous slump on the singles court and came into the match on a seven-match losing streak, handily extended to eight matches by Chung, who came back from a set down to win 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. 

Del Potro and Chung have never played, but Chung’s win over Sock could be taken to bode well for a clash with the Argentine, who like Sock has a game built around a big serve and a big forehand (which he partly utilizes to protect a weaker backhand). Del Potro is a very different calibre of player, however, an he is certainly capable of overwhelming a player like Chung, whose strengths are his movement and his ability to hit deep with incredible consistency in the face of power, with explosive first-strike tennis – but only if he is executing at a very high level. With the questions surrounding the state of his wrist, that might be too much to expect from the world no. 3 on Wednesday.

Del Potro vs Chung second-round tennis is live from Cincinnati on Thursday at 1:00pm local/6:00pm BST

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Del Potro vs Chung tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – New world no. 3 del Potro under injury cloud at the Cincinnati Masters

Hyeon Chung vs Juan Martin del Potro live streaming, preview and predictions for the Cincinnati Masters second-round match on WThursday, 16 August 2018: Australian Open semifinalist Chung out to oust del Potro, who seems to be suffering a recrudescence of his wrist problems

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