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Del Potro vs McDonald ATP Delray Beach live streaming, preview and tips - Del Potro faces rising McDonald for semi-final spot

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 22 Feb 2019
  • Juan Martin del Potro vs Mackenzie McDonald is live from Delray Beach at 8.00pm local time on Friday (1.00am GMT, Saturday)
  • First career meeting between the pair
Juan Martin del Potro (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)

World No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro aims for the Delray Beach Open semi-finals on Friday night when he takes on the improving Mackenzie McDonald.

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Juan Martin del Potro continues his comeback from injury as he attempts to reach a fourth semi-final in Delray Beach against rising American Mackenzie McDonald on Friday night.

After easing his way back into competition with a scrappy but still straight sets win over Yoshihito Nishioka in the opening round, del Potro produced a much more clinical performance on Thursday against recently-crowned New York Open champion Reilly Opelka. The towering American was riding a six-match winning streak into the clash after claiming his maiden ATP title last week, but Opelka was made to look very much second best against del Potro, with the Argentine securing one break in each set to cruise to a 6-4 6-4 win. Del Potro didn’t face a break point throughout, breaking himself early in the opener and at 4-4 in the second when Opelka sent a backhand wide.

Competing in his first tournament since fracturing his right patella at the Shanghai Masters in October, del Potro has a lot of points to defend over the next month or so, namely his ATP 500 title in Acapulco next week and the Indian Wells Masters at the beginning of March, the maiden Masters 1000 crown he won in thrilling fashion over Roger Federer last season, saving match points before prevailing in a deciding set tiebreaker.

Those titles were part of del Potro’s best season since he captured his one and only Grand Slam title at the 2009 U.S. Open. The Argentine also finished runner-up at the U.S. Open, Auckland, Los Cabos and Beijing, made the semi-finals of the French Open and the quarter-finals of Wimbledon to qualify for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals for the first time since 2013 - although, as mentioned, he couldn’t take his place in the field due to his knee injury.

It will be interesting to see where del Potro finds himself in terms of the game’s elite over the course of 2019, because last year he well and truly cemented himself amongst the top four for the entire season, showcasing the sort of consistency that injuries haven’t allowed him to display since breaking through to win the U.S. Open a decade ago. But all of that’s a way down the track - on del Potro’s immediate horizon is a quarter-final duel with a dangerous player who I expect to crack the top 50 at some stage this season.

Mackenzie McDonald (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
A former NCAA Division college champion in both singles and doubles for the University of California in Los Angeles, Mackenzie McDonald first captured attention at the 2013 Cincinnati Masters, where as an unranked teenager with just $560 prize money to his name, he defeated Nicolas Mahut and Steve Johnson to qualify for the main draw, where he was defeated in the opening round by David Goffin.

McDonald went back to college after that tournament but left to turn professional in 2016, the year in which he won his first Futures title. The American plugged away on the Challenger and Futures circuit for the next couple of seasons as he chipped away at elevating his ranking towards the top 100 - something he achieved during his breakout season last year, with McDonald winning his first tour-level match at the Australian Open after qualifying for the main draw, defeating Elias Ymer in the opening round before pushing World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov to 8-6 in the fifth in a thrilling second round showdown.

The 23-year-old went on to finish runner-up at the Dallas Challenger before winning the Challenger title in Seoul, and after skipping the clay season in favour of more Challengers, McDonald made an impact on grass, making his first ATP quarter-final in s-Hertogenbosch and going on a brilliant run to the fourth round of Wimbledon before losing to Milos Raonic in four sets. McDonald finished the season at No. 78 in the world and has put together a solid start to 2019, once again advancing to the second round of the Australian Open and finishing runner-up in Dallas before taking out Taylor Fritz and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez to reach his second ATP quarter-final this week in Delray Beach.

McDonald is currently 0-3 against top 10 players, but he’s been close a couple of times to big wins in those matches, so one feels it’s only a matter of time before he claims a scalp. Could that come against del Potro on Friday night? If the pair played in the first round with del Potro still rusty, I’d maybe be tempted to back McDonald home, but the Argentine looked great against Opelka - albeit, he didn’t really have to do much in terms of long baseline exchanges. Del Potro will be forced into more rallies against the compact and consistent McDonald, but if he continues to improve and work his way back into competition, the top seed should have too much firepower when pushes comes to shove in this match-up.

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Del Potro vs McDonald ATP Delray Beach live streaming, preview and tips - Del Potro faces rising McDonald for semi-final spot

World No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro aims for the Delray Beach Open semi-finals on Friday night when he takes on the improving Mackenzie McDonald.

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