Flashback: Djokovic Saves 2 M.P. Against Del Potro In Rome Thriller
All it takes is one shot to alter the course of a match.
Juan Martin del Potro, competing in only his third tournament back from a fractured right kneecap, held two match points against top seed Novak Djokovic in their 2019 Internazionali BNL d’Italia quarter-final. But with the Argentine serving at 6/4 in the second-set tie-break, he shanked a forehand and Djokovic hit a delicate drop shot winner in the next point. The Serbian seized the momentum and crawled back back to secure a 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 victory that finished after midnight.
“I never lost faith I could come back to the match,” Djokovic said afterwards. “He missed a couple of crucial points in the tie-break. Also break point [in the] third set, quite easy forehand. That’s what happens. That’s sport. I’m just really pleased to overcome.”
The Serbian improved to 16-4 in his ATP Head2Head series with del Potro and maintained a flawless (4-0) record against him on clay. But their Rome clash was yet another thrilling chapter in a highly competitive rivalry. Seven of their past 10 matches have gone to a deciding set.
Their battle under the lights was also played in the competitive spirit that has made their matches must-see viewing. After del Potro hit an outrageous drop volley winner at 2-2 in the third set, Djokovic applauded the shot with and reached across the net to high-five the Argentine.
“Towards the end of the first set, he started hitting the ball really well from both corners,” Djokovic said. “Also on the backhand side [and] backhand down the line. He gave me a lot of trouble.”
Djokovic reached the final by outlasting Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3, but was denied a fifth title in Rome and his first since 2015. In the championship match against Rafael Nadal, the top seed ran out of steam after rain early in the week forced him to play four matches in 72 hours before facing the Spaniard. Nadal prevailed 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 and lifted the trophy at the Foro Italico for a ninth time.
Read the full Djokovic v Del Potro match report