Juan Martin del Potro has issued a warning to Rafael Nadal that he is back to his best in the Madrid Open and is looking to give the Spaniard a run for his money if they meet later in the tournament. The Argentine beat Roger Federer to win at Indian Wells and went on a 15-game winning streak before eventually falling to John Isner in the semi-finals of the Miami Open.
The Argentine that decided to take a break after his incredible run but has made a comeback in Madrid and looked a reinvigorated as he needed just 80 minutes to defeat Damir Dzumhur - 6-3, 6-3 to move on to the next round
Del Potro was playing his first match in five weeks and he looked fit and focused as he saved two of three break points and won 10 of 15 second-serve return points to improve to 22-4 on the season. He then went on to steamroll Dzumhur, who did not pose a problem for the Argentine in the entire game.
The world No 6's victory also ensured he moved clear of Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem with 22 wins to his name in 2018. Del Potro is in the same half of the draw as Nadal, who is bidding to win a sixth title in the Spanish capital before launching an assault for his eleventh Roland Garros title.
However, del Potro is having none of the talks about Nadal's dominance and insists that he is in great form and well rested before the tie. Nadal, meanwhile, who begins his campaign on Wednesday against Gael Monfils, is in the middle of a 19-match winning streak. He is also looking to extend his incredible record of having won 46 straight sets on clay.
When asked for his thoughts about being a threat to Nadal's dominance on clay, Del Potro said, as quoted by the Express: "I've already tried to do it, but Rafa and many other players have big games to play on the clay court. I'm confident with myself and will see what happens."
On taking a rest, he added, "It helped a lot - I did a lot of good preparation for the tournament. I had a great time with family and friends, but it is time to think about tennis again and keep winning."