James Blake, a Cincinnati singles finalist in ’07 and an ’02 doubles titlist with Todd Martin, defeated Marcos Baghdatis in a rematch of their Wimbledon first round meeting. The veteran Blake, who’s been ranked as high as No. 4 in the world back in ‘06, advanced to the second round 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.
In the other main draw singles match of the day, ’09 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro reached the second after his opponent, Andreas Seppi, retired due to a foot injury. The Argentine lead 4-1 before his opponent stopped play.
For Blake, the win over Baghdatis allowed him to exact revenge after suffering a loss to the Cypriot at Wimbledon earlier this summer. In that match, the Baghdatis won 6-4 6-2 6-7(5) 4-6 6-4.
Blake cited increased confidence as one factor in the role reversal this time around.
The American continued that the court surface attributed to the positive result. "Since I lost to [Baghdatis] at Wimbledon, I’ve been playing well," he said. "I feel really good about being back on the hard courts. The summer swing is always my favorite part of the year; it’s where I have my most success."
Up next for the American will be the winner between the No. 14 seed and 2011 Sydney finalist Viktor Troicki and Fabio Fognini, who’s currently enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 64. Earlier this year, the Italian advanced to the quarterfinals at the French Open in his best ever showing at a major.
For del Potro, he’ll face a formidable force in 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. The second round match-up will be a repeat of their ’09 US Open final, which the Argentine won in five sets.
In their head-to-head, del Potro has won the last two matches, including the US Open title, while Federer claimed the previous six. Before winning at Flushing, however, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic owned all the Grand Slams dating back to ’05.
Injury struck soon after he claimed the hard court major, preventing the 6’6" Argentine from defending the title in 2010. Eventually slipping to No. 485, del Potro has since climbed back inside the top 20 by claiming two titles in 2011 at Estoril and Delray Beach.
By Benjamin Snyder