U.S. Open R2 previews and predictions: Johnson vs. Del Potro, Troicki vs. Donaldson

The highly-anticipated showdown between Steve Johnson and Juan Martin Del Potro will come to fruition on Thursday at the U.S. Open. Viktor Troicki and Jared Donaldson are also aiming for a spot in the third round.

(19) Steve Johnson vs. (WC) Juan Martin Del Potro

Tennis is a funny game, pitting Johnson against Del Potro in the early stages of the U.S. Open. After all, two weeks ago Johnson questioned whether the USTA should give Del Potro a wild card into the season’s final Grand Slam, at risk of seeing him take out one of America’s best players. Not only did the 2009 champion get one of the coveted spots, but he will now face–you guessed it–none other than Johnson during second-round action on Thursday. Del Potro, the recent Rio Olympics silver medalist, advanced on Tuesday by beating compatriot Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(3).

It was Johnson who came dangerously close to missing out on this mouth-watering showdown. The world No. 22 trailed Evgeny Donskoy 4-6, 1-6, 2-5, 0-40, staring down a triple match point situation in the eighth game of the third set. But Johnson, who had hammered Donskoy 6-1, 6-1 at the Olympics, ended up saving six match points and capping off an improbable 4-6, 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-3, 6-3 comeback. The 19th seed is now 28-22 for the season, with a title on the grass courts of Nottingham, a semifinal showing in Washington, D.C., and a quarterfinal performance in Rio. Even though Del Potro may be the favorite based on how he played at the Olympics, Johnson will be feeling the pressure as a result of his recent comments. He also may be feeling less than 100 percent after his mental and physical struggle against Donskoy that lasted more than three hours.

Pick: Del Potro in 4

Viktor Troicki vs. (Q) Jared Donaldson

Speaking of improbable escapes, Troicki pulled off a hard-to-believe victory of his own on Tuesday. Normally on the wrong end of five-set comebacks, the 32nd-ranked Serb recovered from a two-set deficit–and from 4-0 down in the fifth-set tiebreaker–to outlast Radu Albot 5-7, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(5). To say it was a much-needed win would be an understatement, because Troicki had been a mere 4-9 in his last 13 matches prior to arriving in New York.
Troicki after his win
Up next for Troicki on Thursday is a first-ever meeting with Donaldson, who had surprisingly little trouble advancing to the last 64. Facing No. 12 seed David Goffin, Donaldson dropped the opening set but was borderline dominant the rest of the way en route to a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-0 upset. Thus continues an awesome summer run for the 19-year-old American, who successfully qualified in Washington, D.C. (reached the second round), Toronto (reached the third round), Los Cabos, and at this U.S. Open. Against an opponent who struggled physically in a five-setter than lasted four and a half hours, Donaldson should be able to maintain his momentum.

Pick: Donaldson in 4

42 Comments on U.S. Open R2 previews and predictions: Johnson vs. Del Potro, Troicki vs. Donaldson

  1. Delpo to get a fast start and get the job done — in 3

    Troiki is coming off of a tough 5 set match v Albot. Donaldson’s win, from what I watched of it, appeared to not take too much physically out of him and hopefully his confidence is still high. Donaldson in 4.

  2. I think Johnson is capable of taking a set off Delpo. Hr needs to have a better start than he did against Donskoy. Delpo in 4 sets.

    Donaldson for the win against Troicki in 4 sets.

  3. Love the banter… I strangely think it will go the distance again, and Delpo wont have to put up with a “American Crowd”, as he is loved all over and has fond memories of the US Open in contrast to what Johnson has had in recent years – Delpo for the win though

    Wrt Raonic, dont understand why he didnt just retire in the 4th set, he was nowhere with that injury

    Donaldson for the win in 4, not sure where Troicki’s head is at the moment

  4. Hello. The crowd goes with Donaldson , but Troicki is more experienced guy, here, and this aspect is very important.
    I think Troicki learned the lesson in the match against Albot, and today he will play with more stamina.
    As far as I am concerned,Victor Troicki will win.
    Cheers! 🙂


  5. Delpo and Troicki, both in 5.

    I thought Johnson’s objection to Delpo’s wildcard was because he thinks only USTA players should get wildcards into the US Open. Never mind who might actually add to the viewing experience by contesting a few matches.

  6. What’s Luke Jensen talking about? Delpo destroyed Djoko at the Olympics but he didnt destroy Rafa with that FH – it was a tight match vs a tired Rafa. If Delpo was so great, how come he couldnt beat Murray for the gold? Dont tell me Murray was better than Djoko and Rafa? If Delpo was tired in the final, so was Rafa in the SF!

    These commentators, I wonder did they watch all those matches? Or they only watched the USO?

    • Apparently Troicki did not have enough left in the tank. They just showed the end of the match with Donaldson winning in straight sets.

      Now it’s Delpo/Johnson.

      Some rain starting and they have to decide about closing the roof again.

      • Great stuff from Jared. I wouldn’t say it’s totally out of the question for a QF run for him. With Nishikori a liability health wise and Young/Karlovic a winnable match for Jared, this is a pretty awesome opportunity for him. Also how has Lorenzi taken consecutive 6-2 sets? Simon has been pretty awful this season but I thought after his first round smoking of stepanek he would be able to back that up. He can still win in five but Lorenzi has really impressed me at this year’s tourney. He can actually play on hard courts. Also yet another comeback from two sets to love down as PCB beat tipsy 6-4 in the fifth after dropping the first two. What a match. Sad for tipsy but happy for PCB. Great summer for him.

        • Yes, I think Donaldson just might have a shot at the quarterfinals. They are updating the scores for the other men’s matches and it’s surprising to see Simon losing to Lorenzi.

          Tough loss for Tipsy after being up two sets.

    • Some great shot making abd Johnson manages to come back and hold from 0-40 down.

      Big hold for Johnson to make it 5-4.

  7. Uh oh! Johnson didn’t challenge Delpo’s serve, which was out. His DTL forehand was out and he loses the first set tb.

  8. ? In the longest match of the tournament, Simon vs Lorenzi…a 5hth set tb. The end is near. Paolo isn’t moving as well as Gilles. But Paulo is trying to stay out of the marathon rallies by some nice drop shots and volleys. Simon looks like he could run for hours on end. Neither one can serve. There should be a designated server rule sometimes — send in Karlovic to serve for Simon.

    • Could be a new spin on team tennis. One guy serves, the other plays defense. Sort of like American football. Isner-Djokovic, Raonic-Murray, Karlovic-Nishikori. But I’ll pick Fedal as MY team.

  9. Lucky Star
    “Dont tell me Murray was better than Djoko and Rafa?”
    Why Not? You evidently did not watch Murray v Del Potro at Rio or I wouldn’t have to tell you that Murray WAS INDEED BETTER than Del Potro et al.

    • Nah, Murray was struggling in his matches prior to the final. Dont you know that?

      Murray was fortunate to beat a tired Delpo yet he himself was also struggling. How can that be BETTER thsn anyone else? He was there at the right time to take advantage, IMO.

  10. Didn’t see the later matches but thought Delpos forehand would be too much for Johnson’s slice backhand.But I’m still relieved Delpo got through,I have him in the semis.

    Disappointed with Gilles this year.

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