Acapulco R1 previews and predictions: Del Potro vs. Tiafoe, Cilic vs. Dologopolov

Juan Martin Del Potro is playing for a second straight week and he will get started in Acapulco on Tuesday against Frances Tiafoe. The first-round slate is also wrapping up with a showdown between Marin Cilic and Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Juan Martin Del Potro vs. (Q) Frances Tiafoe

Del Potro will kick off his Abierto Mexicano Telcel campaign when he faces Tiafoe during first-round action on Tuesday night. The 32nd-ranked Argentine made his latest comeback in Delray Beach–just as he did last year–and beat Kevin Anderson, Damir Dzumhur, and Sam Querrey before succumbing to Milos Raonic in the semifinals. Del Potro is healthy, as his January absence was related to rest rather than injury, and he should be motivated because he may need at least one win in Acapulco to have a chance at Indian Wells seeding.

It has already been a relatively successful week for Tiafoe, who booked his spot in the main draw with qualifying victories over Kevin Jack Carpenter and Radu Albot. The 19-year-old American is up to a career-high ranking of No. 89 in the world thanks in part to a second-round appearance at the Australian Open as a qualifier (beat Mikhail Kukushkin, lost to Alexander Zverev). This will be a tough test–not only physically but also mentally–for Tiafoe, who has made no secret that Del Potro his idol.

Pick: Del Potro in 2

(WC) Alexandr Dolgopolov vs. (3) Marin Cilic

Cilic and Dolgopolov will be squaring off for the third time in their careers and for the first time in five years when they meet again on Tuesday. The head-to-head series is tied up at one win apiece, with Dolgopolov having triumphed 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the 2011 Umag final before Cilic prevailed 7-5, 6-2 in the semis of the same event one season later.


Dolgopolov is coming off a stellar showing on the Golden Swing, where he captured the Buenos Aires title and reached the Rio de Janeiro semifinals before retiring in the third set against Pablo Carreno Busta because of a leg injury. Still, the 60th-ranked Ukrainian is just a decent 8-5 this year and has lost his opening match at three tournaments. Cilic is a disappointing 3-4 for his 2017 campaign but enjoyed a week off after falling to eventual champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Rotterdam quarterfinals. Last season, a fatigued Croat finished runner-up in Marseille and had to play in Acapulco two days later–a situation that led to an immediate loss at the hands of Ryan Harrison. This time it is Cilic’s opponent who may be less than 100 percent, so the world No. 8 should advance.

Pick: Cilic in 3

5 Comments on Acapulco R1 previews and predictions: Del Potro vs. Tiafoe, Cilic vs. Dologopolov

    • Dolgo had to retire injured in a Rio QF vs PCB. They played two tight tie breaks, Dolgo had a bit of momentum going into the third and suddenly retired – with the leg injury. Agree with Ricky – Cilic should make it. But maybe in 2; I don’t know anything specific about Dolgo’s leg injury though.

      Delpo in 2.

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