Del Potro gives Argentina upper hand
Juan Martin del Potro got Argentina off to a winning start in their Davis Cup World Group semifinal against the Czech Republic on Friday with victory in straight sets against Radek Stepanek.
Del Potro, ranked eighth in the world, needed two hours and 41 minutes to beat Stepanek 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 on the clay at Parque Roca in Buenos Aires.
The Argentine was playing against medical advice after hurting his wrist at the US Open and he broke down in tears as he gave a victory speech to a 13 000-crowd at Parque Roca which also included Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.
"It was very difficult to play with a hurt wrist," said Del Potro. "But the crowd was fantastic. I am very passionate about playing for my country. I like to give them a good show."
Juan Monaco was due to meet US Open semifinalist Tomas Berdych in the second singles rubber later on Friday.
The winner of this tie will go through to the final against holders Spain or the United States, who are meeting in the other semi in Gijon this weekend.