RIO DE JANEIRO -- Juan martin del Potro sobbed right into Novak Djokovic"s shoulder, the two enemies locked in a long adopt at the net.

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Djokovic would certainly walk off the court weeping, too. Because that one man, it was a success over the world"s No. 1 tennis player that might resurrect a career he feared was over. Because that the other, it was a stunning ns that leaves him waiting four more years for a opportunity at an Olympic singles gold medal.

Del Potro, the 2009 US open up champion stalked through injuries ever before since, won 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2) in the first round Sunday at the Rio de Janeiro Games. After 3 left wrist surgeries that had him contemplating retirement, he is ranked just 145th.

But as soon as the big Argentine is healthy and smacking his signature forehand roughly the court, his beat is worthy that the gold-medal match -- no issue that his backhand is quiet a work in progress.

Juan young name del Potro, that won Sunday 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), likewise beat Novak Djokovic in a bronze-medal enhance in the London Olympics four years ago.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images"Amazing, amazing complement for me," del Potro said. "I didn"t mean to to win Novak tonight, because I know my situation."

These two challenged off because that bronze in London 4 years ago, with del Potro winning. But when he came down on Wimbledon in June, the hadn"t appeared at a significant in 2½ years.

He would certainly upset fourth-seeded Stan Wawrinka in the second round there, and also even though a fatigued del Potro lost his next match, it to be a hint the he could yet still have some greatness in him.

Del Potro was simply 20 as soon as he rallied from a two-sets-to-one deficit to stun five-time defending champion roger Federer in the US open final. V the method his forehand rocked Federer the day, an ext Grand Slam title seemed particular for the young Argentine.

Then come a string of wrist injuries, an initial to the right, then the left -- i m sorry the righty needs for his backhand. He was still slicing regularly Sunday, however the two-handed shoot is start to look much more comfortable. And also with the means he was booming his serves and also forehand, del Potro placed the press on Djokovic indigenous the start.

In the second-set tiebreaker, del Petro crushed two right forehand winners ~ above Djokovic"s offer to take it a 3-0 lead. That made the 5-0 prior to Djokovic score a point.

Del Potro struggle 41 winners Sunday, 29 top top his forehand. It would certainly be a forehand off the network cord, however, that clinched win on his 2nd match point.

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Djokovic, a 12-time major champion, had much more unforced errors 보다 winners: 32-26. The Serb, who will it is in 33 in ~ the 2020 Olympics, dubbed this "one that the toughest accident in mine life."

He"s still alive in doubles, though, therefore a yellow medal in Rio stays a possibility.

At 2-2 in the first-set tiebreaker, del Potro winner three directly points to take control. A large forehand the Djokovic couldn"t get ago gave that three set points, and he convert the second when Djokovic"s forehand sailed wide.

"In decisive moments, he just came up v some extraordinary tennis," Djokovic said of the player he defined as "a an excellent friend that mine."

Del Potro"s Sunday did not start off therefore auspiciously -- he was stuck in an elevator at the Olympic village for 40 minutes prior to Argentine handball players freed him.

This is just how Delpo started the day: trapped in an elevator in ~ the Olympic village for 40 minutes.

— Jorge Viale (
jorgeviale) respectable 7, 2016

Argentine player Federico Pizarro heard shouting coming from an elevator and also opened the door to discover del Potro, who had actually been trapped there during a strength outage.

Gonzalo Carou, an additional one that del Potro"s rescuers, claimed the team uncovered the occurrence "funny," but he claimed it might have been less amusing if del Potro"s preparations for his enhance had been disrupted.

"It"s very complicated because del Potro has actually a very important match," Carou said.

It to be a hugely difficult match from both del Potro"s and also Djokovic"s perspective -- each had the misfortune of illustration the various other in the first round.

It to be a raucous environment in the last enhance of the night on center court, whereby Argentine pan chanted for del Potro and Brazilians tried come drown the end their rivals with cheers because that Djokovic.

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Djokovic began the year through talk that a cool Slam after he won the Australian Open and also French Open. Yet he to be upset in the 3rd round in ~ Wimbledon through 41st-ranked Sam Querrey. The 2008 Olympic copper medalist seemed to bounce back by winning a hard-court tuneup in Toronto before coming to Rio de Janeiro.

"He called me really kind words at the end," del Potro said, "and i appreciated that."