Djokovic facing first serious test against Del Potro
Paris: The sledgehammer groundstrokes of Juan Martin del Potro will provide the ultimate test of Novak Djokovic`s armour-plated confidence in the most eagerly anticipated match of the French Open so far later on Friday.
They are only colliding in the third round because of Del Potro`s injury problems which sent him tumbling down the rankings and their clash would not look out of place as a grand slam final.
Djokovic has been supreme so far, taking his winning streak this year to 39 with two comfortable rounds but the 25th-seeded Del Potro, who has been plagued with wrist and then hip problems, is capable of beating anyone on his day.
"It`s going to be a great match, a battle, and he has always had a quality to be at the top of the men`s game," Serbian Djokovic said of the 2009 US Open champion.
"He is playing equally well on any surface. Big serve, great groundstrokes. For his height he`s moving really well. He`s just overall a top player for me.”
"He`s unfortunately had to take some time off because of the injury, but he`s coming back now.”
"It`s going to be a big challenge for both of us, obviously a great match for people to see."
World number four Andy Murray will definitely be tuning in.
"Because the court is playing fast, I think that that`s good for Juan," the Briton told reporters. "And I`ll definitely watch a little bit of that match.”
"It`s a great, great third round."
Before Djokovic and Del Potro lock horns, last year`s women`s runner-up Samantha Stosur of Australia opens proceedings on Court Philippe Chatrier against Argentina`s Gisela Dulko as the eighth seed continues her search for a maiden slam title.
Third seed Roger Federer, who has cantered through his first two matches, will be up against Serbian 29th seed Janko Tipsarevic on court Suzanne Lenglen.
Women`s defending champion Francesca Schiavone, who has revelled in her return to the scene of her most memorable moment, will be on the same court against China`s Shuai Peng.