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Indian Wells: Novak Djokovic sets up Juan Martin del Potro clash

While both won their second-round games in straight sets, it wasn't an easy ride!

SNS | New Delhi |

Five-time former champion Novak Djokovic dug deep against Kyle Edmund on Sunday to advance to a mouthwatering  third-round clash against Juan Martin del Potro at the ongoing Indian Wells Open.

Edmund was serving for the second set at 5-3, but could not close it out as Djokovic fought back with a break in the ninth game and sealed a 6-4, 7-6(5) victory in the ensuing tie-break after one hour and 51 minutes.

The 22-year-old Edmund has come to taken a set off Djokovic in three meetings with the World No. 2, but came mighty close on Sunday. The 29-year-old Djokovic improved to a 48-6 mark at Indian Wells where he has lifted the trophy the past three years.

It will be the pair’s 17th contest, and on the rarest of occasions are they straightforward. Djokovic leads their ATP head-to-head 12-4, but their past two matches saw del Potro thwart Djokovic in two tie-breaks at the Rio Olympics, before the Serbian prevailed in three sets just last week in Acapulco.

Djokovic is looking for a return to top form, after a surprise defeat to Denis Istomin in the Australian Open second round preceded by a quarter-final exit against Nick Kyrgios in Acapulco. Should he find a way past del Potro, Djokovic could earn a shot at revenge against Kyrgios in the fourth-round before a potential quarter-final showdown with Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.

In an all-Argentine clash earlier, del Potro recorded a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory over Federico Delbonis.

After hitting an improbable tweener-lob winner early on, del Potro fended off set point at 30/40 in the 10th game before sealing the opener in the ensuing tie-break.

The Tandil native claimed the only break of the match in the fourth game of the second set to prevail in one hour and 51 minutes. 
The 28-year-old del Potro is playing just his third tournament of the season after taking time at the start of the year to work more on his fitness.

The 31st seed has found Indian Wells to be a happy hunting ground in recent years, reaching the final in 2013 and the semifinals in 2011 (losing to Nadal on both occasions).