Tennis: Niland must find edge over old foe Reister to progress
CONOR NILAND needs to overturn a result from earlier in the year if he is to advance to the second round of French Open qualifying.
After a 6-4 6-4 win over British No 2 Alex Bogdanovic in the opening round at Roland Garros on Tuesday, the Limerick native faces Germany's Julian Reister today.
Reister clinched his second-round place thanks to a 6-3 5-7 6-1 win over Italy's No 13 seed Filippo Volandri, and, significantly, he has already beaten Niland this year.
In the semi-final of the ATP Challenger Tour event in Russia in February, Reister edged Niland on a 6-7 (10/12) 6-4 6-4 margin.
"It was a very tight match, and it could have gone either way," said Niland, who is taking part in the French Open for the first time.
"He's obviously a good player, and the fact that he dropped only one game in the final set against Volandri shows how well he played. So I'll need to be at my best to get through to the final round of qualifying."
Meanwhile, Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro will not defend his US Open title as he continues his recovery from wrist surgery, the world No 5 said yesterday.
Del Potro, who had surgery on his right wrist earlier this month, said the Paris Open indoor tournament in November was a realistic comeback target.
"If all goes well, I'd return after the US Open," Del Potro said on his arrival in Buenos Aires from a check-up with his surgeon in the United States.
"The tournament is and always will be very special for me, all my life, but I don't want to rush things," the 21-year-old said.
The nagging wrist problem had troubled the right-hander since before his fourth-round exit at the Australian Open in January. He has not played since.
"Thankfully, I've already undergone the operation and everything went well. Now I just have to recover," said Del Potro.
"I know it's going to take a long time to get back to being among the top players like I was before, but what I want more than anything is to return."