By Nemanja Bjedov
Marcos Baghdatis has been drawn to take on top-seeded Argentinean Juan Martin Del Potro in the first round of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.
The 28-year-old Cypriot, currently ranked 49th and holding a 14-19 season record, will be looking to avoid his 14th first-round exit of the current season – a run that started against Del Potro in the opening round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February.
Baghdatis and Del Potro are tied at 2-2 in their overall head-to-head series, with Del Potro also winning at the 2007 edition of the Miami Masters, while the Cypriot celebrated last year in Sydney and two years ago at the Australian Open.
World number 7 Del Potro will make his first appearance on the tour after the US Open, and although his rankings would have allowed him to enter the main draw directly, he needed a wild card to participate in Tokyo due to his late enrollment.
If Baghdatis manages to overcome Del Potro, he would then take on the winner of the match between another Argentinean, Carlos Berlocq – whom he beat last week in Kuala Lumpur – and Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas, who holds protective ranking, and who returned to the courts in late August after missing three months of action.