Tennis: Juan Martin del Potro wins comeback in Sydney while ill Halep withdraws

Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro made a successful return to the tennis circuit on Tuesday, winning his opening match at the Sydney International.

Playing for the first time in 11 months after undergoing surgery to his left wrist, the Argentine beat Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3 7-6(4).

“It’s time to get back on the train again,” del Potro told reporters. “This tournament is very special to me.”

Del Potro won the Sydney International last year and is among dozens of competing players fine-tuning their preparations for the Australian Open, starting on Monday.

Romania’s Simona Halep was among the high-profile entrants but pulled out on Tuesday, saying she was suffering from gastroenteritis.

The world number three told organisers she was unable to take her place after falling ill in China, where she won the Shenzhen Open.

“During the tournament in China I got this problem in my stomach,” she said.

“I didn’t play for three days. I was waiting until today to see if I was ready to play again, but I feel like I cannot play.

“It’s tough to play a tournament like this so unfortunately I decided to withdraw.”

She is expected to recover in time for the Australian Open, where she is among the favourites.

“You never know with the stomach, but hopefully in two or three days I’ll be ready to play again.”



A tough playing schedule caught up with world No.6 Agnieszka Radwanska when she was dumped out in the first round of the Sydney International on Tuesday.

Spaniard Garbine Muguruza fought back from dropping the opening set to beat the Polish third seed 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.

Photos: AFP, Reuters

It is the first tournament Radwanska is playing under new coach, the tennis legend Martina Navratilova.

Sources: AFP, Reuters

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