Juan Martin del Potro concedes limelight to Maradona's backhand of God

 

Dubai

On a day when the leading men breezed through their second-round matches here at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, some of the biggest cheers were reserved for the session's most unlikely player. After Juan Martin del Potro had beaten Somdev Devvarman 6-4, 6-4 to earn a quarter-final meeting with Daniel Brands, the world No 7 was joined on court by his fellow Argentine, Diego Maradona, who was appointed as a sports ambassador for Dubai last summer.

While Maradona's waistline has expanded considerably over the years, at just 5ft 5in tall he is more than a foot shorter than Del Potro. When the former World Cup winner came on court he stood on a chair to embrace the 6ft 6in Del Potro before picking up a racket and challenging him to play a few points. Maradona even hit a decent winning volley before leaving to warm applause from the crowd.

Maradona arrived in the United Arab Emirates two years ago to coach the Al Wasl football club but was dismissed last summer, upon which he agreed a new one-year deal to be a local ambassador. To Del Potro, who is a friend of many current Argentinian footballers, he will always be a hero.

"It's a pleasure to share moments with Diego," Del Potro said. "All the Argentinian people love him and he's our No 1 representative in the world in sports. To hit some balls with him here in this stadium was amazing for me. He played really well – not like soccer, of course, but he can hit the balls with me. It was a funny moment for both of us. We'll maybe have dinner or something together this evening. Being with him is an honour."

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, the top two seeds, wasted little time reaching the quarter-finals. Djokovic beat Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 7-6 and will now face Italy's Andreas Seppi. Federer took just 71 minutes to brush aside another Spaniard, Marcel Granollers, 6-3, 6-4. The world No 2 will meet Nikolay Davydenko in the last eight. In the remaining quarter-final, Tomas Berdych will take on Dmitry Tursunov.

Meanwhile, the former women's world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki bowed out of the Malaysia Open to 186th-ranked Chinese qualifier Qiang Wang. The top seed cruised through the opening set of her first-round match and had a match point in the second before going down 2-6, 7-6, 6-1. Qualifier Wang, 21, allowed Wozniacki only one point in the second set tiebreak to level the match.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week