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Hewitt stuns fifth seed Del Potro

WIMBLEDON
Date: 22 June - 5 July
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Lleyton Hewitt

Highlights - Hewitt overcomes Del Potro

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Former champion Lleyton Hewitt gave his best performance in years to put out fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro in the second round at Wimbledon.

The 2002 winner saw off Argentina's world number five 6-3 7-5 7-5 on another hot afternoon on Centre Court.

Hewitt's greater movement and all-court game proved the difference as Del Potro again failed to make his mark on grass.

The Australian will next play Philipp Petzschner, who beat Mischa Zverev 4-6 7-6 (15-13) 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-0.

"I haven't beaten anyone in the top five for a while, so I was up for today's match," Hewitt told BBC Sport.

I appreciate the crowd, I love playing in London, it's great fun for me and it's good to be back in the third round

Lleyton Hewitt

"I've played some big matches here in the past and this was only second round, but Juan Martin's a hell of a player and he's only going to get better on grass.

"I played really well and had a great game plan, apart from a little lapse when he came up with some big shots, but all in all I was able to do it."

Del Potro, 20, had replaced the injured Rafael Nadal at the top of the draw and was trying to reach the third round for the first time in three attempts

The 6ft 6in baseliner from Tandil has risen to five in the world rankings this year and is becoming a threat at Grand Slam tournaments, having reached the last eight at the US and Australian Opens before going desperately close to beating Roger Federer in the French Open semis earlier this month.

In contrast, Hewitt slipped out of the world's top 100 last year as he struggled with a hip injury and, despite being back up to 56, the 28-year-old has not been a threat at Grand Slams for some time.

Hewitt pleased to beat Del Potro

But back on familiar turf it was the Australian who made the better start, fighting off four break points in a lengthy game five before moving ahead at 4-2 when Del Potro netted a forehand.

The former world number one saved another two break points on his way to winning a set in which he had taken the single opportunity that had come his way, sealing it with three aces.

A rather forlorn-looking Del Potro had his knee taped before the start of the second set and his mood would not have improved as Hewitt's all-court game flourished.

Despite struggling with his first-serve percentage, every other aspect of the Australian's game was in full flow.

After 10 games without a break point the pressure got to Del Potro and, serving at 5-5, a double-fault and a forehand into the net gave Hewitt the breakthrough with only his second break point of the day.

There were a few nerves from Hewitt as he tried to serve out the set, with his first serve all but disappearing, but Del Potro could only find the net with a tame return on his one and only break point of the set.

With the crowd, including a sizeable Australian contingent, very much behind the former champion it felt like a hopeless task for Del Potro, all the more so when he dropped serve at the start of the third set.

606: DEBATE

Hewitt survived a break point in game eight when Del Potro fired a tempting second-serve return over the baseline, but the man from Adelaide did falter when serving for the match as his opponent began to swing freely with the finish line in sight.

It was the briefest of resurgences, however, as Hewitt stormed back with some superb returning to force the second successive break, and he served out at the second time of asking to win in two hours 32 minutes.

Of failing to serve out the match at the first attempt, Hewitt said: "I had to put it behind me, it's not easy but I'm glad I did.

"And I appreciate the crowd, I love playing in London, it's great fun for me and it's good to be back in the third round."



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