Vintage Hewitt display sees off Del Potro

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Lleyton Hewitt

Photo: Glenn Thomas

Juan Martin del Potro, currently ranked at number five in the world, was fancied as a potential winner of this year’s tournament at SW19.

Yet his poor record on grass continued as he was dumped out of Wimbledon at the second round stage for the third consecutive year.

This time the giant 6ft6 Argentine fell to former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets. Hewitt who is ranked 51 places lower in the world rankings, produced some electrifying tennis, akin to the Hewitt of old.

The 28-year-old, who hasn’t beaten a player in the top five for close to three years, reeled back the years as he ploughed his way through Del Potro. Hewitt, who dropped out of the World’s top 50 after having hip surgery in March 2008, seems to be well on the road to recovery.

Comfortably claiming victory 6-3, 7-5, 7-5, the combative Aussie needed no second invitations as he pounced on any Del Potro errors. Hewitt converted four of his nine break points, while managing to fight off seven break points on his own serve.

Hewitt bounded about the court, moving rapidly over the grass surface while his opponent could only lumber around centre court. Indeed the feisty base-liner capitalised on Del Potro’s obvious edginess, serving back to back aces to seal the first set.

Roared on by the ever strong Australian contingent in the crowd, Hewitt hustled and bustled Del Potro, who in truth never settled. Unable to match Hewitt’s tenacity, he melted under the sweltering heat of south-west London.

The second set continued in the same pattern, with Hewitt proving less then impressive with his first serve, but Del Potro failing to capitalise on any of the flaws in the former world number one’s game.

Indeed at 5-5, and without a single break point in ten games, the Argentine buckled. He double faulted into the net and followed up with another wayward forehand; enough to produce another valiant cry of ‘C’mon!’ from the opposite side of the court.

Hewitt seized upon only his second break point of the day, edging him to a 6-5 lead. Hewitt duly served out the set, having to overcoming any nerves in the process.

Matters only got worse for Del Potro as he dropped his serve in his opening service game. An unenviable task now awaited the world number five, if he was to find any sort of foothold in the match.

Despite Hewitt’s dominance, his poor serving provided Del Potro with opportunities to mount a comeback. Yet the Rolland Garros semi finalist only managed to find the net or send the ball blazing over the baseline. Undoubtedly, this is where the match was lost for the Argentine.

It wasn’t long before the fiery Hewitt was serving for the match. Despite being twice a Grand Slam winner, Hewitt’s nerves almost seemed to get the better of him as he endured a slight wobble.

Del Potro finally capitalised on some poor serving breaking back to level the third set at 5-5. However, Hewitt, never a man to give in, immediately broke back. He duly served out the match setting up a third round tie with either Philipp Petzschner or Mischa Zverev.

Both unseeded Germans, it seems probable that Hewitt will feature in the second week of Wimbledon for the sixth consecutive year. An outsider, but undoubtedly in with a shout to bring a second Wimbledon title back to Australia.

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