Del Potro Dominant Against Grass-Court Maven Lopez
Facing Feliciano Lopez, an experienced, three-time grass-court titlist, you could be forgiven if you thought Juan Martin del Potro was at risk of joining the other big names, including Grigor Dimitrov and Dominic Thiem, to exit during the first week of Wimbledon.
But you would be wrong. Del Potro dominated the Spanish veteran 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 on Thursday, breaking the left-hander five times and never facing a break point. Lopez, making his record-breaking 66th consecutive Grand Slam appearance, never found his best level, which carried him to the 2017 Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen's Club. And Del Potro was as impressive as he's been this season, a year that's already seen him hoist his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (d. Federer).
The fifth seed held to love eight times and, from 0-0 in the second set to 5-2, 40/0 in the third, he didn't drop a point on his serve, a stretch of 23 consecutive points.
“It was a really good match. I played almost perfect,” Del Potro said.
Del Potro will next face Frenchman Benoit Paire, who ousted No. 26 seed Denis Shapovalov 0-6, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(3). The World No. 47 showed good grass-court form at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, where he held two match points against Roger Federer in the second round.
Paire advanced to the third round at the All England Club for the fourth time. His best result came last year, when he reached the Round of 16. Paire won his only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Del Potro, at the 2013 Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
“Benoit is a tricky player. He has too much talent. He plays all the shots on court. He can play drop shots, serves and volleys, can play flat with forehands and backhands,” Del Potro said.
If Shapovalov would have pulled through against the Frenchman, it would have been the first time that three teenagers (De Minaur, Tsitsipas) advanced to the Wimbledon third round since 2005, when five teens accomplished the feat (Berdych, Djokovic, Gasquet, Monfils, Murray).