Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro wasted no time in opening up his challenge at Wimbledon with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 win over Spain’s Albert Ramos in one hour and 48 minutes on No.1 Court.
Del Potro was more than ready for the task and had too much all-round strength and accuracy to allow the left-handed Ramos to stand in his way for long.
Del Potro is one of six Grand Slam men's singles champions at this year's Championships and today was his first test on the courts since he won the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. That Olympic experience may well aid Del Potro if he goes deeper into the tournament but he admitted after beating Ramos that life on the circuit is continually demanding.
"If you don't feel 100 per cent you can lose to all the players," he said.
Apart from the Olympic run, when his victims included Novak Djokovic, Del Potro has had a longer build-up on grass this year. Forced to miss the French Open because of a respiratory illness, Del Potro added the grass at Queen’s to his Wimbledon preparations and reached the quarter-finals before losing to Lleyton Hewitt.
As a former US Open champion, Del Potro commands respect and his eighth seeding at Wimbledon sets him up for a run to the quarter-finals and a potential match-up with Spain’s David Ferrer, who was runner-up at Roland Garros.
On Tuesday, the task was to keep Ramos, 25, in check in his second Wimbledon campaign and for the best part Del Potro was in command, although he was forced to save three break points in the opening game before opening up a 4-1 lead.
Del Potro moved to 5-2 up and took the set after 32 minutes after some errors from from the Spaniard. The second was closer, with Ramos breaking the Argentine’s serve for the first time but a break back gave him a two-set lead.
In the third, Del Potro took the first five games for the loss of only five points and closed out the win with a service winner.
Del Potro admitted that breaking the domination of the Slams by the same group of players is difficult. "I know after three or four years they win every Grand Slam, the same players," he said. "It's really difficult to break that name on the big tournaments.
"But of course I am trying. I like to play the Grand Slams. They are the longest tournaments and you can play maybe a bad match and survive and that gives confidence for the next rounds. In a Grand Slam anything can happen."
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
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