Giant Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro moved sure-footedly into the third round of Wimbledon with a ruthlessly impressive straight-sets Centre Court win over American-turned Canadian Jesse Levine.
The 6ft 6ins eighth seed, seeking a second grand slam title after his 2009 US Open success, won 6-2 7-6(7) 6-3 with a display of crushing power. Left-handed outsider Levine was edgy and blown away in the opening set, rallied briefly in an entertaining slug-fest of a second but had no answers in the third as he was overwhelmed by Del Potro’s growing weight of shot.
“He’s a good fighter and a lefty on grass is tough,” said Del Potro. “In the second set I got lucky but by the end I was playing well and my serve was good.”
Del Potro, who missed last month’s French Open through illness, has spent most of his career shadowing the “big four” and although two of them - Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - could still stand in his way at Wimbledon next week he showed again that he has all the tools to break the cartel. His 2009 US Open final victory over Roger Federer appeared to mark the then-20-year-old as the coming force in the game but a serious wrist injury virtually wrote off the following season and he has been struggling to reach the same heights since.
He is showing glimpses of that peak form again this week, however, as he followed up his quick-fire dismissal of Spain’s Albert Ramos with another clean-striking sub-two-hour win. The 25-year-old Levine, on his Centre Court debut, was a bag of nerves initially and dropped his opening two service games, the second after two ragged double-faults.
Ottawa-born Levine, playing Wimbledon as a Canadian for the first time after switching nationality, rallied, but with Del Potro’s 130mph service, there was only to be one winner.
There was an upset on Court 18 where 17th seed Milos Raonic lost to world No 64 Igor Sijsling, who will now play Ivan Dodig after he beat Denis Kudla.
Ninth seed Richard Gasquet set up what should be an entertaining contest against Bernard Tomic in the third round as the Frenchman overcame the challenge of Japan’s Go Soeda 6-0 6-3 6-7 (5/7) 6-3 on Court One. Another Japanese - Kei Nishikori - advanced after beating Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 6-1.
Seventh seed Tomas Berdych also progressed without dropping a set against Germany’s Daniel Brands. He will next play South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, who beat world No 127 Michal Przysiezny of Poland.
Grigor Dimitrov was 9-8 behind against Grega Zemlja in the final set of their contest when Court Three became unplayable.