July 3, 2018 / 3:56 PM / in 4 months

Del Potro rides big serve into Wimbledon round two

LONDON (Reuters) - Fifth seed Juan Martin Del Potro thumped down 22 aces to blow away the Wimbledon first-round challenge of Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk on Tuesday and said his serve was the key to playing better on grass.

Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 3, 2018 Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in action during the first round match against Germany's Peter Gojowczyk REUTERS/Tony O'Brien

The Argentine, nearly two metres tall, appears often to be playing on a miniature court such is his reach and stride.

He used his height to great effect in a regulation victory over Gojowczyk, breaking the German’s serve once in each of the first two sets and twice in the third.

“I serve really well today. I made more than 20 aces. I know how important is the serve, the breakpoints, too, to keep winning matches on grass,” the 29-year-old told reporters.

Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 3, 2018 Germany's Peter Gojowczyk in action during the first round match against Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro REUTERS/Tony O'Brien

“There could be only one breakpoint during the match, and that could be the key of the game.”

Del Potro, who won the U.S. Open in 2009, has been less successful at Wimbledon, his best showing being the semi-finals in 2013 where he lost to Novak Djokovic in a marathon match lasting nearly five hours.

Though he was fired up by a dispute with the umpire over an over-ruled serve, Del Potro barely raising a sweat for the rest of the 90 minute-match despite the warm midday sunshine on Court Three.

“I got mad, but with myself. I made a couple of mistakes. I had a little discuss with the umpire,” he said smiling. “Everyone can make mistakes...it’s all fine now.”

Gojowczyk, 28, and playing at a career-high ranking of 39, attempted to counter the Argentine’s powerful groundstrokes with brave net play but he was no match for Del Potro, who has won titles at Indian Wells and Acapulco this year.

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Gojowczyk saved two match points before surrendering on his the third when, attempting to attack, he sent down his fourth double fault.

Del Potro next meets 36-year-old Wimbledon favourite Feliciano Lopez, playing his 17th consecutive Championships on a surface he loves.

“If you have a good serve on grass, you can win a lot of matches. Feliciano has a big serve. I am serving well too,” Del Potro said.

Lopez has set a record for consecutive Grand Slam appearances with 66, going 15 years without missing a major tournament.

“I think it’s a good record for him,” Del Potro said, adding that injuries in 2014 and 2015 would prevent him emulating the Spaniard.

“I didn’t expect to be in the top five again after all the problems, winning big tournaments, fighting for the top positions of the ranking again.”

Reporting by Clare Lovell, editing by Ed Osmond

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