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Del Potro in top form at Aus Open
Sam Lienert
21:13 AEST Thu Jan 17 2013

He's one of just four men left in the Australian Open field with a grand slam singles title to their name and Juan Martin del Potro is living up to that billing.

While the top three seeds Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray are capturing more attention, the 2009 US Open winner has moved through his first two rounds in even more dominant fashion.

Del Potro conceded just five games in his opening round win over French qualifier Adrian Mannarino and a further eight in eliminating German Benjamin Becker 6-2 6-4 6-2 in the second round on Thursday night.

It means the sixth seed has conceded fewer games than any of the top three seeds over the opening two rounds.

Becker, 20cm shorter than the powerful, long-limbed 198cm Argentinian, tried to mix up his pace early in the match to disrupt del Potro's rhythm.

It worked to an extent with del Potro having to work harder to gain the early ascendancy than the lopsided scoreline suggested.

But with his pounding serve meaning he faced just one break point for the match - and saved it - the contest was always headed his way and he sealed the match by serving it out to love with four straight aces.

"I served well and I made a lot of winners with my forehand. When I'm 100 per cent I have a good chance to keep winning matches," del Potro said.

After winning the 2009 US Open - the only major of the past 31 won by someone other than Djokovic, Federer, Murray or Rafael Nadal - del Potro was sidelined by a wrist injury for eight months of 2010.

He has since worked his way back inside the top 10, winning four ATP titles last year and reaching the quarter-finals of three majors, including the Australian Open, where he lost to Federer.

This year he's seeded to clash with Murray in the quarter-finals, although del Potro's next opponent will be unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.


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