LONDON • Unseeded Juan Martin del Potro caused a huge upset at the rain-affected Wimbledon tennis tournament yesterday when he knocked out men's fourth seed Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 in the second round.
The Argentinian world No. 165, in only his second Grand Slam match after his return from a wrist injury that kept him out of the game for almost three years, proved that multiple bouts of surgery had not robbed him of his flowing racket skills as he condemned dual grand slam champion Wawrinka to his earliest defeat at the All England Club in three years.
Wawrinka broke once to take the first set but by the time the players traded service breaks for four successive games at the start of the third set, the Swiss knew he was in for a torrid afternoon against the 2009 US Open champion.
"I think I played much better after the first set," said del Potro, 27. "This is the second or third career in my short life. I was really sad at home in the last two years. My hands (are) shaking, it's a great sensation for me, because I am playing tennis again and I feel alive.
"Now I am in the third round in my first Grand Slam after three years. Now everything is positive for me. I think I am in a good way to be 100 per cent soon."
Selected - Men's 2nd rd: Juan Martin del Potro (Arg) bt Stanislas Wawrinka (Sui) 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 6-3, Andy Murray (Gbr) bt Lu Yen-hsun (Tpe) 6-3 6-2 6-1, Jiri Vesely (Cze) bt Dominic Thiem (Aut) 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3), Sam Querrey (USA) bt Thomaz Bellucci (Bra) 6-4 6-3 6-2, Albert Ramos (Esp) bt Viktor Troicki (Srb) 3-6 6-3 6-3 2-6 6-3.
Selected - Women's 3rd rd: Carla Suarez Navarro (Esp) bt Marina Erakovic (Nzl) 6-2 6-2. 2nd rd: Annika Beck (Ger) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Blr) 6-2 6-1, Katerina Siniakova (Cze) bt Caroline Garcia (Fra) 4-6 6-4 6-1, Elena Vesnina (Rus) bt Andrea Petkovic (Ger) 7-5 6-3, Euginie Bouchard (Can) bt Johanna Konta (Gbr) 6-3 1-6 6-1, Erakovic bt Jelena Jankovic (Srb) 4-6 7-6 (7-1) 8-6, Jana Cepelova (Svk) bt Garbine Muguruza (Esp) 6-3 6-2.
Earlier, Wimbledon's organisers were considering playing on the middle Sunday for the first time in 12 years in an attempt to get the rain-lashed event back on track.
"Sunday play is being considered but a decision won't be made until tomorrow," a spokesman for the All England Club said.
Play on the middle Sunday - the traditional rest day in the Wimbledon fortnight - last took place in 2004.
It has happened only on two other occasions, in 1991 and 1997.
This year's Wimbledon has been badly affected by the weather, with long delays on Tuesday and Wednesday. Only one minute of action was possible on some of the outside courts yesterday and just a quarter of an hour on Court One till 2pm.
Rain has seriously disrupted the tournament schedule for the past four days.
The organisers had to pay out refunds of between 50 per cent and 100 per cent on Wednesday's tickets for the open courts.
There were still 16 second-round singles matches to be completed yesterday - the day usually reserved for the start of the third round.
Scheduling during rain delays will ease in 2019 when a new roof over Court One will be in operation.
In both 2004 and 1997, two days of play were completely rained off in the opening week of the tournament .
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
Day 6: Singtel TV Ch114/116 & StarHub Ch208/210, 6.30pm