Del Potro returns with a win in London

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Updated: June 12, 2013

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Juan Martin del Potro was a hard-fought second-round winner Tuesday at the $900,000 Aegon Championships, a grass-court Wimbledon tune-up.

Playing his first tennis in four weeks, the third-seeded Argentine slugger held off Belgian veteran Xavier Malisse 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 7-5 at The Queen’s Club.

The former U.S. Open champion del Potro missed the French Open while recovering from an illness.

Some second-round action was postponed because of rain/darkness, including matches for fifth-seeded reigning Queen’s Club champ Marin Cilic and 10th- seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Cilic will have to wait until Wednesday to meet fellow Croat Ivan Dodig, while Dimitrov will encounter four-time Queen’s Club titlist Lleyton Hewitt on Day 3.

Cilic titled here a year ago when his opponent in the final, 2002 Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian, defaulted the match after smashing his racquet into an advertising board and injuring a linesman in the process. Cilic lost the first set via tiebreak and was leading 4-3 in the second when the match was stopped and the Croat was proclaimed the winner.

In other second-round action involving seeds, No. 6 Sam Querrey of the United States outlasted game Slovenian Aljaz Bedene 7-6 (13-11), 5-7, 7-6 (7-5) for his 200th career win and another American, Denis Kudla, ousted No. 9 Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4. Querrey was the Queen’s Club champion in 2010.

In first-round action involving seeds, No. 11 Julien Benneteau took care of fellow Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (9-7), 6-3; No. 12 Czech Lukas Rosol overcame Aussie qualifier Samuel Groth 6-7 (7-9), 6-3, 6-2; No. 13 Finn Jarkko Nieminen drubbed American Ryan Harrison 6-3, 6-3; No. 14 Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan edged out Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-3); France’s Michael Llodra drove out No. 15 Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-3, 6-1; and No. 16 Grega Zemlja of Slovenia beat British wild card Kyle Edmund 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).

Additional opening-round wins came for Spanish qualifier Feliciano Lopez, Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, German Benjamin Becker, and France’s Kenny De Schepper.

This week’s top seeds are last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Andy Murray and 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych. The reigning U.S. Open champion Murray was the Queen’s Club winner in 2009 and 2011.

Murray will face the 2007 Queen’s Club runner-up Mahut on Wednesday, while Berdych will be opposed by Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker.

The 2013 Queen’s Club champ will earn $115,000.

TUESDAY’S SECOND ROUND MATCHES

Juan Martin del Potro (3) def. Xavier Malisse, 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 7-5
Marin Cilic (5) vs. Ivan Dodig
Sam Querrey (6) def. Aljaz Bedene, 7-6 (13-11), 5-7, 7-6 (7-5)
Alexandr Dolgopolov (7) vs. Santiago Giraldo
Denis Kudla def. Benoit Paire (9), 6-3, 6-4
Grigor Dimitrov (10) vs. Lleyton Hewitt

TUESDAY’S FIRST ROUND MATCHES

Julien Benneteau (11) def. Adrian Mannarino, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3
Lukas Rosol (12) def. Samuel Groth, 6-7 (7-9), 6-3, 6-2
Jarkko Nieminen (13) def. Ryan Harrison, 6-3, 6-3
Denis Istomin (14) def. Andrey Kuznetsov, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-3)
Michael Llodra def. Pablo Andujar (15), 6-3, 6-1
Grega Zemlja (16) def. Kyle Edmund, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
Nicolas Mahut def. Rhyne Williams, 6-3, 6-2
Benjamin Becker def. Bernard Tomic, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4)
Kenny De Schepper def. Rajeev Ram, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-4
Feliciano Lopez def. Ricardas Berankis, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4