Del Potro marks Centre Court return with Wawrinka victory


Juan Martin del Potro made an emotional return to Wimbledon's Centre Court on Friday as he sent fourth seed Stan Wawrinka packing with a 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 victory.

Two-time Wimbledon quarter-finalist Wawrinka made a positive start on the famous grass as a break in the fourth game saw him move one set ahead.

However, he was unable to maintain that level as Del Potro found his rhythm.

The Argentine is playing in his first grand slam since 2014 after two years plagued by wrist injuries, and while he was far from his previous best, the 27-year-old - who last appeared on Centre Court 1092 days ago - grew in confidence as the match went on.

His booming forehand gave Wawrinka little room to manoeuvre, while his service games offered little for the Swiss to pounce on.

Del Potro's crucial break came in the eighth game of the final set as Wawrinka fired one of his normally trustworthy backhands long.

Victory blows the bottom half of the men's draw wide open and gives Del Potro - a semi-finalist in his last Wimbledon appearance - a third-round tie with either Lucas Pouille or Donald Young.

"It's an amazing sensation for me," Wawrinka told BBC Sport immediately after the win. "I beat one of the guys who is playing great tennis this season. I couldn't have expected this victory before today.

"I enjoyed the crowd, they were incredible. I was so happy on court, it doesn't matter the score, but in the end I beat him and now I'm very happy.

"This is like my second or third career [after my injury troubles]. I was really sad at home for the last two or three years.

"It's a great sensation for me because I am playing tennis again. I feel alive."