WIMBLEDON, England -- Roger Federer won his 50th straight
match on grass Thursday, beating 18-year-old Juan Martin del Potro
of Argentina 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 to reach the third round at Wimbledon.
The four-time defending champion, who will next face Marat Safin, had led 2-0 in the third set before rain halted play
Wednesday. When they resumed, the top-ranked Swiss finished off del
Potro, winning three straight games before del Potro held serve in
the sixth game.
"It was done quickly like I was hoping, but I was ready to go
five sets in case," said Federer, who broke the Argentine five
times and saved the only break point he faced.
No. 2 Rafael Nadal also won, beating Werner Eschauer of Austria
6-2, 6-4, 6-1, and advanced to the third round along with No. 4
Novak Djokovic, No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko and No. 9 James Blake.
Four-time semifinalist Tim Heman lost, however.
The No. 1-seeded Federer, trying to become only the second man
in the Open era to win five straight titles at the All England
Club, finished with 33 winners and made only 23 errors -- one less
than del Potro.
"Fifty is a great number to achieve," said Federer, who is
trying to match Bjorn Borg's streak of Wimbledon titles. "I'm
delighted about that but I haven't won the tournament.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Safin beat Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of
Pakistan 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4) to advance.
"He's always a player who can upset anybody on any day. I hope
he's not going to have one of those crazy good days against me,"
Federer said of Safin. "Hopefully I can use my variety against
Federer said skipping the grass-court warmup tournament in
Halle has not hurt his play, but he did admit to feeling slightly
under the weather.
"I have a bit of throat thing going on, but not much," Federer
Tim Henman, a four-time Wimbledon semifinalist, was eliminated
by Feliciano Lopez of Spain 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 2-6, 6-1 in a
match that started a day earlier. It was the third year in a row
that Henman lost in the second round.
Henman, who also played five sets over two days in the first
round, was the last British man or woman in the tournament. This
was his 14th appearance at Wimbledon, and there has been
speculation that it might be his last.
After the fourth set, the 78th-ranked Lopez took a bathroom
break, which broke Henman's momentum.
"When you get into a fifth, you've got to try to maintain that
momentum," Henman said. "Suddenly he hits two or three good shots
in one game and he's in the driver's seat."
Henman walked to the middle of Centre Court to acknowledge a
standing ovation and then left with no emotion.
"I feel sorry for him because they [British fans] love him and
support him a lot," Lopez said.
Wayne Arthurs, playing in the final tournament of his 17-year
career and at 36 the oldest man in the starting draw, upset No. 11
Tommy Robredo of Spain 6-3, 7-6, (5), 6-3.
Djokovic advanced by beating Amer Delic of the United States
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), while Blake defeated Andrei Pavel of
Romania 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, Davydenko rallied to beat Chris Guccione of
Australia 3-6, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 and 2002 champion Lleyton
Hewitt beat Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.