London, England – 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.