Sporting his trademark headband, and with the temperature in Melbourne nudging 40 degrees at 7pm, men’s sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro would have been expecting to work up a sweat.
And even though the big Argentinean did some perspiring on account of the conditions, his tennis was seemingly effortless in a straight sets 6-2 6-4 6-2 demolition of Germany’s Benjamin Becker on Thursday night.
Despite it being their first meeting on tour, del Potro appeared to have the man on the other side of the net figured out from the opening point. Becker, on the other hand, looked all at sea trying to combat the 24-year-old’s powerful one-two-punch combination.
A booming serve, routinely followed by a crushing forehand, did the damage for del Potro as he racked up a total of 22 aces and 50 winners.
“I was very confident with my serve and with my movement,” he said after the match.
Although content with his performances in the opening two matches, del Potro revealed he still has a few more tricks up his sleeve.
“I’m working on my volley but I’m confident playing from the baseline. The way to beat the top guys is to go to the net (a bit more).”
Hindered by a first serve percentage of just 37, Becker was broken twice in the opening set as del Potro surged to take it 6-2.
The 2009 US Open champion then reeled off eight consecutive points for a 2-0 lead in the second.
Becker, who turned professional in 2005, the same year as del Potro, managed to stem the bleeding momentarily, but it wasn’t enough to stop his 198cm opponent from claiming the set 6-4.
The start of the third set bore resemblance to the two prior as the 31-year-old Becker, ranked 66th in the world, was again broken in the opening game.
From there, del Potro continued with his impersonation of a steamroller, achieving another break before closing it out in style with a 199km/h ace down the middle.
Next to feel the heat of the del Potro racquet will be Jeremy Chardy in the third round, after the Frenchman outlasted Spanish 30th seed Marcel Granollers in four sets earlier on Thursday.
If all goes to plan, a quarterfinal showdown against world No.3 Andy Murray looms on the horizon.