By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - Andy Roddick's right shoulder survived a bruising examination by Spaniard Feliciano Lopez on Tuesday as the American opened his grasscourt season with a 7-6 6-7 6-4 victory in the second round at Queen's Club.
The three-times Wimbledon runner-up watched 35 aces whistle past his racket but finally broke Lopez's wickedly sliding, left-handed serve in the last game of the match to move into the third round of the tournament he has won four times.
"I didn't enjoy it when I saw that I might play him in the second round but it felt great on the grass," the former world number one, who missed the French Open because of his sore shoulder, said at courtside in the west London sunshine.
"I knew it would be a tough match. He's a very good grasscourt player and he serves big but I thought I really started to return well in that third set.
"I'm happy to be back in London because this is one of my favorite tournaments in the world."
Roddick, always popular with the London crowds for his all-action style, was joined in the third round by Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro who beat Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 6-4 6-2 despite needing treatment after tumbling on the slick grass.
Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion whose career has been stalled by wrist and hip injuries, had a bandage wrapped around his left thigh but said it was nothing serious.
"It was just to check it was nothing dangerous, the trainer said you're okay. I played really well," the former top-four player, now ranked 22 in the world, told reporters.
Defending champion Sam Querrey reached the third round, beating German veteran Rainer Schuettler 7-6 5-7 6-3, and will face British wildcard James Ward who produced the shock of the day to dispose of Swiss fourth seed Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 6-3.
There were no hiccups for French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or seventh seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain as they both enjoyed easy victories.
Top seed Rafa Nadal, preparing to defend his Wimbledon crown in two weeks, plays on Wednesday against Australia's Matthew Ebden although he was scheduled to get the grass under his feet in a late evening doubles on Tuesday with Marc Lopez.
Third seed Roddick could not have been given a tougher draw, especially as the rangy Lopez had sharpened his game with a confident first-round win over Dmitry Tursunov.
Crowds enjoying a return to warmer conditions after Monday's early rain were treated to a serving exhibition as both men traded blows across the net.
Rallies were short but the sight of the seemingly lost art of volleying provided great entertainment.
Roddick struck first, cracking down one of his 15 aces to take the first-set tiebreak 7-2.
Lopez carved out a rare chance to break the Roddick serve, reaching 15-40 in the eighth game of the second set, but failed to convert his opportunity and another tiebreak beckoned.
This time it was Lopez who came out on top, winning it 7-5 with some deft touches around the net which at one point had Roddick sprawling to the turf.
Roddick brushed himself down, however, and with impeccable timing he produced some brilliant returning as Lopez served at 4-5 in the decider.
A dipping backhand winner flashed past Lopez to bring up two match points and although Lopez saved both with a beefy serve and then a wrong-footing volley, Roddick pounced at the third attempt, forcing the Spaniard into a wild forehand error.
(Editing by Clare Fallon)