• US Open

Del Potro forced to dig deep

ESPN staff
August 28, 2013
Goodnight and goodbye ... James Blake brings the curtain down on his professional career © AP

Juan Martin del Potro overcame delays from the rain and his opponent to pull out a grueling four-set win in the first round of the US Open.

The 2009 champion was frustrated by 74th-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez's repeated calls for a trainer to work on his left leg. Del Potro, seeded sixth, rallied from a break down in the last set to win 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (7) in 4 hours, 13 minutes. "I think of all of the matches of the first round, I had the toughest one," del Potro said. "We play every time long rallies. I got to make three or four winners in the same point to win the point."

James Blake's career ended in a fifth-set tiebreaker after he won the first two sets. The 33-year-old American lost 6-7 (2), 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2) in the first round to Ivo Karlovic just after midnight Thursday morning. "I don't know when it's going to hit me," he said. "I don't think I'll be sleeping much tonight."

No. 17 Kevin Anderson of South Africa, No. 20 Andreas Seppi of Italy, No. 21 Mikhail Youzhnyof Russia, 2001 U.S. Open title winner Lleyton Hewitt and 109th-ranked American wild-card entry Tim Smyczek also were among the winners. No. 16 Fabio Fognini and No. 29 Jurgen Melzer lost.

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