Del Potro battles into round two at Australian Open | sports | Hindustan Times
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Del Potro battles into round two at Australian Open

sports Updated: Jan 16, 2012 10:46 IST

Argentina's world number 11 Juan Martin del Potro needed four sets and three hours to reach the second round on a hot opening day at the Australian Open on Monday.

The former US Open champion dropped the opening set before carving out a 2-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 victory over French world number 91 Adrian Mannarino in just under three hours on Hisense Arena.

Del Potro, who has never lost an opening round match in seven visits to Melbourne, gradually gained ascendancy against the quick-footed French left-hander.

The Argentine giant will now face Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic in the second round after Kavcic's straight-sets win over Britain's James Ward.

Del Potro, who was beaten as top seed by Marcos Baghdatis in the quarter-finals of last week's Sydney International, reeled off 11 winners with his powerful forehand from the back court and clocked a fastest serve of 206 kilometres (128 miles) per hour.

The French left-hander had come out of the blocks fast and broke del Potro's opening two service games to go on and take the first set in 29 minutes.

Mannarino served at a high level of 85% while the Argentinean failed to earn one break point in the opening set.

But del Potro regained the momentum breaking Mannarino's service twice to take control of the second set.

He was briefly interrupted while serving for the set when a spectator sitting in the hot sun collapsed and needed medical treatment before play could continue.

Del Potro got an early break in the third set and fought off a break point in the sixth game.

But Mannarino broke back in the eighth game with a cross-court forehand to level the set at 4-4.

Del Potro's big forehand forced Mannarino into the net for a second break and he served out for a 2-1 sets lead.

Mannarino overhit a forehand on break point to put del Potro ahead in the opening game of the fourth set. And the Frenchman looked tired as del Potro broke again in the third game and cruised to victory in four sets.