Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) - 2013 US Open
Former US Open champions Juan Martin del Potro, Andy Murray and Lleyton Hewitt secured their places in the 2nd round at Flushing Meadows with victories over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Michael Llodra and Brian Baker respectively.
Del Potro needed four hours 21 minutes to battle past world No. 74 Garcia-Lopez, whose aces and down-the-line winners frustrated the Argentine as much as the rain delays.
“He's a very tough opponent,” said the world No. 6, “He plays so solid on the baseline. We play like every time long rallies, I got to make three or four winners in the same point to win the point.”
Del Potro will face 2001 US Open champion Hewitt, who needed four sets to get past Baker, in the next round.
Rain interrupted play on day three of the US Open which led to many women’s matches being cancelled and Murray and Llodra’s match not starting until 9.55pm – the third-latest start for a US Open night session in recorded history.
Fortunately Murray didn’t require much time to see off the Frenchman, producing a clinical display to send the world No. 49 packing after one hour 38 minutes, 62 64 63. Murray will face Leonardo Mayer in the 2nd round on Friday.
“It was a fairly high standard match,” said the defending champion. “Lots of reactions and dropshots, and definitely tested my movement today. “
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, No. 9 seed Stanislas Wawrinka got his US Open campaign off to a flying start with a 76 63 62 victory over Radek Stepanek, while Tim Smyczek and Rajeev Ram gave the home fans something to cheer about as they both progressed. It was the end of the road for one American however as James Blake was unable to stop a fight back from Ivo Karlovic, finally succumbing to the Croatian 67 36 64 76 76 to end his illustrious singles career.
On the women’s side, Jie Zheng emerged victorious from a three-set thriller against Venus Williams to set up a third round clash with Carla Suarez Navarro, who defeated USA’s Coco Vandeweghe 63 64.
Agnieszka Radwanska and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova managed to get their 2nd round matches completed before the rain came and will face off in the 3rd round, as will Li Na and Laura Robson, who overcame Sofia Arvidsson and Caroline Garcia respectively.