x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Blake gives Del Potro a fright

The fourth seeded Argentine rallied back to survive the second round match by claiming a marathon five-set thriller against the American.

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro rallied back to claim a marathon five-set thriller against James Blake yesterday to win their second-round match 6-4, 6-7, 5-7, 6-3, 10-8. The topsy-turvy match saw the American go 2-0 up in the final set but the power of fourth seed Del Potro eventually proved too much for the 30-year-old. "It's very difficult to keep trying, to keep going," Del Potro said.

"You have to be focused on every point every time, and try to take your chance. I had my chance in the last set." Andy Roddick's bad-tempered start to the tournament continued yesterday despite moving into the third round with a straight-sets win over Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci. The 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win was marred by an altercation between Roddick and the chair umpire Fergus Murphy. The American, who berated a line-judge following a collision between the two during his first-round match, was involved in a heated exchange with officials after an umpiring decision on match point.

A HawkEye challenge judged a Bellucci volley to be in with Murphy awarding the point to the Brazilian. Roddick was heard swearing twice during the exchange that followed and although convinced the point should have been replayed at the time, the seventh seed was not quite so sure after watching television replays. "I thought I was going to be 100 per cent right. It's definitely closer than I felt it was while I was on court," he said.

It was also plain sailing for Rafael Nadal, with the defending champion thrashing Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. The Spaniard was rarely stretched by his 22-year-old opponent in a match which lasted just under two hours. There were no problems either for Britain's Andy Murray who swept aside France's Marc Gicquel 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.