Del Potro beats Baghdatis at Japan Open
TOKYO (AP) - Top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro moved into the second round of the Japan Open with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus on Tuesday.
Playing under the roof at Ariake Colosseum because of rain, del Potro came back from a sluggish first set to secure the win in just over two hours.
His opponent in the second round will be Argentine compatriot Carlos Berlocq.
Del Potro, ranked seventh in the world, prevailed with solid play from the baseline and capitalized on some crucial mistakes by Baghdatis.
Baghdatis, ranked 49th, broke serve in the opening game of the match and held throughout to take the first set. The Cypriot mixed it up, frequently coming to the net and using drop shots to try and keep Del Potro off balance.
The players exchanged breaks early in the second set, then stayed on serve until the final game, when Del Potro broke with a volley at the net to level the match.
The crucial point in the match came in the eighth game of the final set, when Del Potro converted on his fourth break point chance to go up 5-3 after Baghdatis hit a return into the net.
Del Potro then closed out the contest on serve in the next game.
Baghdatis had 17 aces in the loss and was undone by some untimely unforced errors.
Del Potro was a late addition to the tournament after Andy Murray, the 2011 champion, pulled out due to a back injury. Del Potro is seeking his third title of the season, following victories in Rotterdam and Washington.
Defending champion Kei Nishikori, the fourth seed, was scheduled to play unseeded Jurgen Melzer of Austria later Tuesday.
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