NEW YORK — 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 U.S. 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 Wednesday 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.
Del Potro had match point at 6-4 in the final tiebreaker when Garcia-Lopez blocked back a serve into his body, and the ball somehow landed near the line. Just as it was called out, del Potro hit an easy chance at a forehand winner into the net.
Garcia-Lopez challenged the out call, and it was overturned on review. The chair umpire ruled that the point should be replayed, but Garcia-Lopez argued that he should have been awarded the point.
He went on to win the replayed point, anyway, then saved two more match points before del Potro finally won with an emphatic backhand winner. He pumped both fists and bellowed, relieved at the end of a long day.
During a fourth-set changeover, del Potro testily questioned whether Garcia-Lopez was allowed to receive treatment.
"I just lost track of the number of times he asked for the trainer," he said after the match. "At the same time, I was also a bit annoyed with myself."
Garcia-Lopez snapped back when del Potro started asking the chair umpire about the visits from the trainer.
"I don't know what exactly he told me," Garcia-Lopez said. "I have no issues with him. I only told him that whatever he needs to say, he has to say it to my face. I asked him what did he say and he didn't reply."
Garcia-Lopez upset 10th-seeded Juan Monaco in a fifth-set tiebreaker in the first round at Flushing Meadows last year. He proved a pest again Wednesday, running down shot after shot.
"We play every time long rallies," del Potro said. "I got to make three or four winners in the same point to win the point."