MELBOURNE, Australia -- U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro held off James Blake in a marathon five-setter Wednesday, winning 6-4, 6-7 (3), 5-7, 6-3, 10-8 in 4 hours, 17 minutes on Hisense Arena, the second show court at Melbourne Park.
Del Potro, who beat Roger Federer in last year's U.S. Open final, had
a chance to serve for the match at 6-5 in the fifth after breaking
Blake. However, Blake broke back immediately, helped by two errors
from the 21-year-old Argentine.
Del Potro again broke Blake for a 9-8 lead and another chance to
serve it out. He closed with a big serve out to Blake's backhand
side on his first match point.
Blake fell to 4-13 in five-set matches.
"It's tough to rank them," Blake said of his losses in five sets. "But right now it hurts pretty bad."
Del Potro has been bothered by tendinitis in his right wrist that first cropped up late last year and caused him to pull out of the semifinals of the Kooyong exhibition tournament last week.
When asked if he was in pain, he said: "A little bit. But I can play."
Defending champion Rafael Nadal converted five of his first six break-point chances in an emphatic 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 second-round win over Slovakia's Lukas Lacko, extending his run to nine straight wins at Melbourne Park.
The Spaniard was rarely pushed by 75th-ranked Lacko, who struggled with his serve and amassed 53 unforced errors at Rod Laver Arena.
Lacko saved two of three match points at 5-2 in the third but conceded the match on the third in less than two hours.
"I played a serious match. I think I played the match what I need to play," said Nadal, a six-time Grand Slam winner. "I was playing, moving well in the beginning without mistakes, having with the control of the ball."
Britain's Andy Murray, who could meet Nadal in the quarterfinals, advanced to the third round after beating Marc Gicquel of France 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. Murray is attempting to win his first Grand Slam title and become the first British man in more
than 70 years to win a singles major.
No. 14 Marin Cilic, who ended French veteran Fabrice Santoro's 70th Grand Slam campaign in the first round, rallied to beat local hope Bernard Tomic in five sets in a center-court second-round match that finished after 2 a.m. local time.
Roddick argued with the chair umpire, Fergus Murphy of Ireland,
over a disputed call at a critical time that was ruled out when it
was eventually shown to be in. Roddick believed he possibly could have
returned the ball if it had not been called out, and let the umpire
know in no uncertain terms.
The Hisense Arena crowd didn't appreciate Roddick continuing the
verbal jousting with Murphy after the match ended and booed the
The former No. 1-ranked Roddick took time to review video after
the match, and was conciliatory in a news conference that followed.
"To be fair, I was more wrong than I thought I was out on
court," Roddick said. "It was a lot closer than I thought as far
as when the call came. I thought I was going to be 100 percent
American John Isner had a 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-5 second-round win over Louk Sorensen, who on Tuesday became the first Irishman to win a Grand Slam main-draw match.
No. 11 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, the 2007 runner-up, beat Turkey's Marsel Ilhan 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.