Del Potro beats qualifier Williams at Aussie OpenJuan Martin del Potro of Argentina makes a backhand return to Rhyne Williams of the U.S. during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro recovered from a slow start to defeat U.S. qualifier Rhyne Williams 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.
Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, made several unforced errors to drop the first-set tiebreaker, but cleaned up his game in the second set and controlled the rest of the three-hour match.
The Argentine player is coming off a victory at the Sydney International tournament last week, his 18th career title.
He hadn't lost to a player ranked as low as No. 130-ranked Williams since Tokyo in 2009, when he fell to No. 189 Edouard Roger-Vasselin.