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Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Monday, 10 January 2011

Juan Martin Del Potro beats Feliciano Lopez in Sydney

Juan Martin del Potro
Del Potro has only played twice since the 2010 Australian Open

Fit-again former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro came from a set down to beat sixth seed Feliciano Lopez 6-7 7-6 7-6 in the Sydney International.

Argentine Del Potro, who missed most of 2010 with a wrist injury, said: "I need work to keep going in this road."

Del Potro, 22, faces Florian Mayer in the second round after the German saw off Britain's James Ward 7-5 6-0.

Earlier, defending champion Marcos Baghdatis withdrew from the tournament with a groin injury.

Playing in only his third tournament since undergoing surgery on his wrist in May 2010, it was just the workout Del Potro needed as he bids to win back his place among the world's top players.

The 6ft 6in Argentine, who finished the 2009 season at a career-high fifth in the world rankings after reaching the final of the ATP World Tour Finals in London, went into the tournament in Sydney ranked 258.

He looked a little rusty in the opening two sets against world number 32 Lopez and lost the opening set 7-5 in the tie-break.

Del Potro then had to save match point in the second set tie-break before turning it around to take it 11-9 and level the match.

Lionel Hutz

The deciding set also had to be settled by a tie-break, with Del Potro taking it 7-3 as he converted his first match point with a forehand to the open court.

The Argentine was pleased by the way in which he had stood up physically to more than three gruelling hours under the Sydney sun.

"I worked very hard for two months in Argentina. My coaches trust in my condition and I trust myself, so I'm ready again to play long matches," he added.

"I will see how I feel after tomorrow, but I have my physical trainer here and my coach. They know how I can be better for my next match."

Mayer breezed past British number two Ward in straight sets.

James Ward
Britain's number two Ward is ranked 207 in the world

Ward, 23, had a wildcard in Sydney but was totally outplayed by his German opponent, who is ranked 37 in the world, 170 places above the Londoner.

Ward held his own in the first set but failed to win a solitary game in the second.

There was delight for the home crowd in the women's draw as Australia's Samantha Stosur saw off Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 7-5 6-4 to earn a second-round clash against Svetlana Kuznetsova

But French Open Champion Francesca Schiavone was beaten 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 2-6 by Russia's Alisa Kleybanova in the opening round.

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see also
Del Potro suffers comeback defeat
28 Sep 10 |  Tennis
Del Potro faces prolonged lay-off
06 May 10 |  Tennis

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