NEW YORK, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Former champion Juan Martin del Potro outslugged a gritty Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in a contentious four-set match decided by a tiebreaker to reach the second round of the U.S. Open on Wednesday.
Argentine Del Potro, who won his only grand slam at Flushing Meadows in 2009, beat the 74th ranked Spaniard 6-3 6-7 (5) 6-4 7-6 by taking the climactic tiebreak 9-7 on his fourth match point.
The towering sixth seed had all he could handle from an inspired Garcia-Lopez in a match that saw the players bicker on a changeover as Del Potro complained about treatment his opponent was receiving on his left leg.
Garcia-Lopez, who had several extremely close calls in his favour reversed by challenges, kicked at his towel in disgust after a costly reversal during the tiebreaker.
The four hour, 13 minute marathon actually lasted twice as long with two rain delays totalling more than four hours further extending the match.
Del Potro will next play 2001 U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, who beat American wild card Brian Baker 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4. (Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Nick Mulvenney)