NEW YORK (AP) — Juan Martin del Potro closed out countryman Leonardo Mayer in a 20-point tiebreaker, which included a shot by Mayer that bounced off the net post while seemingly headed wide and landed in, to return to the fourth round of the U.S. Open for the first time since his 2009 title run.
The seventh-seeded Argentine won 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (9) in 3 hours, 20 minutes Sunday. Del Potro was unable to defend his championship in 2010 because of right wrist surgery. Last year, he lost in the third round.
At 8-8 in the third-set tiebreaker, Mayer lunged for a ball deep in the corner and his backhand appeared to be sailing wide. But it ricocheted off the top of the post and redirected, touching down in the middle of the court, where del Potro knocked the ball back with a forehand. Mayer couldn't capitalize on the fluky play, though. On his next shot, he hit a backhand long, then leaned back, a hand to his head as he laughed, amazed and frustrated at the same time.
Del Potro said he had never seen a bounce like that. He suggested Mayer's shot might have clipped the line for a winner if it hadn't hit the post.
"Was unbelievable point, really important point," del Potro said.
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