Men’s fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro has made a shock early exit from Australian Open 2014, the Argentine squandering a two sets to one lead to fall to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6 6-3 5-7 6-4 7-5 in a match that finished in the early hours of Friday morning in Melbourne.
On a day where extreme heat, lightning and rain caused matches to be delayed, Bautista Agut clocked 72 winners on Show Court 2 to stun Del Potro, who came into the first major of the season in red-hot form after winning the Sydney lead-in tournament last weekend.
It was the second successive year Del Potro failed to advance into the second week of the Australian Open, falling in the third round in 2013 to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in five sets.
The Argentine said Bautista Agut played the big points best in a match that lasted for three hours and 53 minutes.
“I think he play a great match during the four hours; it's tough when you play very high level during four hours,” Del Potro said.
“In every moment what I have, he play unbelievable shot. In break-point down, he serves well. He made winners with forehands, backhands, and he play always to the line very often during the match.”
Bautista Agut, the world No. 62 who lost at the corresponding stage of last year’s Australian Open, said the win was “one of my best in my career.”
“He's a great player, one of the best in the world, and I could beat him. I'm so happy because of that,” he said.
“Today I could return a lot of serves from del Potro. This was the key to win the fourth and the five sets.”
With the win, Bautista Agut advances to a third round meeting with Frenchman Benoit Paire, who came from two sets down to oust Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios in a match that went for three hours and 20 minutes and also finished in the early hours of Friday morning.