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Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina serves 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.
MELBOURNE, Australia—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.