Del Potro wins clay debut in Portugal

Former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro survived a scare to beat Portugal’s Pedro Sousa 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the first round of the Estoril Open on Tuesday.

The eighth-seeded Argentine, making his season debut on clay, broke his opponent’s serve in the third and seventh games to take the first set in under half an hour.

But Del Potro’s double fault in game eight of the second set helped Sousa, ranked 488th, level the match.

The Argentine double-faulted again to lose his service in the final set’s opening game before breaking back twice.

Del Potro is working his way back up the rankings after undergoing wrist surgery almost a year ago.

Fifth-seeded Milos Raonic had a less troublesome encounter, eliminating Igor Andreev 6-4, 6-4, while sixth-seeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil defeated Denmark’s Frederik Nielsen 7-5, 6-1.

In the women’s competition, fourth-seeded reigning champion Anastasija Sevastova went out as Urszula Radwanska rallied for a 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-1 win.

Second-seeded Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia and third-seeded Czech player Klara Zakopalova both advanced after straight-set victories over Renata Voracova and Beatriz Garcia Vidagany, respectively.

Eighth-seeded Greta Arn, the champion in 2007 when the Hungarian came through qualifying, overcame Portugal’s Maria Joao Koehler 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.