Australian Open: Juan Martin del Potro survives pain and young Russian gun

The Argentine 12th seed needed three hours and 45 minutes in oppressive court conditions to see off Karen Khachanov.

Juan Martin del Potro (left) and Karen Khachanov after their gruelling match in Melbourne on Thursday.   -  AP

Former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro fought off rising Russian Karen Khachanov as he battled through the pain barrier to reach the third round at the Australian Open on Thursday. The Argentine 12th seed needed three hours and 45 minutes in oppressive court conditions to see off the 47th-ranked youngster 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (0/7), 6-4 on Hisense Arena.

Del Potro, 29, in his first appearance in Melbourne for four years after wrist injuries, will face Czech veteran Tomas Berdych in the third round.

‘Difficult’

"It was really difficult to play. Almost 40 (Celsius) degrees out there is too much for the health," Del Potro said. "We did a big effort to play good tennis. The weather condition was too high for playing tennis. I survive. I will play after tomorrow I hope in different conditions. I have pain everywhere after that match but I am still standing up and that's good," he added.

Read: Wawrinka knocked out

Del Potro, who reached the third round in Melbourne for the fifth time, is looking to improve in his quarterfinal appearances in 2009 and 2012, losing to Roger Federer both times. The Argentine, who upset Federer in the 2009 US Open final, came into Melbourne a losing finalist to Roberto Bautista Agut in Auckland this month.

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