The Argentine experienced every emotion on Stadium 1, fashioning 16 break point opportunities in the opening set but none in set two.
Ferrer, who ran him close in Acapulco last week where del Potro reigned supreme, steadied himself in the second frame and briefly threatened to take the match to a decider, but the Argentine used all his guile to prevail in a tie-break.
He will face countryman Leonardo Mayer in the last 16 after the 30-year-old made light work of Taro Daniel.
It was a section that was billed towards the expected encounter between del Potro and Novak Djokovic, but the Serb’s shock exit to Daniel in the second round curtailed those expectations.
This quarter has also seen the withdrawal of Kei Nishikori before his opening match and number two seed Marin Cilic also crashed out at the hands of Philippe Kohlschreiber.
Nevertheless, it required a professional job and del Potro immediately pressurized the Ferrer serve.
He constructed six separate break points in the third game of the opening set but he could not punish the Spaniard, botching two straightforward returns.
The Argentine fashioned another two break opportunities in Ferrer’s next service game but likewise, he could not convert, slamming his racket to the ground in frustration.
He would receive a telling off from the umpire and his annoyance would not abate until he broke the Spaniard’s resolve for a 4-3 lead.
The set was closed out in 51 minutes after he wasted three set points on the Spaniard’s deal and by the end, he had converted only one of 16 break point chances.
Not that the Argentine will have cared but he was forced to raise his level in the second set as Ferrer regained consistency from the baseline.
Indeed, it took the Spaniard until his fifth service game to lose a point on serve and he carved out his only break point of the afternoon in the eighth game.
The Argentine staved off his advances with an ace and a tie-break would be forced to split the duo.
And when del Potro raced out to a 4-0 lead the momentum stood with him. Ferrer stayed on his coat tail but victory was secured for the former finalist when the Spaniard notched a backhand wide.