"There are racket smashes, and then there are racket smashes" - Sky Sports commentator Barry Millns summed up Alexander Zverev's rage after losing control during his Shanghai Masters defeat.
Bedene's match in Shanghai was the game that followed Grigor Dimitrov's win over Ryan Harrison.
At the start of this week in Shanghai, Del Potro was placed 25th in the race to London despite reaching the US Open semi-finals, knocking out Roger Federer at the quarter-final stage. "I was feeling good the whole match, even coming out of the first set, which he was playing well".
Zverev has already joined Federer and Shanghai top seed Rafael Nadal in the field for next month's ATP Finals in London.
However, the 16th seed outlasted 20-year-old Zverev in the second-set tie-break to take it to a decider.
And then came the turning point as he yielded the crucial service break to go 3-2 down in the third set.
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Also on Thursday, Grigor Dimitrov continued to impress as he beat Sam Querrey 6-3 7-6 (7-3).
"I don't understand how I can lose a match where I get broken one time in three sets and not managed to get any chances on his serve", said Zverev, who is tipped to one day make world number one.
"I just had to be there (on those match points)", Dimitrov said.
Zverev was hoping to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the big tournament in China against Argentine veteran Del Potro. "But I think he's still very young and he needs to keep learning, as he's doing now", said the Argentine, 23 in the world. "He broke rackets too".
Fourth-seeded Marin Cilic will face Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.