DELRAY BEACH, February 19, 2016
The top half of the Delray Beach Open was in action to complete second round matches on Thursday. Juan Martin Del Potro, who celebrated his first victory in the opening round since January 2015 against Denis Kudla, continued his comeback trail by beating Australian qualifier John-Patrick Smith 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 17 minutes.
“Physically I felt good,” del Potro said after his match. “But I was playing too many slices. It’s not my game. If I improve my backhand, I will once again be the Tower of Tandil. I am so happy to be here, playing in front of my fans. If I can play better, next year I will be back for sure.”
Del Potro will face fifth seed Jeremy Chardy next. The 29-year-old Frenchman eased past US-American wild card Noah Rubin, winning 73% of his first service points to seal a 6-4, 6-2 victory in 70 minutes.
“I know del Potro really well,” Chardy is looking forward to the quarterfinals. “He’s one year younger than me so we’ve known each other since we were kids. He’s a good friend of mine. We had a lot of fun in juniors together. We never missed a Players Party back then. I am really happy for him to come back.”
Two all-US-American-showdowns took also place on Stadium Court when 2008 semi-finalist Sam Querrey defeated Austin Krajicek 6-4, 6-3. The world number 61 from Las Vegas sent down 10 aces and won 54% of the total points to advance after 68 minutes.
Querrey is going to take on wild card Tim Smyczek next to guarantee that one local player will reach the semis. Smyczek beat seventh seed Donald Young 1-6, 7-6, 6-2. In the only match of the day, which went the distance, the Tampa resident capitalized on three of his five break point chances to prevail in one hour and 53 minutes.
“I was trying to figure out how to disrupt what he was doing,” told Smyczek, who was a set and a break down. “My game plan wasn’t bothering him so I had to do something different. I stopped being so offensive. Donald does very well when he’s under pressure so I had to turn the tables a bit.
“Because we’ve played each other so often in the past, I had to do some things which weren’t my forte. Same for him, which was interesting. I am happy I fought my way through,” he continued.