18 Feb DEL POTRO GETS IT DONE
DEL POTRO GETS IT DONE
Querrey Makes It Three Americans In Quarterfinals
By STEVE DORSEY
Delray Beach, Fla. – Juan Martin Del Potro wrote another chapter Thursday night for the feel-good story of this year’s Delray Beach Open.
The popular Argentine is making his return to the ATP World Tour circuit here at the Delray Beach Stadium and Tennis Center following an 11-month hiatus because of a left wrist injury that required two surgeries last year.
Forty-eight hours after winning the first match of his return, Del Potro penciled his name into the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Aussie qualifier John-Patrick Smith in front of a boisterous pro-Del Potro crowd in Thursday’s nightcap match.
“It was a great atmosphere again,” Del Potro said. “I felt the energy and it was fantastic for me.”
Del Potro admittedly is not his old self following the long layoff from the tour, especially from a physical standpoint. He said he was “100 percent” fatigued following his match Tuesday night and his win Thursday night also sapped him despite needing only two sets to advance.
“I think tonight was even worse,” Del Potro said. “I didn’t expect to play three matches in a row this week.”
Del Potro was able to negotiate the aggressive rush-to-the-net tendencies of Smith, who upset defending Delray Beach champion Ivo Karlovic in the first round.
“He’s a lefty, so I should hit my backhand down the line all the time, but I don’t have the confidence to do it yet,” Del Potro said. “Usually I hit winners with my backhand. . . . I couldn’t expect nothing more than what I did tonight.”
Del Potro received a wild card invitation from Indian Wells on Thursday, but he said he has not decided yet whether to accept.
“I would like to be there for sure. If I finish here in good shape, we’ll see,” Del Potro said. “I have to be smart with my schedule and be patient.”
Del Potro will join three Americans in the quarterfinals where his next opponent will be No. 5 seed Jeremy Chardy of France in Friday’s featured nightcap match on the Stadium Court.
Del Potro’s win Thursday night was preceded by Sam Querrey’s 6-4, 6-3 win against fellow American Austin Krajicek – who ousted top seed Kevin Anderson in the first round – to set up another all-American pairing in the quarterfinals. Querrey will face wild card Tim Smyczek, a three-set winner against No. 7 seed American Donald Young, at 6 p.m. Friday.
Querrey, ranked No. 61 in the world and a semifinalist at Delray Beach in 2008 when he was 20 years old, echoed what other players said earlier in the day regarding the windy conditions.
“It was one of those days where you just want to get through it,” Querrey said. “Neither of us played particularly well. I don’t think anyone is in this kind of weather. It’s the swirling (wind), but it’s like this every year, so you know it’s coming. You just got to not let it bug you. It’s the same for both guys. You do your best to stay positive and get through.”
That kind of attitude could serve Querrey well as he bids for his eighth career ATP title in a seemingly wide-open tournament that has seen upsets daily and only three of the eight seeds still alive.
“I do like it here,” said Querrey, who delivered 10 aces in his win against Krajicek. “Every guy is tricky and the wind is definitely a neutralizer. It’s an opportunity for everyone.”
The quarterfinals will kick off at 12:30 p.m. Friday when No. 4 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria faces No. 8 seed Adrian Mannarino of France. That will be followed by the match between American Rajeev Ram and German Benjamin Becker.