18 Feb SMYCZEK SECOND AMERICAN INTO QUARTERFINALS
SMYCZEK SECOND AMERICAN INTO QUARTERFINALS
French Veteran Jeremy Chardy Schools American Teen
By STEVE DORSEY
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Delray Beach, Fla. – Wild card Tim Smyczek rallied from a sluggish start to oust No. 7 seed Donald Young in an all-American matchup, but his wild-card compatriot Noah Rubin was sent home by No. 5 seed Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in straight sets Thursday afternoon in second-round action at the ATP World Tour’s Delray Beach Open.
Chardy is one of only three seeds still alive in the 32-player singles draw.
Thursday was the first time that Smyczek and Young had faced each other on the ATP World Tour, but they are no stranger to each other, having met 12 previous times on the Challenger and Futures circuits. Young won eight of those head-to-head meetings, but Smyczek’s win here is the 28-year-old American’s third in a row dating to 2013.
“We know each other very well, so there’s no secrets,” Smyczek, ranked No. 129 in the world, said. “The thing is when guys play each other that often, you see them not play their ‘A’ game as much. So I tried to do some things that normally are not my forte, but I’m sure he was trying to do the same thing. It was interesting, and I’m happy I really fought my way through that one.”
Things looked bleak for Smyczek after Young breezed through the first set, but Smyczek tweaked his approach in the second set and by the start of the third set momentum has switched dramatically.
“I was just trying to figure out a way to disrupt what he was doing,” said Smyczek, who backed off some from his aggressive offensive approach after the first set. “It didn’t seem like my game plan was really bothering him, so I changed it up a little bit. I was feeling good mentally, even while I was kind of getting my butt kicked. It was important for me to be ready when I got just a glimmer of hope, and I saw a break point (in second set) and converted and things kind of changed from there.”
The last time the two met in 2014, Young retired in the second set with a left shoulder injury, and the No. 58-ranked player in the world requested a medical timeout to have a trainer examine his left wrist in the third set with Young trailing 4-1, but he continued and finished the match.
The 19-year-old Rubin broke into the Top 250 of ATP World rankings for first time after reaching the second round in his Australian Open debut, but the 2014 junior Wimbledon champion won only three games after taking a 3-1 lead in the first set against the 29-year-old Chardy on a sunny but windy afternoon on the Stadium Court at the Delray Beach Tennis Center.
“It was really difficult to play today because of the wind. It was changing all the time,” said Chardy, who is ranked No. 30 in the world and is making his third appearance at Delray Beach. “The match was really not good level for both of us, but I’m real happy to win and get to the next one. I feel good, but I can play better.
Chardy joins fellow Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in reaching the quarterfinals while Smyczek joined compatriot Rajeev Ram in the quarterfinal round. Both Mannarino and Ram won their second round matches Wednesday to advance.
Chardy and Smyczek will play their quarterfinal matches Friday night and will be matched against the winners of Thursday night’s matches, which include another all-American pairing between Austin Krajicek and Sam Querrey, followed by the nightcap between qualifier John-Patrick Smith of Australia against wild card Argentine and fan favorite Juan Martin Del Potro.