Del Potro Sets Up Chardy Reunion
Old friends to face off in Delray Beach
Everyone in Delray Beach has been rooting for Juan Martin del Potro, even his next opponent.
“I was really happy for him to come back,” said Jeremy Chardy, whom the Argentine will meet in the quarter-finals of the Delray Beach Open. “For a tennis player, the worst is to be injured. [His comeback] is great for the fans too. We need players like him on the tour.”
Del Potro downed Aussie John-Patrick Smith 6-4, 6-4 during Thursday's night session in 77 minutes to set up a third meeting against Chardy (1-1), who eased past American Noah Rubin 6-4, 6-2.
“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.”
Chardy will be hard-pressed to handle del Potro's power, but he was glad to see his close friend continue his comeback bid.
“I know [del Potro] really well,” Chardy said. “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].”
Tim Smyczek was down a set and a break to fellow American Donald Young, but rallied 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 to reach his second ATP World Tour quarter-final (2011 San Jose).
“I was trying to figure out how to disrupt what he was doing,” Smyczek said. “My game plan wasn’t bothering him so I had to do something different. I stopped being so offensive. [Young] 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.”