© Peter Staples/ATP World Tour

Juan Martin del Potro gains confidence in his backhand against Jeremy Chardy.

Del Potro Powers Up In Delray

Argentine downs Chardy to reach semi-finals

Wild card Juan Martin del Potro continued his successful comeback with a 6-2, 6-3 quarter-final win over good friend Jeremy Chardy at the Delray Beach Open on Friday. The towering Argentine broke serve four times in the 80-minute win against the fifth seed.

“I’m surprising myself with the good tennis I’ve been playing,” del Potro said. “I’m still working to get back to my top level, if I can. But I’m really enjoying playing tennis again. I’m so glad to be able to play another match. It’s so nice to be in this stadium and have fans come and watch me play.

“Against Top 30 players, you can’t keep hitting slice backhands, so I tried to hit more two-handed backhands than yesterday. I’m still working on improving my backhand and staying with it in competition. It’s part of the recovery for my wrist.”

The powerful del Potro will face big-serving American Sam Querrey in the semi-finals. Querrey was pushed to the limit by countryman Tim Smyczek before prevailing 6-7(1), 7-6(4), 6-4. Smyczek was attempting to reach his first ATP World Tour semi-final.

“I tried to stay aggressive and hit through the wind,” Querrey said. “I probably had a lot of errors out there, but I tried to hit the ball through the court. Tim is a great guy, and I always want the best for my buddies. If he keeps playing well, he will have his chances.”