Still rounding himself back into form after a long layoff, Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro showed some signs of rust in his second round match at the Delray Beach Open on Thursday, but hung on to defeat Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzegovina 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 and reach the quarterfinals.
“It was a really tough match for me. He was really fast from the baseline and I couldn’t find the place to make winners with my forehand,” said del Potro. “I got my chances at the end of the match and I took it. I think I played my best game in the third set.”
Del Potro is playing in just his second match of the year and it showed a bit early on. He hit five double faults in the opening set but was still able to pull out the opener in a tiebreaker.
He recorded the first break of the second set to take the commanding 3-1 lead, but Dzumhur won five of the next six games to steal the second set and force a deciding third.
The Argentine started coming to the net a bit more in the third set and was able to snag the key break for 4-2 in the decider with a backhand smash winner. Three games later, del Potro served out the match and pushed through into the final eight.
“He was trying to put the ball all the time to my backhand and coming to the net when I sliced. He was smart,” del Potro added. “But in the end I was more offensive from the baseline and came to the net in the important moments and that was the difference.”
The win sets up a quarterfinal showdown with American Sam Querrey, who ousted del Potro in the semifinals of this tournament a year ago.
Querrey knocked off fellow American Jared Donaldson 6-2, 6-3 in his match on Thursday.
American Donald Young came back from a set down to upend young American Taylor Fritz 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to push through into the quarterfinals.
Soon after, Young moved into the semifinals after his next opponent, Steve Darcis of Germany, withdrew from the upcoming match.
In doubles, Long Island’s Scott Lipsky and Israel’s Jonathan Erlich came back from a set down to beat American Brian Baker and Nikola Mektic of Croatia 2-6, 7-6(5), 11-9 to reach the semifinals.
After dropping the first set, Lipsky and Erlich swung the momentum of the match with a break of serve to take a 4-2 lead. Despite getting broken themselves later in the set, Lipsky and Erlich were able to win the second set tiebreaker, and then edge out the super tiebreaker in the third set to advance.
“We tried to just keep playing and stayed focus on our serve in the beginning of the second set,” said Lipsky. “We knew if we could serve that chances would open up on theirs and it did. We were able to hang in there and put some pressure on them.”
Lipsky and Erlich move on to play the second-seeded duo of Rajeev Ram and Raven Klaasen in the semifinals.
New York Tennis Magazine Staff
The New York Tennis Magazine Staff is comprised of tennis pros, tennis coaches and tennis writers