MADRID – Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro advanced to the semifinals of the Western and Southern Open with a 6-1, 6-3 victory Friday over France’s Jeremy Chardy and will next take on world No. 2 Novak Djokovic.
The bronze medalist at the London Olympics appeared to be in for a tougher match against a rival who had scored two upsets earlier in the week over American Andy Roddick and Scottish world No. 4 Andy Murray.
But Del Potro dominated play with his solid ground strokes and threatened the Frenchman on nearly all of his service games.
In an encouraging sign for the Argentine and his fans, he also showed little discomfort in his left wrist a day after tweaking it during his match against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.
Del Potro had been forced to take his left hand off the racquet and hit lots of slice backhands during that match, but on Friday he was able to use his strong two-handed backhand as usual.
“I play really well, much better than yesterday ...I broke his serve very early, so that’s give me confidence to still play and healthy and relax and don’t think about my wrist,” Del Potro said in the post-match press conference.
Next up for the big Argentine will be Djokovic, who holds a 4-2 edge in their head-to-head and a 2-1 advantage on hard courts.
Del Potro, however, upset the Serb earlier this month in their last meeting – the bronze-medal match at the London Olympics.
Saturday’s other semifinal match will pit Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, a 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 winner over Canada’s Milos Raonic, against either countryman and four-time Cincinnati champion Roger Federer or American Mardy Fish.
The Western and Southern Open is one of nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events and a key tune-up for the U.S. Open, which gets underway later this month. EFE