By David Sedore, Palm Beach

DELRAY BEACH — Once again, Delray Beach became Buenos Aires North, as Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina defeated Australian John Patrick Smith 6-4, 6-4.

Del Potro of Argentina didn't celebrate the victory quite as exuberantly as he did Tuesday — that was his first competitive match in 11 months — but the crowd, largely pro-del Potro, did. At least five Argentine flags rippled through the stands afterwards.

"I'm so happy to be playing in front of you — you give me energy to play this tournament," del Potro told the crowd.

And he needed every bit of energy the crowd gave him. Afterwards, speaking to reporters, del Potro described himself as "100 percent fatigued" after Tuesday night's match. "Tonight was bad, even worse than yesterday. Tomorrow, hopefully I will feel better."

Del Potro said his backhand still isn't where it was before the injury and it showed at times during the match with Smith. But he said overall, he played about as he expected to. Again, as it he did Tuesday, del Potro flashed a powerful serve, regularly topping 120 mph. He had only one ace for the match, however.

The match didn't start out particularly well for del Potro. Smith broke del Potro's service in the first game of the first set. But del Potro broke back in the sixth game and again in the 10th to take the set.

In the second set, Smith was down 5-3 and receiving del Potro's serve. But he broke del Potro and shouted, "come on!" Del Potro promptly broke back, taking the set and the match.

Del Potro's win sets up a quarterfinal match with Jeremy Chardy of France, who beat qualifer Noah Rubin of the United States 6-4, 6-2. Chardy said he and del Potro are friends, dating back to their days playing juniors.

"I'm happy for him to be back," Chardy said. "You can have bad results but to be hurt is difficult."

Also Thursday, Tim Smyczek of the U.S. defeated fellow American Donald Young 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-2. Young was a finalist last year at Delray and the tournament's seventh seed this year. In another match between two Americans, Sam Querrey beat Austin Krajicek 6-4, 6-3.

Jeremy Chardy of France, chasing down the ball Thursday against Noah Rubin of the United States.
jermy chardy



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FEBRUARY 18, 2016 click to go home
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Juan Martin del Potro backhands against John Patrick Smith of Australia Thursday at the Delray Beach Open.
Two down as del Potro continues comeback at Delray Beach Open
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