The popular Argentinean star, competing this week at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament for the first time since his 2009 title (d. Querrey), struck 11 aces and didn’t face a break point in a 7-6(4), 6-3 victory over Russian Karen Khachanov in one hour and 33 minutes.
“I took all of my chances and I played solidly on my service games,” said del Potro. “I ran a lot today, more than yesterday, which is good for my physical condition and I’m sure I will run more tomorrow against David. It will be a good test for me and I’m very focused to reach the final here.”
The second seed will now prepare for a semi-final against seventh seed and four-time former champion David Ferrer on Friday. Ferrer leads 6-4 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head, but del Potro has won their past two matches (2013 Wimbledon and 2016 US Open).
High-Five For Ferrer In Auckland?
“We have played many times and we always content good matches,” said del Potro. “Nobody cares about David’s ranking, as he is a great champion of the sport. It doesn’t matter about his ranking or mine, I just think it will be a good match for the fans.”
Del Potro, who began the week at No. 12 in the ATP Rankings, will rise to No. 10 on Monday – his first Top 10 position since 4 August 2014 (at No. 10).
In a tight first set against No. 48-ranked Khachanov, Del Potro won the sixth point of the tie-break for a 4/2 lead, then broke in the second game of the second set.
Top Three Doubles Seeds Advance To SFs
Top seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic lost just nine of their first-service points in a 7-6(3), 6-3 win over Daniel Nestor and Donald Young in 72 minutes for a place in the semi-finals. They will now challenge third seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Julio Peralta, who were 6-1, 7-6(4) victors over Robert Lindstedt and Franko Skugor in 80 minutes.