MIAMI, Florida: Juan Martin del Potro sent his devoted fans home happy Tuesday by powering into the ATP Miami Open quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Serbian Filip Krajinovic.
Roared on by a partisan crowd, the 29-year-old Argentinian recovered from 1-4 down in the first set to reel off nine games in a row on his way to a last-eight match with Canada’s Milos Raonic on Wednesday.
Del Potro’s welcome return to form and fitness saw him win the Indian Wells title and continue to impress at the last tournament in Key Biscayne before a move north to the NFL Miami Dolphins’ home stadium next year.
“Playing here they make it special for the South American players and I am trying to enjoy the last time playing in Key Biscayne,” Del Potro said. “I know many Argentine fans live here and are so close. I will miss them.”
Windy conditions hampered players all day and the former US Open champion took time to find his groove in his first meeting with 27th-ranked Krajinovic.“The weather was so bad to play tennis. We couldn’t feel the ball 100 percent. We couldn’t hit from the baseline,” Del Potro admitted.”
Raonic, who easily saw off Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4, lost to del Potro in the Indian Wells semi-finals and will be eagerly seeking revenge.Del Potro is the top seed remaining after second seed Marin Cilic was beaten 7-6 (7/0), 6-3 by American John Isner.
The Croatian’s run was halted by big-serving Isner in just 87 minutes to set up a last-eight meeting with South Korean 19th seed Chung Hyeon.It was a fine performance by Isner, the 14th seed, who rattled down 12 aces and was boosted by winning 85 percent of points on his first serve.
In the late match, impressive Alexander Zverev, the fourth seed, powered past an out-of-sorts Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-4 to set up a meeting with Croatian Borna Coric in the last eight.
Australian firebrand Kyrgios has been struggling with an elbow injury and Zverev’s power and precision was simply too hot to handle as the German reached the quarter-finals for the second year in succession.
It was a disappointing end for Kyrgios, who brought the crowd to their feet with his energetic, wild strokeplay yet couldn’t maintain his level consistently enough to deal with Zverev’s all-round game.
Coric has never got this far in Miami but showed his qualities once again with a battling 7-6 (7/2), 4-6, 6-4 triumph.South Africa’s Kevin Anderson saw off American youngster Frances Tiafoe 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 and will play Spain’s Pablo Carreno-Busta who dispatched fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-3.