Delray Beach Open: Del Potro stumbles in semis

The 2009 US Open champion lost in straight sets to local Sam Querrey, and thus ended his first tournament since his injury layoff.

Juan Martin del Potro could not conjure a single break point in his 7-5, 7-5 loss.   -  Reuters

Sam Querrey reacts in delight after clinching match point against del Potro.   -  Reuters

Juan Martin Del Potro's comeback from an injury layoff of nearly a year ended in defeat Saturday as the 2009 US Open champion fell to Sam Querrey 7-5, 7-5 in the ATP Delray Beach Open semifinals. Querrey fired 10 aces and won 30 of 34 points on his first serve to advance after 80 minutes without ever facing a break point, booking a date in Sunday's final against fellow American Rajeev Ram.

Ram upset Bulgarian fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-3 in the other semifinal, also without facing a break point. Del Potro, ranked 1,042nd in the world, was in his first event since last March following left wrist surgery last June. The 27-year-old wildcard entrant missed most of the 2014 and 2015 seasons due to the wrist.

Querrey, ranked 61st, had lost both prior meetings with the South American star without taking a set but had not faced him in nearly five years. Querrey seeks his eighth career ATP crown but the first since Los Angeles in 2012 while Ram, ranked 89th but set to surpass his career-high 78th spot on Monday, seeks a third title after winning on Newport grass in 2009 and last year.

"My career has always been about improving and enjoying myself," Ram said. "Some of the things I've worked on in the last eight months have really translated."

Ram, ranked 89th, broke Dimitrov to open the match and held from there to capture the first set, taking the final game at love. Ram broke Dimitrov again in the final game, the match ending when the Bulgarian netted a forehand. "I felt calm at the start. I had a good game plan going out," Ram said. "He made some adjustments, but I thought I was pretty good the whole way. I wanted to make sure I was on offense a lot."

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