Tim Smyczek was entered in the qualifying tournament for the Delray Beach Open when he learned American teenager Taylor Fritz had earned a special exemption into the main draw by reaching the semi-finals last week in Memphis.
Smyczek was given the wild card instead and he promptly beat Fritz in the first round.
He followed that up with a win over seventh-seeded Donald Young, last year’s runner-up, 1-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 to reach only the second tour-level quarter-final of his career.
The 28-year-old Tampa resident has never reached a semi-final.
Young led Smyczek 6-1 3-1 before giving back the break with two costly double faults in the sixth game.
Down 4-1 in the third set, Young called the trainer for treatment of a left wrist injury, then broke in the seventh game. Smyczek ended the match when Young hit a backhand crosscourt passing shot wide.
“I was feeling good mentally even though I was getting my butt kicked,” said Smyczek, who had played Young 11 previous times in futures and challenger events but only once before at the tour level.
“I was just trying to figure out a way to disrupt his rhythm. I knew I needed to change my game plan and stop being so offensive.”
Fifth-seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy fought through swirling wind to beat 19-year-old American wild-card Noah Rubin 6-4 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals.
Chardy joined fourth-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria as one of only two seeded players left in the draw.
Chardy was down 2-0 to Rubin before winning 12 of the next 16 games. He will play either qualifier John-Patrick Smith of Australia or Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, who is playing his first ATP tournament in 11 months due to wrist surgery.
Smyczek will face one of two Americans, Austin Krajicek or Sam Querrey.
“I think it was really difficult to play today because of the wind,” said the 29-year-old Chardy, currently ranked No. 30. “It was turning and changing so much. Today, the level was not important. I just wanted to get the win.”