The Rotterdam draw has been released. Main draw play starts on Monday and DelPo is the no. 2 seed at the tournament. This year, Rotterdam has four top 10 players in the draw (top seed and defending champion Fed, DelPo, Tsonga and Gasquet).
The indoor HC tournament is one of the early season highlights and the Rotterdam draw once again boasts quality and depth. In addition to the top 10 players, youngsters Bernie Tomic, Jerzy Janowicz, Grigor Dimitrov, Benoit Paire and David Goffin are also playing. Indoor stalwarts Michael Llodra and Nikolay Davydenko are also in the draw.
DelPo will start Rotterdam with a R1 match against WC Gael Monfils. Surprisingly, this is the first time DelPo and Monfils play each other on tour. Monfils is the living definition of WC. The Frenchman embodies everything that is terrifying and chaotic about an unseeded lurker in the draw. DelPo will have to start out strong this year.
DelPo’s potential route to the final: Monfils – Haase – Nieminen/Seppi – Gasquet/Tomic – Federer.
DelPo and Fed play twinsies in their matching Nike sweaters.
DelPo made an impressive run up until the Rotterdam final last year, where he lost to Fed in straight sets. However, DelPo needed 2 matches before settling into his game. His R1 match against Llodra last year was very close. DelPo won that match on a return-of-serve winner on MP in the 3rd set, after having lost the 2nd set in a TB. After his win over Llodra last year, DelPo proclaimed he was experimenting with serve-and-volley on indoor HCs and grass. I look forward to checking his progress in that area of his game.
Last year, DelPo then defeated Karol Beck in R2, in a similarly shaky performance — he required an MTO for a nosebleed during the match. However, DelPo found his game in his QF against Troicki (6-0 6-1) and went on to win comfortably over Berdy in the SF (6-3 6-1). I think DelPo’s SF win over Berdy last year was very representative of his 2012 season. He had the firepower to defeat a player of Berdy’s caliber (and DelPo would go on to beat Tsonga at Marseilles the next week), but he hadn’t yet found the right mix of patience and aggression to hang with Fed in the final.
Here’s hoping DelPo can navigate a tricky draw this year. He will be anxious to play well after his early loss at the AO to Chardy.
Other entertaining match-ups include R1 Tomic-Dimitrov. It will be interesting to see how Nike’s young generation of talent stack up against each other. Fed’s possible route to the final: Zemlja – Youznhy – Janowicz – Tsonga – DelPo.
DelPo will also be playing Rotterdam doubles with dubs specialist Michael Llodra. They are scheduled to play Treat Huey-Dominic Inglot in R1. Last year, DelPo played doubles with Philipp Petzschner in Rotterdam (they lost in the QF). DelPo is skilled at finding doubles partners (or they are skilled at finding him), as he’s paired with quite a few illustrious names in the past — Stepanek, Petzschner and now, Llodra. It seems DelPo is serious about improving his volleys. Maybe he can impart some of his good manners to Llodra in exchange!