Vienna: Tsonga d. Del Potro 6-7 6-3 6-4

Tsonga defeats Del Potro in the final.  This is Tsonga’s first victory over JMDP in four meetings and Vienna is his 7th career title.

(Photo by Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty Images)

The stats from this match:  The matched turned in the 2nd set, when JMDP’s first serve fell from 70% to lower than 50%.  This is a disturbingly recurrent pattern for JMDP.  I don’t know if the problem is lack of concentration or fitness.

It’s no exaggeration to say his level of play dropped 30 ranking places from the 1st to 2nd set.  This happened against Anderson in the SF too.  He starts out strong only to look like a different player midway through the match.  It’s surprising that the longer a rally goes, the less reliable he becomes.  Just six months ago, he was the surer bet in long rallies.  Now he’s pinned to the baseline, playing defensive points on his own serve.

The mini-meltdown: After Tsonga broke Del Potro in the third set, Del Potro was upset with himself (it was a straightforward putaway that he sent wide).  He kicked his racquet bag and sent it flying onto the center of the tennis court.  To be fair, Tsonga hit 25 aces in this match and had picked up his level of play in the match.  Still, this type of behavior wasn’t as common in 2008-9.  For now, I’d add JMDP to the list of players who want the season to be over by now.

While JMDP’s (or anyone’s) losses to Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic can be rationalized away, the final against Tsonga was a match that he could and should have won.  Who knows, maybe this loss will prompt a straight talk with Franco Davin, so they can tweak his game and eliminate the 2nd set walkabouts?  And thereby put a stop to the outbursts?

…Because that sounds like a logical next step.  In a strange twist of fate, if JMDP reaches the second round at next week’s Valencia Open, he will likely face Kevin Anderson again.  If he beats Anderson, JMDP could have a rematch with Tsonga in the Valencia QF.  How nice is tennis?  He has the chance to avenge his loss in Vienna at Valencia.  First though, he needs to pull through the tricky task of beating Tursunov and Anderson.

And DelPo?  The next time you’re standing across the net from your opponent with a ball in your hand, after he’s hit a divine volley that somehow netted him the point, you whack his head with the tennis ball.  Like you mean it.  With murderous intent.  Either that or retreat to the baseline, after shooting an icy glare in his direction.  Anything but cuddly fraternization with said opponent, which I’d totally be watching on replay if you hadn’t lost the match.  A final is no setting for a teddy bear convention!  Or a madhouse outburst!

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About mariposaxprs

I play favorites with Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and the long line of mercurial talent that drives me to despair in front of the screen at odd hours during the week.
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5 Responses to Vienna: Tsonga d. Del Potro 6-7 6-3 6-4

  1. queridorafa says:

    “It’s surprising that the longer a rally goes, the less reliable he becomes. Just six months ago, he was the surer bet in long rallies. Now he’s pinned to the baseline, playing defensive points on his own serve.”

    Ummm…that’s sounding strangely familiar…except, in Rafa’s case, he’s actually pinned three meters behind the baseline…so in a way, DelPo’s doing well! 😉

    I found the bag-kicking kind of hilarious. He reminded me of a teenager who just got grounded or his car taken away or something. He is younger than he looks, I suppose…

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Someone needs to stand behind those guys with a baseball bat so that they move forward, right? Although the baseline was my regular camping spot too, so I shouldn’t be talking! o_0

      The bag-kicking was surprising because up until that point, there was nothing to really indicate that he expected himself to win the match. It’s a bit concerning because this type of behavior seems more common. Not that he was a model saint before, but still, there have been more incidents this year. Seems like he wants that off-season to come ASAP. A break might serve him well.

      • ariennalee says:

        I’ve always wondered how much of a toll it took on delpo to acheive his “dream” when he was barely out of his teens. He seems to need a little time to develop some new dreams! He doesn’t seem to have clear goals or focus this year. Not that it’s been terrible, but it pales in comparison to his relentless drive to the USO title.

        • mariposaxprs says:

          That’s true, it’s hard to tell what specific goals he has this year. Benchmarks, we need benchmarks! Then again, in interviews he mentions the progress he’s made so far—being able to take a set off Novak for the first time at RG, going toe-to-toe with Rafa at Wimby, then beating Novak at DC— he says that’s an indication of how he’s slowly closing the gap between himself and the top 5 players. When he puts it like that, it makes sense.

          Still, there’s still plenty more work involved in beating the players ranked in the top 15. Maybe this season’s just mentally draining b/c he’s always asked the same questions—when are you going back to your 2009 form, do you think you will ever get there again—that can be quite depressing, since the main concern is that he’ll never return to that form. Thank goodness he’s under 25 y.o., otherwise his comeback might’ve involved a part-time stint on the Challenger tour. For now, I guess he’s right where he needs to be, even if the progress is slower than most expected?

          • ariennalee says:

            I didn’t see the DC match, but I thought he played really well at Wimby. I remember thinking to myself that he would be a real threat at the USO, given that he’d gained so much ground on the grass in such a short time. But by the time the US Open arrived, it didn’t look like things were going his way. You might be right, maybe he needed an entire year to physically and mentally transistion back.
            I find myself hoping he finds his fire and his “good sensations” sooner rather than later though, because with his tall frame he might not have the luxury of playing his best tennis at 28 or 29 years old. But why worry about what we cannot control, eh?

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