Australian Open: The Elf & the Imp

Del Potro d. Mannarino, 2-6 6-1 7-5 6-4:

(Photo: Reuters)

He’s into R2!!

DelPo won a messy match.  He was slow to start, and seemingly unable to keep the ball inside the lines for the 1st set, losing 2-6.  DelPo quickly stepped up his level in the 2nd set, which was easier, thanks to Mannarino’s loss of focus and increased error count.  Mannarino plays an impish style of tennis, with plenty of flair and sneaky vollies.  It was Mannarino who lost to Ferru in Madrid after bagelling Ferru in the 1st set, only to then get bagelled himself.  He can be a tricky player and he gives the impression of putting very little effort and often, little thought into his shots.  His on-court manner also swings between downright eccentric and dazed:

Photo: Getty Images

If DelPo is an elf, then Mannarino is the imp:

Photo: Reuters

Although DelPo and Mannarino traded breaks on many occasions, DelPo pulled through with an aggressive game and saved many BPs en route to his win.  In an encouraging sign, he was on the baseline to receive Mannarino’s 2nd serve, instead of standing a meter behind.  A spectator collapsed from heat stroke in the middle of the match, but play quickly resumed afterwards.  Before serving for the match, DelPo called for the trainer and received a light massage near his groin area, during the changeover.  He DF-ed on his first MP, but closed it out.

He faces Blaz Kavcic in R2.  DelPo defeated Kavcic in R2 at last year’s Roland Garros, but the Slovak could be a surprise if he starts strong.  If DelPo could just grind out a win over Kavcic, his passage to R4 has been made slightly easier, due to Florian Mayer’s withdrawal from the Oz Open (strained hip injury).

Now DelPo, don’t go pulling the “Beating a guy in a Grand Slam, only to lose to him at the next Grand Slam” hijinks that you did with Gilles Simon last year!

After his R1 win, DelPo told the Argentinean press, “My head is much more calm now … Last year, I came to AO ranked near no. 500 and asking, ‘Please, don’t make me play Federer or Nadal in the first round,'” he said.    When asked about injury concerns, he said that his health was good.  He said, “There’s always something, but thank God my thoughts are much calmer now.”  Following this line of logic, beating Kavcic will calm his thoughts even further.  Let’s do this!

I’d like to see more imaginary trombone action (or whatever he’s doing in the photo):

Photo: Getty Images

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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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7 Responses to Australian Open: The Elf & the Imp

  1. Pingback: Australian Open: Possible Statement of Intent | mariposaxprs

  2. Yay for Del Po! Vamos! You can do it!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      He’s into R3 now! Yaaay. He faces Yen-hsun Lu, who has upset many players in the past, like Roddick at ’10 Wimbledon or Fer at ’11 Madrid. DelPo may face a battle, so the DelPo Army will send him all its good wishes!

  3. queridorafa says:

    Lol, totally channeling his inner band geek!
    Hmm..sounds like last year’s rankings drop was pretty traumatic for him–maybe he does favor the 2-year-rankings system? He might as well; Rafa has pretty much been telling everyone he does anyway 😉

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Yea, it seems like the first time JMDP’s expressed any feeling beyond “Try my best & let’s see what happens.”

      I like the gist of Rafa’s schedule-shortening idea, but I think the 2-yr ranking is bad. I don’t know what DelPo thinks of it, whether he’s in support or not, but I’m not sure a 2-yr ranking would’ve changed much for him. He’s on the brink of the top 10 now thanks to the 1-yr ranking system—perhaps DelPo was lucky, in the sense that he’s young so his recovery was faster, but still… I think Rafa’s schedule-shortening ideas might gain more support if he dropped the 2-yr ranking. To some extent, I look at Rafa’s arguments for a shorter season w/a bit of reluctance, due to the fact that they seem to come in a combo package w/the 2-yr ranking. I guess it’ll depend on what the players’ majority think, though!

  4. Arienna Lee says:

    So long as DelPo has his coffee and doesn’t start out “Blazé” (Sorry, it’s terrible, I know.) he should be fine in R2. There really is a huge difference between the way a sleeping giant hits forehands and the way a normal Elf thwoomps the ball, no? Cheers to more trombone faces!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Yea, I think Kavcic has had a few injury problems too. So, not to sound like a vulture, but to sound completely like a vulture, I think DelPo has a good chance. Unless DelPo beats himself, which is still a possibility. There’d be a “blaze of fire,” in that case! 😉 I’d like to see more trombone faces, indeed!

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