Australian Open: DelPo Makes a QF Exit

Federer defeats Del Potro, 6-4 6-3 6-2

(Photo: Vivek Prakash/Getty Images)

… Well, the Oz Open is an exhibition Slam anyway, right?

(Photo: Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

Zombie DelPo seems to agree.  This photo was probably taken at the point of realization that hitting constantly to Fed’s BH is not a one-size-fits-all tactic.

(Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/Getty Images)

… Someone looks a little too happy just to be there.  Smiling at the net after a straight-sets loss is probably not a good look, DelPo!


DelPo’s first serve % was actually pretty high.  He served at 67% this match, which is higher than he’s served in a long time.  However, Fed had a good read on his serve this match and DelPo’s weaker return games hurt him.

DelPo gave away the 1st set by double-faulting on break point.  I’m afraid double-faulting on BPs has become a thing for DelPo.  Though he managed 5 aces and 3 DFs for the entire match, the first DF came at a crucial point.  He clearly tightens up when facing BPs.

From what I saw, DelPo’s still going for his FHs so I don’t think his lower ace count is due to a wrist problem.  He has mentioned the work he needs to do on his serve, so I suppose that’s what he intends to work on in the months to come.

(Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

In Fed’s presser, Fed said his match against Tomic was a better test of his form than the one against Del Potro.  Thank you, Fed.  Your words are as flattering as the photo above.  DelPo got Ferru’d — apparently, no one wanted to interview him, as there is no available transcript on the Oz Open site.

DelPo closes his AO without having really maximized his potential here.  Part of me thinks he was content to have reached the QF.  And he should be.  Still, that won’t be the case later, when he has huge points to defend at Indian Wells (he reached the SFs last year).

Despite the straight-sets scoreline, DelPo actually played a decent match.  He broke back after being broken early in the 1st set, only to lose the 1st set on a DF.  In the 2nd set, he hit an ill-conceived dropshot that led to him being broken early.  Those are two clear instances of bad decision-making.  Otherwise, his groundstrokes were pretty solid and he did well enough against a Fed who clearly showed up for the match.  It may be small consolation, but Fed seems to really show up for his matches against DelPo, as he does against Soderling.  Jimmy Connors approved of DelPo’s performance.

(Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Next time, big man.

(Photo: Greg Wood/Getty Images)

Next time.


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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14 Responses to Australian Open: DelPo Makes a QF Exit

  1. Pingback: Basel: Lucky No. 7! DelPo Finally Conquers Swiss Wall | mariposaxprs

  2. Serdar says:

    First of all, following this blog for a few weeks now and i’m really happy to see some great sympathy and dedication going on for Delpo! Some sharp analyses and funny side notes in here! Great job mariposa! I’m a FAN of Delpo and a big believer of his game!

    I also think that he actually played a decent match against Fed(good length in his groundstrokes, his willing to field his FH, etc.) but I was really hoping for Delpo to get a night match. I’m sure it would have been a clash on a more ‘at eye level’, as the midday conditions definitely spoke against him at this point. The shadow, the heat and Delpos somewhat classic hebetude from time to time(his double faults at break/set points are nearly coming like the touch of a button).
    Yeah, he seemed to be content with his achievement, but for me he also looked highly motivated(trying to show a great match), considering his sound off about his game in several moments, which was not really typical for him. But in the end it was Feds perfect game variaton and consistency, mixed with Delpos idol worship for Roger, which anyhow negatively affects and affected his mental strength(still not at 100%, but he will get better by far).

    What i am always wondering about is his significant fall of serve speed, which is besides placement crucial against the top guys. Hope he gets back to his 211 kmh and more first serves soon as he was used to! I strongly believe he will, as he repeated to work on his serve! 🙂

    Another thing is his weight. He looked a bit overweight(if we anyway can talk about this in consideration of a 6’6″ guy) at the start of the US season last year and i still have the feeling that he could shed a kilo here and there!?

    I think the future looks very bright for Delpo, despite everything!

    Plus, he has the absolute best groaning on tour!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Thanks for reading the blog, Serdar, and your comments on DelPo! I had to look up the word “hebetude,” but I agree the day match favored Fed more than it did DelPo. DelPo still has conditioning work he needs to do before he is really capable of challenging the top 4 players, on a fitness level.

      You bring up a very good point about DelPo’s weight. It’s something that I’ve wondered about ever since last year. He had practically no body fat in 2009! Compared to 2008-9, he’s definitely put on 5-8 kilos. I think that might have been his way of bulking up, to add more power to his groundstrokes. But the increased weight actually seems to hinder his footwork more than it helps his groundstrokes. Since DelPo’s height hinders his mobility to begin with, I think shedding the added weight would be far more beneficial to him, since he’d have less weight to lug around the tennis court.

      With DelPo’s serve, I hope it’s something that sees dramatic improvement this year. I remember in late 2008 and 2009, he was serving more aces and his first serve % was markedly higher than it is now. I think that’s one of the first areas where he showed improvement, once he started working with his coach Franco Davin. Given the long injury layoff he had in 2010, I think the serve is still a work-in-progress. That’s prob the area of his game where there’s the most potential upside. I’m hoping DelPo does well in the 500-level tournys and Masters, and that he scores more wins over players in the bottom half of the top 10. I think he needs to start there first, but it’s totally doable.

      I agree, his “territorial, lion-like” grunt is all part of the joy of watching DelPo’s game!

      • Serdar says:

        Hahah, his “territorial, lion-like” grunt! Yeah, it just adds great drama!
        Thank you for the detailed and profound remarks!
        I had to look the word ‘hebetude’ too, as i’m a Turk living in Germany and english is my second foreign language.
        I totally agree on your point concerning his performance at masters and 500-level tournaments. He has to get used to play semis, finals and at least quarters. This will add demand and confidence in his game. Please no unnecessary second round defeats Delpo! 🙂

        And now i’m really convinced that he has to shed some weight.

        I’ve seen an interview with Delpo done by ex-player Barbara Schett on Eurosport, a day before the match against Fed. She was implicating with her way of bringing up the questions, gestures and conuntenance that Delpo has nearly no chance against Fed, which was(incidentally) at least for me, not so nice to watch. And Delpo underlined the importance of his serve and forehand. Of course, his serve and fh are his biggest weapons, but i think he’s sometimes limiting himself a bit too much on this particular points.
        He has a super solid and vigorous backhand, great court covering if he’s in a good shape and i definitely see some potential in his serve and volley game, as i’m really convinced by his backhand volley.
        More conditioning work, improvement of his serve and confidence in his own game. He has to feel confident(on court and towards press) that he’s a complete player and not just a guy with a big serve and a powerful forehand. But Franco Davin is a great coach and Delpo a super talented guy and everything will be better, pretty soon! I’m 100% sure!

        Really looking forward to the next months!

        • mariposaxprs says:

          Your English is perfect! It’s nice to see DelPo has fans in Germany as well!

          I agree with what you said, I think DelPo’s cross-court BH is actually a very under-rated shot. These days, I haven’t seen him use it as effectively, but that’s one part of his game that was on fire during ’08-’09. The serve and volley potential is there too. I agree if he worked more on his fitness, so that he was moving easily, most of the other things would follow. I’m very curious how DelPo will do at Wimbledon this year, since he played a lot of great points at the net last year. I hope to see him make a similar effort at serve-and-volleying this year too!

          The next hard-court tournys should be a great test of his form. He’ll have many warm-up tournys before Indian Wells & Miami, so the next months will be pretty interesting to follow on the DelPo front 🙂 I hope some of his confidence and conditioning issues will have improved by that point!

  3. Arienna Lee says:

    I can’t believe no one wanted to interview DelPo (in English, I assume)! Well, perhaps he was as happy about that as David seemed to be after his victory over Rishard.

    I agree with you that the FH looked pretty good, but the serve & the will weren’t quite there yet.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      I can’t believe it either! A losing quarterfinalist and a top 10 player, and nobody wants to interview him? I thought most journos travel all the way to Oz from the U.S. or Europe for these interviews — they should have a niche journalist who only interviews Ferru and DelPo 😉

      It’s starting to worry me a bit, the fact that his issues seem mental or that they concern his lack of confidence/will. I guess it’s only natural against a top player like Fed. Hopefully this new year will resolve some of those issues!

  4. Pingback: Australian Open: QF Exits & Final Four Match-ups | mariposaxprs

  5. Arienna Lee says:

    I only had time to scan your post, will be back later for an in-depth read, but I can’t resist the urge to make two comments right away:
    I agree with you: “Someone looks a little too happy just to be there”
    I never thought I’d see the day where a photo of Fed makes him look like he has no nose!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      That photo of him at the net sort of grates. He looks a little bit too happy to just be standing there. I mean, he should be happy, since it’s his first QF since 2009. But I guess he’s taking it one step at a time, which seems sensible too.

      The match took place just before sunset, I think, so the stadium had all sorts of funny shadow effects. It really does make Fed look like someone took away his nose with a melon-scoop!

  6. jelena says:

    Federer reverted to his true & tested tactics against Del Potro at AO: slicing, dicing, dropshotting, angling, moving the opponent by inconvenient ball placement… Almost each one of those low and short chips ended in Del Potro either netting the ball or lifting it up feebly for a comfortable putaway from Federer.

    That is exactly the same successful tactics that Murray has been applying against Del Potro.

    Federer avoided the ill-advised forehand-to-forehand battle that was his downfall in the last two sets of the USO 2009 final. This time he refused to give Del Potro any regular pace, any possibility to set up for his shots. So he won comfortably.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      True, I think the drop-shots and slicing are the key tactics for any opponent who wants to beat DelPo. Especially in a best-of-5-set match setting — that’s the way to take out his legs and ensure that DelPo’s too tired by the end of it. I guess that’s what Fed did here 😦

      DelPo has a poor H2H record against Murray, and I guess that speaks to Murray’s ability to tailor his tactics so that he targets DelPo’s weaknesses.

      I think DelPo had his chances to change the match — if he hadn’t DF-ed on SP in the 1st set, if he had taken advantage of the triple BPs he had in the 2nd set, the match could easily have had a different storyline. A lot of it had to do with his belief/confidence. Personally, I think DelPo needs more match practice against players ranked in the 7-20 range. That way, he could raise his game in order to mount a suitable challenge against the top 4 guys. Either way, I think it’s a good start to his year though! It should be interesting to see what happens after Oz…

  7. I think he was, in a way, just happy to make the quarter finals. It is good to see him back though, and I hope he starts to believe in himself more.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      I’d wished DelPo could at least take a set off Fed, but it was not to be. In the long run, his reaching the QF and his top 10 ranking are big gets for him though. The fact that he reached the 2nd week is also a great sign too. It seems likely that should boost his confidence, right?

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