Del Potro d. Karol Beck, 6-4 7-5
Overall grade for this match: B-
DelPo started out strong, leading 4-0 in the 1st set. At 3*-0, his nose started to bleed so he took a MTO. This resulted in video captures of the trainer placing q-tips into DelPo’s left nostril, while DelPo winced mightily and blinked back tears (to be fair to him, I think the q-tip had been doused in some kind of tear-inducing medication).
In his post-match presser, DelPo mentioned the nose-bleeding happens to him sometimes. He has a big nose, so it’s to be expected.
What happened after the MTO is where I start to worry. DelPo held and went up 4-0, only to be broken. He broke back and served for the set at 5*-2, only to be broken again. Beck brought the 1st set to 5*-4. It was DelPo’s court-positioning that held him back. The one positive detail I can glean from this is that DelPo was going for his shots from the baseline. Although the lower % shots he played contributed to his being broken. Whether this factor of his game will hold up against a stronger retriever is another question.
Things DelPo needs to work on:
– Sloppy errors and loss of focus. His point construction breaks down at the crucial moments.
– He also needs to set up the points better so he’s not stretched out wide, as Beck was able to do in this match. After a long rally, when Beck won the point after severely testing DelPo’s movement, DelPo hunched over the stands and high-fived a spectator/while engaging in chatter with them. If I were Franco Davin, I’d tighten the grip over a baseball bat and hang it threateningly over DelPo’s head. He needs to cut that $&!# out!
– So much is mental. Once Beck broke, DelPo polished his game, ramped up his level, and served out the 1st set at love.
I think it’s safe to say DelPo has reached a point where he’s the safe bet against the players ranked lower than no. 20. Even if he makes a complicated jumble of the matches, he’s pulled through so far. Up next is Victor Troicki. DelPo has a 4-0 H2H against Troicki, but all of those matches were prior to 2010. Both DelPo and Troicki are now different players (for much better and much worse).
DelPo needs to step it up against Troicki. While I have my doubts, I should also remind myself that DelPo beat Tipsy very comfortably at the Davis Cup last year. This was after the puzzling summer HC run he had in ’11. If he could bring the same level of focus to his match against Troicki, a SF showing at Rotterdam would be impressive indeed.