Del Potro d. Troicki 6-0, 6-1
Well, that went easier than expected. The commentator mentioned Troicki was still tired from his previous match (he defeated Huta-Galung the day before) and that perhaps there was a scheduling issue that gave a disadvantage to Troicki.
I missed the part of the match where this happened. DelPo is definitely more flexible than Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Observe.
DelPo got off to a flying start while Troicki made too many unforced errors. It was one of those matches where one player was clearly not at his best, which redirected all momentum to the other player. In this case, DelPo benefited from Troicki’s poor play and that gave him the confidence/edge to step up his own game. Debbie Downers will point out Troicki’s discomfort — but DelPo’s BH and FHs were also working like a charm today. Even his BH slices were an asset today. It was a thoroughly enjoyable, if one-sided match to watch. At the handshake at the net, DelPo asked Troicki if he was feeling alright.
There was one slight hiccup — DelPo had to take another MTO, his second in as many days, due to a nose bleed. He spent the last couple of games playing with a tissue up his nose. DelPo has mentioned this is a recurring problem, and in the past, he attributed his nose bleeds to the fact that he has a big nose. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious.
This sets up the exciting SF I wanted to see at Rotterdam: DelPo vs. Berdych. This SF will be a relatively even contest between two top 10 players with strong offensive games. Although I think this contest slightly favors Berdy, 60-40. I say that not out of an anti-jinxing impulse, but simply on account of Berdy’s recent form. DelPo hasn’t lost to Berdy since 2008, but he also hasn’t played Berdy since 2009. Berdy is precisely the calibre of player DelPo needs to defeat, before he challenges the top 5.
Overall grade for this match: A
**Update: I’d mistakenly written that DelPo had served his 1st bagel of 2012. This is actually the second bagel he has served this year. The first one was at the 3rd round of the AO, when he defeated Yen-hsun Lu.