DelPo has a R2 match in Marseilles with Davydenko. Davy’s been in great form this past week, where he pushed Fed to three sets at Rotterdam. He’s a skilled player on indoor HCs and he will push DelPo to the limit (last time they played was the WTF final in ’09, where Davy defeated DelPo).
For a 250-level tourny, Marseilles has a stacked draw, featuring four top 10 players in Berdy, Fish, Tipsy, and DelPo. In order for DelPo to win Marseilles, he would likely have to go through Davydenko-Gasquet-Tsonga-Fish. Fun fact: DelPo and Tsonga are each poised to take their 200th career victory in Marseilles this week — Tsonga is already at 199, with his win over Mahut yesterday. Tsonga is 3 years older than DelPo, yet has played a fewer total number of matches in his career. It really highlights the different career arcs that tennis players have.
People have questioned why Fish is playing Marseilles, instead of his home tourny in Memphis. They would probably ask the same of DelPo, who is not playing the Copa Claro in Buenos Aires this week.
DelPo only played Copa Claro, a clay-court event, once in his career in 2006. Given the South American clay swing takes place at the same time as the HC events, just prior to IW and Miami, the surface makes it inconvenient for DelPo to play in Buenos Aires. TD director Martin Jaite (who is also ARG’s DC captain) even campaigned for Buenos Aires to change its surface to hard-courts, in order to lure DelPo. That seems an unlikely proposition though, as players travel to South America precisely to play on the red clay. It’s a bit unfortunate, but it’s really the only decision, given DelPo’s focus on maximizing his HC game. Perhaps in his older age he may play?
In Buenos Aires, Ferru just defeated young Argie Facundo Bagnis (the zurdo who traveled as a sparring partner for ARG’s DC team at Sevilla last year). The umpire kept referring to Bagnis as Baggins, so he is now hereby christened as Frodo Baggins. Frodo put up a great fight against Ferru. He’s a bit of a late-bloomer (21 yrs, ranked no. 162), but it could be interesting to see where the hobbit goes from here.
Frodo was in tears after his loss to Ferru. It’s a very special atmosphere at Copa Claro, with a strong Argie crowd. Here’s hoping that Frodo makes it farther next year.
Meanwhile, home favorites Nalby and Pico will face off in R2 at Copa Claro. This is sad news, that one of the two will be sent out of the tourny at such an early stage.
Ferru was recently interviewed by Argie media and he told them that after Guillermo Vilas, Del Potro was the best tennis player from Argentina. He also said DelPo would definitely return to the top 5. I’ve learned how to interpret these quotes from tennis players. In 9 out of 10 cases, a tennis player is simply affirming a leading question posed by the journalist. If an Argie journo asked you, “Do you think DelPo can return to the top 5?,” it would take someone special to say “No.” That said, I think it can definitely happen. It can happen! But it’s also the strangest question to ask of no. 5-ranked Ferru, because DelPo reaching the top 5 would necessarily mean someone (read: Ferru) dropping out of the top 5. You wouldn’t ask no. 10-ranked DelPo for his thoughts on whether no. 11-ranked Nico could return to the top 10, right? I like Nico, but that cannot happen.
I digress … so there’s a tough match coming up for DelPo against Davy in Marseilles. Pico-Nalby in R2 at Copa Claro!
Update: There was a big train accident in Buenos Aires yesterday, with as many as 50 deaths and 550 injuries. DelPo, Nalby, Ferru, Facundo Bagnis, Gisela Dulko and many others expressed their condolences via Twitter for the affected families. It’s a tough week for people in Buenos Aires.