Del Potro d. Davydenko 6-7 6-4 ret.
DelPo wore a black ribbon on his shirt, in honor of the victims of the recent train crash in Buenos Aires.
As expected, the DelPo-Davy match was very closely fought. DelPo was serving very well, and he walked away with 16 aces in 2sets. DelPo has been focused on perfecting his serve after the AO. However, his groundstrokes were off and he netted many BHs and FHs on the run. Davy was showing the splendid form that had awed fans who remembered his intimidating run in 2009. He was taking the ball on the rise and wrong-footing DelPo, especially with the DTL shots. I hope DelPo works more on his DTL shots this year, as he tends to hit more cross-court — when his groundstrokes are off, as they were yesterday, he tends to hit straight back to his opponent at the center of the court.
Aside from his serve, DelPo’s stats for this match are not too impressive. The one that stands out most is his 1 out of 9 BPs won. While credit goes to Davy for stepping up his play when facing BPs, DelPo fluffed his fair share of chances too. He went up a mini-break in the 1st set TB, only to lose the TB. Same story from last week.
In the 2nd set, DelPo stepped up his serve and hit more aces. This is impressive, especially against a superb returner like Davy. Also, DelPo was hitting deep to the baseline more often, which pressured Davy (Davy only had 2 BPs on DelPo’s serve). DelPo finally got the break in the 2nd set when Davy double-faulted.
After DelPo smoothly closed out the 2nd set, Davy called for the trainer. Within ten seconds, he announced he was retiring from the match due to injury. I think it was an issue with his ankle, although Davy had also been having problems with his knee/quads in Rotterdam last week. Hopefully, he’ll be able to return to the form he showed last week.
In any case, DelPo is through to the QFs, where he faces Reeshard Gasquet. This should be another tough match, given Reeshard’s form. It has to be said that neither DelPo nor Gasquet are 100% with their footwork. However, DelPo’s improved greatly on this front, so hopefully he’ll be exposing more of Reeshard’s footwork on the court in his next match.
Here is a CNN Open Court segment with Davydenko from 2010. It’s pretty entertaining, as he introduces his wife and parents (I had a giggle fit when Davy introduces his father, who looks exactly like him), and he is very charming with his wife, Irina (who is apparently pregnant now)!