Federer d. Del Potro,7-6(5) 7-6(6)
Fed’s hair won today.
As for DelPo’s performance? On the bright side …
- DelPo saved all 6 BPs he faced with good serving and aggressive play. This shows the mental progress he’s made in terms of saving critical points from a losing position. While DelPo doesn’t exactly take advantage of crucial points from a winning position, he’s shown he can remain steady — he held after going 0-40 down on his serve.
- Some of the FHs he hit during the match (not always on his own service game) were top-shelf material. The TV camera angle caught the rallies from Fed’s side of the court, which highlighted the speed and placement of DelPo’s strokes. Though it’s an oft-repeated theme, some of the FHs he hit in this match were a class above the stuff he’d shown for the better part of last year.
- He did not collapse like a souffle during the TB. Instead, he came back from 2-5 down in the 1st set TB, before losing the TB. Then, he went up 5-0 and then 6-2 in the 2nd set TB, before losing again. So basically, he let the souffle bake in the oven for awhile longer before collapsing. That counts as one baby step forward, right?
On the other hand…
- DelPo never went to deuce on Fed’s serve. This is a disappointing stat, given the fact that Fed wasn’t exactly serving at his best level. Fed had 4 DFs in this match, although he did maintain a presentable first serve %.
- DelPo’s performance in the 2nd set TB will likely be a candidate for greatest choke of all time. This probably tops Feli’s own choke against Fed during the Madrid QF last year. DelPo went up 5-0 in the TB, and then he was at 6-2. He let 4 SPs pass him by. Feli must be proud. The “King of Wasting BP-erer” Fed was probably secretly proud too. When DelPo went up 6-2 in the TB, I was ruing the fact that I wouldn’t be able to stay around to watch a 3rd set between Fed-DelPo. A few minutes later, he’d lost the match. To be honest, it doesn’t feel as horrific in hindsight, although the combination of 4 missed SPs is probably worse than Feli’s missed OH smash in Madrid.
- Fun fact: DelPo was asked whether he thinks about the ’09 USO final, each time he has to play Fed. DelPo said he does think about that breakthrough win — after losing to Fed in Rotterdam this year, Fed apparently told DelPo (at the net), “You have the big one, so don’t be sad.”
DelPo kept his head above water. That’s what counts!
So the Dubai final is set: Muzz defeated Djokovic in straight sets, to cut off any designs of a 2011-like winning streak rerun. Is anyone else as glad as I am to be spared of that talk? Muzz faces Fed in the final — Muzz has a winning H2H against Fed, but I hope Fed is able to take the title in Dubai. He already has 4 titles in Dubai — taking the 5th would be a nice way to cement his legacy there. Also, it’s best when one’s favorite player goes out to the winner of the tournament.