Dubai: DelPo Holds Serve, Loses TBs — then the Match

Federer d. Del Potro,7-6(5) 7-6(6)

Photo: Reuters

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 factDelPo 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.”

Overall Verdict:

Photo: Reuters

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.


About mariposaxprs

I play favorites with Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and the long line of mercurial talent that drives me to despair in front of the screen at odd hours during the week.
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6 Responses to Dubai: DelPo Holds Serve, Loses TBs — then the Match

  1. Pingback: Basel: Lucky No. 7! DelPo Finally Conquers Swiss Wall | mariposaxprs

  2. Arienna Lee says:

    It would seem that we have the same taste in photographs 😉

    “Fed apparently told DelPo (at the net), “You have the big one, so don’t be sad.”” It’s probably things like this & lots we don’t that get Fed voted the best sportsman by his fellows every year

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Oof, I just checked your post! Lol, we indeed did have the same tastes in photographs! Then again, when they’re busy showing off their glossy curls and struggling with their t-shirts, what do they expect, but for us to notice?!? 🙂

      That’s exactly the same thought I had when I read that! On one hand, Fed’s comment felt somewhat reminiscent of the type of comment a “benevolent dictator” might make. On the other hand, I feel like the person on the receiving end of such a comment would also be able to put into perspective his loss that day. Although he’s prob not the best-behaved athlete in his media interviews, Fed really does have his own way of delivering on the court with other players. I hope that stays with him until the end!

  3. Candy says:

    “I was ruing the fact that I wouldn’t be able to stay around to watch a 3rd set between Fed-DelPo.” lol but at that time, I was gonna take my dessert out from the kitchen and got ready to enjoy the 3rd set……sigh…..
    but can I say Delpo played better against Fed yesterday than Murray did today?! I am a bit more optimistic about Delpo now. but still….why didnt he take that Juan set…..
    and of coz, I am worried about his shoulder and physique. really served too much and hit too much 😦

    • mariposaxprs says:

      It seems like we went through a similar experience! I really thought he had the 2nd set when he went up 6-2 in the TB. I couldn’t think of a scenario where Fed would escape with the entire match at that point. Perhaps us DelPo fans need to be extra-cautious about what happens in the next point, the point that matters! Hopefully, the dessert was somewhat consolation for the end-result? 🙂

      I’m actually overall not too disappointed, b/c DelPo never got broken on serve. Of course, this highlights just how much his TB-game needs to improve, but I think the fact that he was able to focus on holding serve is a positive sign. Also, like you said, he had a more impressive scoreline than Murray did against Fed!

      I think the draw for Indian Wells takes place in 2 days, then the competition starts soon. I hope the few days of rest he gets are enough to recuperate the energy he’s surely in short supply of by now!

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