Del Potro d. Karlovic, 7-5 6-4
Given the scary potential of Ivo’s serve and his net game, the R2 match was by no means an easy challenge. However, DelPo passed the test in relatively straightforward fashion. Though his first serve hovered at 61%, he was able to use it on the big points. Also, he never faced BPs in the match. In the first set, he had a total of 3 unforced errors, two of which came from DFs when he was serving for the set. Altogether, in spite of his nerves when serving for the 1st set, it’s not a bad performance — maybe not superb, but more than good enough to take the R2 win.
DelPo was able to hit some lovely cross-court BHs, while edging through in the rallies. I think Ivo has had a lukewarm start to the season — he didn’t come to the net as often in this match, and he was caught off-guard by DelPo’s shots. Toward the end of the match, Ivo seemed resigned to his loss. He resorted to tactics like waving his arms wildly as DelPo prepared to hit an overhead smash — he used this tactic twice. The second time it worked, as DelPo missed his OH smash. There were calls for Ivo to take a hindrance penalty, but umpire Fergus Murphy stayed silent. If the match had been closer than the scoreline indicates, then Ivo’s gamesmanship would have been called further into question. As it was, DelPo won his match, which makes the question somewhat irrelevant, although it does call for a closer examination of the hindrance rules (Waving wildly? Yes. Tapping the racquet on the court before opponent hits a shot? Yes. Shrieking? Where do we fall on that?)
Retired futbolista Martin Palermo (whose farewell match DelPo played in February), along with Gaston Gaudio and DC sub-captain Zabaleta, were in attendance at the match.
In his presser, DelPo re-affirmed his goals to knock on the doors of the top 5. When asked about his recent fall out of the top 10 (to the no. 11 ranking), DelPo did not take the bait and instead reminded the interviewer that he was in the top 8 of the YTD race (he’s actually currently sitting at no. 5 in the YTD ranking).
Meanwhile, Ivo tweeted his post-match thoughts, commenting on the rowdy Argie crowd that had gathered to cheer for DelPo. It’s very heartwarming to see them gather in Miami for matches like this!
Thought I played in Argentina for a second there and not my MIA-Yo. Great atmosphere tho.. Fun.. For Delpo..—
ivo karlovic (@ivokarlovic) March 25, 2012
DelPo is now set for his second match in a row against a Croat, Marin Cilic (who beat Jesse Levine in R1 and Igor Kunitsyn in R2). This is another tough match-up, as DelPo narrowly leads the H2H 3-2. Cilic defeated DelPo at their last encounter in 2011 Montreal. They have similar playing styles, so the R3 looks like it will be a nervously close one.