Ferrer d. Del Potro, 6-3 6-3
(No photo. I refuse to accept the way he lost this match)
Ferru was on fire this match, playing great offense and defense. DelPo was not . I wasn’t able to watch this match — so far, that’s all I gathered from the match reports and tweets.
It wasn’t even a month ago that DelPo defeated world-no. 5-for-a-week Tsonga two times in a row. Again, this makes me wonder why DelPo scheduled so many tournys in February. If the point is to make a mark at the Masters/Slams, a more evenly spaced out schedule could have helped him. Which is not to make an excuse for DelPo’s loss, as Ferru is an oft-underestimated competitor and the rightful owner of his place in the ranking. He defeated a well-rested DelPo last year in 5 sets at the Davis Cup final, so this match-up was always going to be a tough one.
Flipping through the match on TennisTv (they have a new archive of recent matches), Ferru was playing on par with the level he showed at the London WTF last year. DelPo did not impose his game and instead stayed planted behind the baseline. I’m worried because he tends to do that when he’s playing against a top 5 player. He can play with higher margin against a top 20 player and the bottom half of the top 10. Against the top 5, however, that extra 0.5% of zing he’s lost on his FHs ever since his return and the play-it-safe-because-I-can tactic doesn’t hold up. Does he need more confidence or swagger? There’s no simple answer, because confidence is tricky. The most intangible of things can spike it to sky-is-the-limit heights or cause it to spiral downwards with disastrous intent, as evidenced by the OH smash DelPo missed. I’ve seen a clip of that overhead that went outrageously awry. I’ve stopped watching the match. There should be a support group for DelPo’s supporters — I am puzzled by the manner in which he lost this match.
DelPo now has a much-needed period of rest before the Davis Cup QF. The first three months of this year have been great, mixed with a few disappointing showings. Still, onwards and upwards. He didn’t play Rome last year, so maybe he has a chance to gain precious points and perhaps reach the goal of obtaining a top-8 seeding for RG.
DelPo’s players’ box is full. His friend Martin Palermo and even his agent Ugo (UGO!) made their cameos at DelPo’s match in Miami. Just one of countless silly theories, but maybe DelPo plays better with an emptier players’ box?
On the other hand, credit to Pico for having a very solid showing in Miami. He defeated Roddick (recent conqueror of Fed), 7-5 6-0. That’s a bagel!
There is this theory that all French players share one brain and only one of them gets to use it at any one point in time. Is the same theory proving true for Argentine players? Pico hit 11 FH winners in the 1st set! Although Pico probably won’t get his due credit, he has had a solid showing in Miami — he had a hard-won victory over Monfils and then played his persistent brand of tennis to defeat Roddick.
I feel this need to stand up for Pico’s honor. Often, people associate him only with his looks or his hair. Honestly, I’ve never really found his looks or his hair to be *all that appealing* (which is practically sacrilege to admit). However, there is a steady industriousness to his style of tennis that can be pleasing-to-the-eye. At his best, Pico can be fleet of foot, remarkably bendy with retrieving, and consistent with keeping his shots inside the lines. Maybe I’m stretching the praise too far, but he sometimes reminds me of fellow Argentine Guillermo Coria (who was also a delight to watch).
Can Pico keep up his level against Mardy Fish in the QF?
In other QFs, Rafa will play a tough match against Tsonga. This one seems like it could be a nail-biter and I will be closely watching to see that Rafa pulls through. Rafa has not yet won Miami, despite numerous finalist appearances. A deep run here could be a prime opportunity for him to break the curse of losing to Djokovic.
There is a recent video released with Fed. It’s f0r his sponsor Gillette and it is pretty fun stuff. Look at the shirt he is wearing for the interview (starts at 3:37).
I love the way he answers the question about WTA players (he shows his chivalrous side by saying, “Now, don’t you steal my wife”). Then he pretends to walk with slumped shoulders when his H2H against Rafa comes up. He’s given a flashy pair of underwear and asked about Rafa’s underwear picking habit. Fed makes a joke about gifting the underwear to Rafa, after first wearing it. It’s awkward. Dorky. Very Federer 🙂