On a scale of 1 to 10, DelPo’s had a 4-5 week so far. The good part is that he’s still in the draw, and he cruised to a very straightforward victory over Youzhny, 6-4 6-2.
The bad news is that he’s hurting in his left knee. The trainer had to visit him during his R1 match against Llodra, and DelPo was seen stretching and bending that area in between points. He ended up edging out a very close match with Llodra, that was entertaining in quality of points and the contrast in styles.
For his R2 win over Youzhny, DelPo showed up with heavy taping on his left knee. So far, he’s mentioned that he picked up the knee twinge in Madrid. He says the problem is not too serious (although he did have a similar knee twinge at the Davis Cup final last year).
This is likely the result of him playing 3 consecutive tournaments. Starting with his win in Estoril, DelPo went on to reach the SFs in Madrid, before landing in Rome to play the last warm-up Masters event before Roland Garros. Perhaps next year he’ll consider whether or not playing Estoril is the best decision. Last year, DelPo picked up a hip injury in Estoril that made him withdraw from Madrid. This year, DelPo picked up a slight knee twinge in Madrid and it’s bothering his play in Rome. While he is a player who needs a lot of match play in order to settle into a great rhythm, I think his form is also solid enough that he can skip Estoril and gun for the big points at Masters tournys.
For now, DelPo plays Tsonga for a spot in the QFs. This is a very important match, as a top 8 Roland Garros seeding is on the line. Wawrinka endeared himself to me by defeating Tipsy, which means a QF appearance from DelPo would be enough to make him a top 8 seed at a Slam. Given DelPo hasn’t truly been challenged in his first two matches, I’m guessing DelPo-Jo will be a tough match. Let’s hope he makes the most of it!!
Blurry DelPo blows a kiss to the camera, after his win over Youzhny.