Del Potro-Berdych, 7-6 1-6 6-3 (suspended for darkness)
DelPo started out with a handful of chances to break. Berdy would respond with incredible serves and FHs. Right prior to the TB, DelPo was scene of frustration as he swung his arms around himself. Berdy took an early mini-break at 4-2, only for DelPo to break back. On a Berdy FH error that went wide, DelPo took his chance to serve for the set, clinching the TB 8-6.
The 2nd set started out in much similar fashion to the first set. DelPo earned many BP chances on Berdy’s serve, only to lose them. Then, he played a very loose game on his serve, including a DF. Berdy broke DelPo’s serve and then got a double break. During this wretched period, DelPo kept going for dropshots that were not well-executed. This was part of his aggressive game plan, to keep Berdy on his toes—for most of the match, it was a winning game plane, but he hiccuped in the 2nd set and Berdy was also hitting solid winners. Berdy broke to take the 2nd set 6-1, undoing the momentum of the 1st set TB.
Fortunately, DelPo’s game did not let up and he kept playing consistently yet dangerously. He hit overhead lobs that just barely glazed over Berdy’s head, followed by monster FHs and even more dropshots. So far, his FHs have been impressive, all angles and guile. DelPo finally broke and the reaction in his box was quite telling: it was at best, muted cheering. Following an incredible rally, DelPo broke to go up a double break. Alas, the relief was short-lived, as he was soon broken while serving for the set. On his 2nd try, however, he came out with thunderous hitting. He gave a roaring guttural grunt on a FH winner— that roar had a plot line of its own — the shot barely cleaned the line but it set him up with SP, which he took on a BHDTL.
At right around 9pm local time, the match was suspended for darkness. I’d say this favors Berdy more than it does DelPo. This is the second year in a row that DelPo’s been hard done by the schedule—last year, his R3 against Novak was called for darkness, after he had just won the 2nd set. This year, he’d gained momentum after winning the 3rd set, only to have to suspend play.
DelPo had wanted to play on — here he seems to be making a case for how much light he can see. His half-open eyes give it away though.
One incredible stat that makes the Monday finish a nervy one: ever since 2008, every match Berdy has lost at Roland Garros has been a 5-setter (starting with Llodra, Bolelli, Soderling, and Robert). This makes it even more important for DelPo to come out strong and clinch the 4th set, lest the momentum swing to Berdy.