DelPo defeats Haase, 6-4 3-6 7-6(3) 7-5.
Wimbledon means you can sit back and admire how good your favorite tennis players look in white. Even if grass is not their favorite surface, they look so good in white.
This was a nice match for DelPo to work out his grass game. He started the match serving 4 aces in a row and he was varying the placement on his serve, to great effect. In the middle of the 1st set, the average length of rallies on serve was 3.6 for Haase and 1.7 for DelPo, which shows how strong he was on his own service game.
Haase yelled after he hit winners. He yelled after DelPo hit winners. Then a drunk crowd member chimed in with “C’mon Juan! C’mon!” every time DelPo won a point. The thought of DelPo having hooligan fans at a posh place like Wimbledon warms my heart.
After taking the 1st set, DelPo’s serve started to falter. He was missing first serves and Haase was returning very well, which kept DelPo on the backfoot against the strong return-of-serve. DelPo also wavered in finding the balance between aggressive and high-margin play. He mistimed his FHs or went for too much. While this is worrisome, it also shows the aggressive mindset he’s bringing to grass. He won quite a few points at the net and he edged out Haase in the 3rd set TB. While he got nervous and was broken serving for the match at 5*-4 in the 4th, he broke again and served out the match cleanly on the second try. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it’s a hopeful one. He faces Go Soeda in R2. *If* DelPo beats Soeda, he could potentially face Kei Nishikori in R3. The Japanese Armada occupy this quarter of the draw. C’mon, Juan, C’mon!
- In other draw news, Muzz was in steamroller mode and he pretty much annihilated Davydenko in straights. I hate how Muzz does this when he’s placed in the same quarter of the draw as DelPo. Muzz decides to show up now? Hrmph.
- R1 Combativity Award: This year’s R1 Combativity Award for Aggression goes to Ernests Gulbis, for scoring the upset of R1 when he beat 6th seed (and 2010 Finalist) Berdy, in three tiebreaks. In the 3rd set when facing MP on Berdy’s serve, Gulbis hit a shot that he thought had won him the match, but Berdy challenged the call. When Hawk-Eye confirmed the ball was out, Gulbis was frustrated. Instead of acting out though, his face broke out into a grin, as he locked eyes with his father in the stands:
This is random, but Gulbis’ reaction totally reminded me of Berdy’s finalist run at the 2010 Miami Masters, where he defeated Fed — Berdy had the same moment with Hawk Eye in the 3rd set TB (this is one of my favorite “player vs. Hawk-Eye” moments):
They have the same exasperated-but-what-can-you-do smile. Yet they each won their match after losing the point. The lesson here is that laughing at Hawk-Eye can help you get over it (paging DelPo…) Ernests being Ernests, he gave a colorful interview afterwards. May he at least get through to R3 (he plays Janowicz in R2).
- Best Youngster in R1: This one’s tough, but Best Youngster of R1 goes to 21 y.o. David Goffin (pronounced Guffawwn). Goffin rose to attention at RG by reaching R4 after winning a lucky loser spot in the draw—he then took a set off Fed. Goffin made good on his Wimby WC by beating another youngster, Bernie Tomic, in four sets. I like Bernie’s game, so this result is disappointing. But Goffin earned this win over Bernie — he served well and maintained his composure — he played with guts, which Bernie sadly did not. This result means Bernie loses his Wimby QF points from last year and his ranking will fall to somewhere in the top 50. Bernie’s presser was very interesting reading — even though he is a touch arrogant and bristly, he also seems to be “growing up” and realizing that the men’s tour requires a different effort from the junior’s tour. I hope he navigates this road well. On another note, Goffin does not have a clothing sponsor, so he wore Fed’s 2010 Wimby outfit to defeat Bernie:
Goffin plays twinsies with his idol Roger
- Nalby lost in straights to Tipsy. His last two performances at the Slam level have been somewhat muted. That said, he will be playing for ARG at the Olympics and he’s entered in the doubles draw as well! (with his favorite punching bag, Edu Schwank :))