Who Says R2 at a Slam is Boring?

It’s never boring—

R2 Combativity Award: Lukas Rosol

Photo: Getty Images

Last year at Wimby, Rosol lost to David Goffin in the qualifying rounds.  This year, he pulls off the upset of the tournament by defeating Rafa, the no. 2 seed and reigning Roland Garros champion, in R2.

It took 5 sets (after a 30-minute delay for the roof to be closed, after darkness set).  Look at how fearless Rosol is while serving for one of the greatest upsets at Wimbledon:

The video is almost chilling, with Rosol (who looks like a possessed man) and the crowd cheering raucously for him.  I’m surprised by the level of support Rosol received.  Rafa was cranky during the match.  He complained to the umpire about Rosol’s breathing at one point.  In the 3rd set, Rosol stepped back to allow Rafa to walk by during the changeover, when Rafa brushed him with his elbow as he crossed.  I’ll link a video once I find the moment, but the overall image was of a top player who was not playing at his best and not as mentally focused and calm as he normally is.  I don’t know if it’s because Rafa’s made changes to his game this year, but he’s been quite sensitive to playing conditions lately (the blustery wind at IW, the blue clay in Madrid, and now Wimby).

Photo: Getty Images

Rafa applauds the crowd on his way out, while Rosol strolls along.

Rosol gave a strong performance, both with his serve and FHs.  Tignor compared Rosol today to DelPo and Soderling.  All in all, Rafa was unlucky to face a red-lining Rosol, whom nobody suspected.

For this year’s AO, I had done an award section for “Combativity,” “Best Youngster,” and “Obscure Pro.”  Guess who I had chosen as the obscure pro for the Ozzie Open?   Yes, it was Lukas Rosol (I chose him because he was the completely obscure compatriot of Berdy).  In R1 at AO, Rosol got a mention in the NY Times after he almost lost by a triple-bagel score to Petzschner.  I think my “Obscure Pro” award has secret powers.  I don’t know what Rosol will do with this win — he plays Kohli next.

As for Rafa, this loss is a head-scratcher, but it gives him time to rest before the Olympics and the HC season.  He has 7 RG trophies and 3 wins over Novak in 2012 to console him.  For now though, Fed takes over the no. 2 ranking.

**

R2 Best Young Player:

I’m going to re-issue the “R2 Best Young Player” award to the 21 y.o. David Goffin, for pulling through in a tough match against Jesse Levine in 4 sets.

In his R1 win over Tomic, Goffin was wearing Fed’s 2010 Wimby kit.  For his R2 match, Goffin wore a Nike kit that had blue stripes at the bottom of the shirt.  This violates Wimby’s mostly-white dress code — the umpire told Goffin to tuck his shirt into his pants, which meant Goffin spent many awkward minutes trying to play while keeping his shirt stripes hidden.  You live and you learn, and sometimes you win anyway!  He plays Mardy Fish in R3, which may be a tougher test.  Go Goffin!

Also, a shout-out to the 23-y.o., no. 55-ranked Frenchman, Benoit Paire, who is flashy and sometimes crazy.  At this time last year, Paire was ranked no. 115.  His R2 win over the equally flashy and sometimes crazy Dolgo is a good sign of progress.

Photo: Getty Images

Paire plays the fairytale American comeback player, Brian Baker, in R3.  While I appreciate the fun Paire brings to the game, I want Baker to have an awesome showing at Wimby.

***

DelPo Plays Kei in R3 After Beating Go Soeda

Photo: Reuters

DelPo should have won his match in straight sets, but he had a lapse in the 3rd set and got breadsticked.  For 30 minutes, he was in walkabout mode.  Thankfully he picked up his game and won in 4 sets.  One concerning point is that DelPo’s serves were much weaker in this match.  While his % is decent, he could be doing more with the speed.

DelPo emphasized he was going to play much more aggressively against Nishikori in R3.        DelPo also shared his support for equal prize money for the WTA players (this issue has been in the news ever since Gilles Simon said that he opposed equal pay for male and female tennis players).  All in all, DelPo has a good head on his shoulders.

DelPo then shared a photo of himself cooking dinner after the match:

Photo: Juan Martin del Potro FB

This is so amazing.  The food looks appetizing, actually.  I hope he doesn’t make himself sick 😉  As long as he wakes up merrily the next morning, right?  Notice the Oreos in the bottom-left corner of the photo.  In Miami, DelPo went grocery-shopping for Chips-Ahoys — he ended up losing to Ferru.  By switching to Oreos in London, he is bound to have a good result against Kei, and whoever he faces in R4.  I am sure of it!  Secret sources tell me London Oreos are lucky foods.

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About mariposaxprs

I play favorites with Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and the long line of mercurial talent that drives me to despair in front of the screen at odd hours during the week.
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5 Responses to Who Says R2 at a Slam is Boring?

  1. Rafa’s becoming crotchety in his old age.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      I actually think there is a small amount of truth in that statement. I don’t mean it as a criticism—given that Rafa’s been active for more than 10 yrs, it makes sense that he has a bit of mental exhaustion that will show through every now and then. Fed had instances too in the past where he seemed “crotchety” and out of character. Altogether though, I think that’s precisely what makes the plyrs so interesting to observe, to see how they overcome those bumps in the road.

      • Oh yeah, and I don’t think it’s just mental exhaustion, I think as people get older they feel more entitled to voice complaints about the workplace, or that their complaints will be heard.

  2. Rita says:

    I’m waiting for the first Delpo cookbook, Rachel Rayesque lifestyle show and his own line of kitchen ware on QVC. Just hope he washed his hands first unlike that Chilean tv appearance where he handles cookie dough after petting an letting that darling puppy gnaw his right hand. Yuck!
    Seriously, I was holding my breath in the 3d set fearing a repeat of RG. The boy’s got consistency problems. Maybe he had been to inconsole after Boca’s tie game.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      That would be quite the business idea, DelPo setting up a home cooking line and having his own TV show where he mumbles and no one understands what he’s saying, YET he produces a top notch dish! That is the DelPo way!

      I agree he’s had more inconsistent patches of play on grass at Wimby. That’s why Kei will be his first honest test, because Kei is in form and he’s less likely to gift points. Thia makes the DelPo-Kei match a very tough one to watch—but the DelPo army will gather fans and we’ll yell loud enough so he hears us 😉

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