R3 Combativity Award:
I’d awarded R2 Combativity Award to Lukas Rosol, who impressively beat Rafa in 5 sets. Rosol lost in R3 to Kohlschrieber, who played a very impressive match of his own (he hit 35 winners and only 5 UFEs during the entire match, compared to Rosol’s 34 winners and 17 UFEs). Kohli defeated Rafa at Halle this year and grass has always been a strong surface for him. He plays Brian Baker, who defeated Benoit Paire in four sets.
This time, the “R3 Combativity Award” goes to Marin Cilic. Marin defeated Sam Querrey (recent conqueror of much-hyped youngster Raonic), in the 2nd-longest match ever at Wimby. Cilic won 17-15 in the 5th set! Cilic served for the match at 5-4 in the decider, only to be broken back. While both players’ fitness was severely tested, Cilic eked out the win. I’m sure 2001 Wimby champ Goran Invanisevic, who sat in the stands cheering for Cilic, was proud. Despite losing, Querrey had an impressive run at Wimby, especially given his injury concerns earlier.
I’m sure Cilic appreciates the unique tradition that Wimby has, of not playing on Sunday. He’ll need the rest, before he tries to pull off an upset over Muzz in R4.
R3 Best “Oldie” Award:
Sadly, the “Best Youngster” award will have to be dropped now. I was hoping David Goffin could make a week 2 showing, but he lost in straights to Mardy Fish.
Of the 16 players left in the men’s draw, only Cilic and DelPo are younger than 25 years old (they both turn 24 this year). One definite sign that men’s tennis is trending older: ten years ago, three of the four semi-finalists at Wimbledon were 21 years old or younger (Hewitt, Nalby and Malisse). I should give a special “oldie” shoutout to Xavier Malisse, who at 31 y.o. has reached the 2nd week at Wimby for the third time in his career. Malisse plays Fed in R4, which is why I’m congratulating him now. No need for Malisse to pull any hijinx now, thank you very much! 🙂 (especially given the scare Fed had when he needed 5 sets to defeat Benny).
Another shout-out to 30 y.o. Youzhny, who defeated Tipsy in 4 sets!
Nice to see the Colonel smiling and saluting. He plays Denis Istomin next, which means he has a makable chance of reaching the QF.
DelPo defends his R4 Showing at Wimby, Faces Ferru on Monday
DelPo had a straight-sets win over Kei Nishikori. The conditions were very windy during the match, which put DelPo off balance several times during the match. At one point, DelPo almost smashed his racquet on the grass. He stopped himself by kissing his racquet instead. He was probably frustrated by his 4/11 BP conversion rate.
Early on, DelPo showed steady hands at the net, especially at 0*-1 in the second set, at 15-30. Kei’s game plan was to repeatedly hit to DelPo’s BH, but that wing is DelPo’s more consistent side. There was a lovely rally featuring DelPo’s BHs, which ended with him hitting a FH lob to break Kei early in the 2nd set.
However, just as he did in his early matches, DelPo went on a walkabout. He was broken back at 4-4 in the 2nd set, when he made a sloppy serve & volley attempt. While DelPo was serving better, his footwork on grass is still a work in progress — many times, Kei hit a strong return-of-serve, which kept DelPo behind in rallies. There were also moments where DelPo hung behind the baseline, when he had invitations to approach the net.
Luckily, DelPo kept his walkabout limited to half-a-set, instead of a full set. He won the 2nd set TB and then seized control by going up a double break in the 3rd set.
DelPo-Ferru in R4 will be a nerve-wracking match-up. Ferru played an impressive match to defeat Roddick in 4 sets. Given how Ferru has a strong return-of-serve, DelPo will need to be placing his serves very well. DelPo also needs to take the initiative in rallies and do what he can to blast Ferru off the court. In Miami, Ferru did a great job of being the aggressor — DelPo cannot allow Ferru to step into that role when they meet on Monday. May the grass provide a different outcome this time. Neither DelPo nor Ferru have reached the QF at Wimby in their careers — there will be a lot at stake.
Forgot about Reeshie:
Many journalists were commenting how under-the-radar DelPo has been this week. I have no idea if this is the actual case, because I’ve memorized his draw by now 🙂 However, there is a player who’s been flying even farther beneath the radar than DelPo — Richard Gasquet. Reeshie is the only player to have reached R4 without dropping a set.
He plays Florian Mayer next, in what is sure to be a fun match. FloMo staged a from-2-sets down comeback against Petzschner in R2, and then defeated Janowicz (recent conqueror of Berdy-conqueror Gulbis in R3). Fun fact: FloMo was a 2004 quarterfinalist at Wimby (in his first appearance at the tourny). Meanwhile, five years have passed since Reeshie last reached a Grand Slam QF. Again, there will be much at stake here.