DelPo has reached the SF at the Olympics! He’s in the final four. After taking MP against Kei, DelPo let out his trademark roar. He was so dang happy. He defeated Kei Nishikori, 6-4 7-6(4) to set up a SF with Fed, who defeated Isner.
Maybe I’m placing too much symbolic importance on this, but I’m pleased that the other semifinalists are Fed, Murray and Djokovic. Plus DelPo — he’s the first male Argentine tennis player to reach the SF in singles. Happy times!
Now that I’ve covered the positive side, I should dwell a bit on the negatives: DelPo was broken three times in the match, twice while he was serving for the set. At 5*-4 in the 2nd set, he hit a confounding error and two DFs to get broken serving for the match.
It’s easy to overlook the first time he was broken, but by the second time, it was obvious that he was getting nervous. Franco, Martiniano, Pico, Dulko and Tito were cheering for DelPo in his box. After DelPo got broken a second time, he started yelling furiously at his box — I think he was upset that they were cheering for him too loudly.
Tito, in particular, was very vocal in his support for DelPo. Tito was also wearing a hideous sleeveless top, and maybe it was this sartorial error, combined with DelPo’s anger, that led to this little outburst? I hope to find a clip somewhere, because it was actually kind of hilarious. The commentators had a ball wondering what DelPo was going on about. Franco, as usual, maintained his calm expression even in the face of DelPo’s exhortations 😉 DelPo was much more calm when he was broken while serving for the match — probably because it was through a DF, and hence, he could only blame himself.
Aside from that small bit of drama and DelPo’s inability to serve out the sets, it was actually a quality match. Kei was in-form and he had great defensive abilities, while hitting passing shots to punish DelPo’s occasional ventures to the net. DelPo combatted that with aggressive shots — he hit flat and speedy shots to both corners of Kei’s half of the court, and topped those off with impressive thread-the-needle shots and a BHDTL to boot. The placement of his serves was also varied and kept Kei on his toes.
But DelPo will need to step it up from here if he wants to beat Fed, who has won their past 5 matches this year. One hopeful sign is that DelPo took two sets off Fed at RG — but he ended up losing when he couldn’t close out the match. If only there were mental exercises he could do to settle those nerves. Still, he’s within medal contention on grass. This is a great showing for him. He moves to Centre Court to play Fed — since Centre Court looks nothing like Wimbledon right now, maybe that will convince DelPo he’s still playing on Court 1 (which he seems to like)?
I’m a bit torn because I’d like Fed to get his career Golden Slam and to win an Olympic gold medal. On the other hand, DelPo takes precedence and an Olympic medal is too amazing to pass up. I will be a nervous observer of this match!
DelPo will also be playing the mixed dubs QF with Dulko — they face Raymond and Bryan on Court 2 at 4:30pm (UK time).
On another note, I wonder if DelPo will choose to play the Toronto Masters. Already, Rafa and Ferru have announced their withdrawal.