USO: DelPo May Return to Arthur Ashe in R2

DelPo won his R1 in straight sets over LL Florent Serra, 6-4 7-6(4) 6-4.

Photo: Getty

Given the last-minute change of opponent, DelPo did well to make adjustments to his game and win this match in straights, although I would’ve preferred he broke his opponent’s serve more than two times.  On the bright side, DelPo held serve for the entire match (Serra was 0/1 on BPs).  As promised, DelPo did play more BH slices, although his BH (and left wrist) did not appear to be hurting in this match — this is a relief.

If I could make one criticism, it’s that DelPo went 2/10 on BPs (which is not nearly as bad as Goffin, who went 2/18 on BPs in his R1 loss to Berdy).  However, I’m probably not alone in expecting more from DelPo than I do from Goffin (although I do quite like Goffin).

Overall, the no. 116-ranked Serra served well — he had a knack for serving aces when facing BPs, although DelPo did play passively when he had opportunities to break in the first and second set.

Nevertheless, DelPo played a solid match that featured many impressive points.  I’ll say this: Last year, when DelPo was still making his way back to the game, there were a few matches he’d play where he seemed lackluster.  In the past few months, DelPo seems more in command and his FH is living up to its good name.

DelPo hit a marvelous passing shot at 5-3* to go up 30-all on Serra’s serve in the first set.  There was also a rally at 4-4 where DelPo hit a succession of three FHs to earn BP on Serra’s serve.  What stood out to me most was DelPo’s variegated FHs.  Too often, DelPo is unfairly dismissed as a “ball-basher” or a one-dimensional player.  But the point at 4-4 where he hit those pinpoint FHs suggests otherwise — I can’t think of another currently active player who can hit the FH as flat as DelPo, while managing the variety he does off that wing (OK, maybe Fed — but DelPo’s FHs are still impressive).

DelPo put in fine touches that sent FHs softly grazing over the net (on the first point when he was serving at 5*-6 in the first set), and he later hit the shot of the match during the second set on a running FH at 3-2* on Serra’s serve.  After winning the second set TB, he gave a roar that seemed to alleviate the frustration he had in (not) converting BPs.  DelPo had served at 48% for the second set, which probably heightened the relief of winning the second set in a TB.  During the match, DelPo did manage to give a linesperson the “death glare” after being called for a foot fault — luckily, nothing happened and DelPo rolled on (not so) happily for the rest of the match.

The TB that DelPo won against Serra means DelPo is now 19-13 in TBs for 2012.  That sounds about right.  For the record, DelPo has lost three TBs to Fed so far this year (he lost in two consecutive TBs to Fed in Dubai; then there was the momentum-changing TB he lost to Fed at the Olympic SF) and he’s lost two TBs to Berdy (Madrid SF where he lost in straight TBs).  DelPo also lost a TB to Steps in Toronto, which means he’s lost 3 TBs to Czech players in 2012 — this is not an encouraging stat, but I wouldn’t dwell too much on it right now.

In R2, DelPo plays the young American hope Ryan Harrison, who beat Germany’s Benjamin Becker in straight sets in R1.

I’m sure there are a number of American journos who’d like to see Harrison pull off an upset over the former USO champ in R2.  The sheer brazenness with which journos entertain such blasphemous thoughts is beyond me and I can only shudder in response.  DelPo is sure (positive!) to meet his R3 opponent over the weekend.

The one salvaging grace from the R2 DelPo-Harrison match-up is that DelPo is likely to finally receive the respect he is due as 2009 USO champion — he will finally be scheduled on Arthur Ashe court!  Nothing’s certain yet, but there’s a 99% likelihood the USO schedulers will place DelPo-Harrison on center court.  Even if his placement on Arthur Ashe is on account of Ryan Harrison’s status as great young American hope, it will mean that DelPo finally makes his homecoming to Arthur Ashe.  Took you long enough, USO!


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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6 Responses to USO: DelPo May Return to Arthur Ashe in R2

  1. Candy says:

    Delpo controls his temper much better now on bad calls/ when things don’t go his way, comparing to last year or early this year. 🙂

    Ah… I believe Pico will bounce back at DC. He has plenty of time to prepare at home on his fav surface! (but still… ARG DC campaign isn’t look VERY good. But yea it’s not the time to worry about it. Delpo’s USO first!)

    I’m concerned about his wrist. Although there’s no apparent sign of his wrist problem, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the problem. He always tries to leave his problem behind & doesn’t show us until he can’t deal with it. And it seems we need to worry about his match vs Harrison?! Many ppl did say Ryan played well & it’s not easy for Delpo?!

    haha, uncle Delpo.

    • Rita says:

      Cindy, thanks for the amazing photo, I hope it’s ok to add to my Facebook.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      I looooovvvee that photo of DelPo holding the child!! What a sweet photo 😀 It almost erases his crankiness during the match!

      I think his on-court temper was most worrisome at IW and Madrid this year. Maybe Franco did have a sit-down talk with him about that? These past few months, DelPo has had instances where he’s clearly unhappy with a line call, but he hasn’t acted out b/c of them — I’ll admit I was nervous for a few seconds during the Serra match though! Overall, he’s in control of his moods 🙂

      I’m relieved that the wrist didn’t look vulnerable, but I agree that it’s prob not going to go away so quickly. I read some Spanish quotes from DelPo where he says he wants to keep playing in order to close the gap w/the top players — which could mean he’s prioritizing that over his health. It’s tough to tell how the Harri match will go, although barring any wrist problems, I would favor DelPo…

      As with any Slam, first I want DelPo to defend his points — he needs to beat Harrison, and I’d like him to play well in that match.

  2. Rita says:

    After watching Harrison play yesterday, I’m not sure I share your optimism that the next round will be his last. Harrison has that lean and hungry look essential for the young and the restless. In short, he’s pumped; consider yesterday’s upset in the women’s match where a 3 time USO champ was beaten by an 18 year old. Delpo had a much harder time than he should have, I’m suspecting he still isn’t feeling 100% which is what it will take to advance. He has to decide what’s more important: a long shot at the USO or saving Argie honor at the next DC. Even Pico blew town soon as he was beaten, I thought he would have stayed to cheer on his compadre. I hope his Argie fans stayed to cheer for Delpo against the deafening roar of the American crowd.
    That “death stare” was impressive; you should see it in person. It’s only a few, barely discernible movements of his facial muscles from his normal gaze. He IS perfect for Nole’s “scary bad guy.” I wish ESPN hadn’t cut away for commercials and missed his warm and cuddly Uncle Delpo moment with a little boy after the game. He needs to show that big heart more often. Makes me dream perhaps I could get a hug next time I watch him play…

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Harrison’s definitely a player who’s drawing attention (mostly due to the fact that he’s an American player and everyone’s searching for the next successor to Sampras/Agassi
      ). Given DelPo’s uncertain condition, I don’t have strong statements about how this match will turn out — only thing I can say is that it will depend on how well DelPo’s wrist holds up.

      As a fan, I def feel the dilemma about Slams vs Ranking Points vs Davis Cup. Even though I know that it will ultimately be a long shot, I still keep hoping that DelPo can take part in winning Davis Cup this year. At the end of the day, I have to say that Davis Cup is at the top of my wish list for him and Nalby (and the other Argie plyrs). DelPo could lose in R1 at Stockholm, Vienna and Paris — if it meant he could finally carry DC trophy.

      I like your characterizations of DelPo! He really does seem to inhabit many different personalities at once, doesn’t he? He looks overwhelmingly calm and serene, yet there def is a part to him that is a bit irrational and tempestuous. I think that’s what makes him so interesting to watch — he’s by default an understated player, yet he undergoes ups & downs — maybe it’s a bit silly to say, but I feel like I empathize with his ups and downs (and his overall state) the most.

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