USO: If Anybody Had A Heart

May it throw three cheers for DelPo!

Photo: Getty

2003 USO Champ and former world no. 1 (and American golden boy) Andy Roddick announced he will retire from tennis after the USO.

Roddick, after defeating Fabio Fognini in four sets, will now face DelPo in R4.

Quite predictably, there is a recognizable pattern of wishful thinking these past few days — “What if Roddick made like Jimmy Connors and reached the SF?”  Or worse, “What if Roddick reached the final and lost to Fed, or maybe BEAT FED to go out in a blaze of glory?”

This is pure, self-indulgent fantasizing.  Sounds like fun, right?  I will have none of it.

**

In other news, DelPo defeated compatriot Leo Mayer in a very entertaining straight-setter.  Mayer gained a bit of infamy when he lost to Donald Young at Winston-Salem, thus breaking Young’s losing streak.  However, Mayer showed his crafty tennis and he won impressive points — normally, matches between a higher-ranked and lower-ranked player of the same nationality tend to be a bore, but this one proved an exception.

Mayer showed his ability to chip-and-charge and he came to the net on many occasions.  DelPo met the challenge and zoned on his FHs, while his BH was also sturdy.  Unfortunately, DelPo had a few problems with his knee.  He asked for the trainer at the end of the second set, and had his right knee massaged.  While his serve did falter at times (perhaps because of the knee), he did seem to be moving alright.

What this means for his R4 match is a mystery.  Mayer played a fantastic point to send the 3rd set to a TB, while DelPo missed 6 MPs before finally winning the match on his serve in the 3rd set TB (which he took 11-9).

Photo: EFE

Also, DelPo was called for another foot fault during this match.  He proceeded to glare at and converse with the line judge who’d called the foot fault.  DelPo is the GOAT of passive-aggressive grudge-holding.  Thankfully, he managed fine after that — his first serve % improved after a poor 55% in the first set.

DelPo’s passage to R4 means he finally returns to Arthur Ashe.  After three long years, the USO schedulers have finally realized there is no possible way for them to schedule DelPo on Louis Armstrong or Grandstand, if his opponent (Roddick) is a life-timer at Arthur Ashe.  DelPo wins (the scheduling contest)!

I apologize if I protest the USO’s scheduling choices too much, but need I remind anyone that the NYT last year called out the USO for overlooking DelPo?  Or the fact that Ivanovic, who has never won the USO and has frankly been a non-factor at Slams since ’08, has played every match on Ashe this year?  It’ll be nice to see DelPo return to Ashe, even if it is on account of his opponent.

Now for that match: Roddick is apparently playing with more freedom, having lifted a heavy burden off his shoulders.  What that burden was I don’t know — winning the next match?  So far, he’s had a relatively simple journey to R4, having defeated Tomic and Fognini.  He trails DelPo in the H2h 1-3, although he did win their last meeting at Memphis in 2011.  However, Memphis ’11 was in the early stages of DelPo’s comeback trail, when he was losing to luminaries like Fer.

This is a great opportunity for DelPo to reach the QFs — in spite of his wrist and knee problems, he’s been playing quite well in Flushing.  The improvements in his game, compared to last year’s USO, are evident.  He will be playing against the crowd in NY, that much is certain — luckily, DelPo will have the benefit of Hawk-Eye (which Nalbandian did not in 2003).  DelPo even managed to get a few challenges right in his match against Mayer!

DelPo’s presser: He repeatedly has to remind the journos that while he will face a pro-Roddick crowd in R4, plenty of the crowd will also remember that he is a 2009 champion.

However, DelPo will need to cut down on his walkabouts.  He clearly lost focus during his R2 match against Harrison in R2.  While DelPo was more consistent against Mayer, who knows what Roddick will have up his sleeve in their R4 match?  DelPo will need to cut down on his walkabouts.

Much is being made of the fact that DelPo is now becoming known as a “career killer.”  He defeated Safin at Paris in 2009, to send Safin off into retirement.  From an objective viewpoint, DelPo does look to be the favorite in the DelPo-Roddick match, which would be his second kill.  Also, DelPo plays Gonzo in Gonzo’s farewell exho match this December.  DelPo is like the Black Widow spider — very powerful, evocative, and he will haunt your nightmares.

Even if he does resemble a sleepy bear more than he does a venomous spider:

Photo: ESPN Deportes

Even sleepy bears have their bad days:

Photo: AP Photo

I hope he comes out firing on Arthur Ashe, the site of his landmark victory in 2009!

Photo: AP Photo

With a lawnmower fist-pump, I bid you adieu until DelPo’s R4 match!

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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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2 Responses to USO: If Anybody Had A Heart

    • mariposaxprs says:

      You know that’s impossible 😉 For what it’s worth, it seems like Rodders is on some sort of fairytale ride, and he’s up a point in the TB. So who knows, he may go out with a bang and reach the QF or something, which would be great (for him)!

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