DelPo won his 12th career title, his 3rd title of 2012 and his 2nd on indoor HCs! The only surface he has yet to win a title is on grass (although he did win an Olympic bronze medal on grass, which in my book counts as a 250-title, non? ;))
Martiniano is the life of the party. Without him, DelPo and Franco would probably spend hours on the train/airplane, in gloomy silence.
DelPo defeated Grega Zemlja 7-6 6-2. Overall, he hit 63 aces in Vienna (30 against Brands, 6 against Matosevic, 17 against Muller and 10 against Zemlja). (via @sebatorok)
The final featured a slow start from DelPo, who was broken for the first time in Vienna this year, when he lost his serve to go down 2-3*. At the start, DelPo was too slow in rallies and generally passive. However, DelPo quickly bounced back to earn 2 BPs on Zemlja’s next service game, and he used a CC FH to break back with authority.
However, DelPo’s performance was not playing at his best. He endured a ten-minute service game at 4*-4, in a four-deuce game that saw Zemlja using his slice to target DelPo’s BH.
One worrisome weakness of DelPo’s game is his refusal to go DTL with his BH. Watching the lengthy backhand rallies between DelPo and Zemlja, it was clear that Zemlka knew well beforehand where DelPo’s next BH was headed. Zemlja then had 2 BPs of his own, but DelPo saved one with a FH, before going on to hold.
After another tough hold from DelPo to go 6-5*, he stepped up the pressure as Zemlja served to stay in the set. DelPo hit a great CC FH (it’s a specialty of his) to go up 0-30 on Zemlja’s serve — after enduring another slice-BH-slice rally, he had three SPs. DelPo broke Zemlja to take the first set 7-5 in just over an hour.
After an easy hold to open the 2nd set, DelPo hit a great FHDTL at 143 kph. Then he carved out another beauty of a CC FH to earn 3 BPs. This CC FH was like a dink of a FH that loops over the net and lands precisely inside the line, but at an angle that Zemlja can’t reach. It showed a level of touch and finesse that his critics accuse him of not having. DelPo broke.
Then, at 3*-1, DelPo hit a shot that was called out, but the umpire correctly overruled it in. He called for a replay of the point, which DelPo did not like (in my view, Zemlja had already lost the point, but the ump thought the call influenced the point). Thus commenced DelPo’s beautiful, glorious moment with German umpire Roland Herfel:
DelPo put his hand over the ump’s shoe and he lightly tapped his racquet against Mr. Helfel’s right foot. Mr. Herfel maintained his state of expressionless-ness. It sounds serious, but it was actually light-hearted and all in good fun (which in my opinion, adds to the reasons why DelPo should win the 2012 Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award — he’s great at diffusing tense situations, for the benefit of the greater good). The crowd was laughing, and DelPo got over it just as soon it happened.
Thankfully, DelPo won the replay of the point and eventually, his 12th career title in Vienna. His girlfriend was there this week and they were both so adorable, as the cameras beamed on them — I think Stephanie was smiling at him, because when he looked at her from the court, she suddenly broke into a smile. Aww 🙂 In his speech, DelPo took the time to thank his mother (in Spanish), as it was Mother’s Day in Argentina:
With this title, DelPo now goes to Basel, where he plays his first match against Alejandro Falla in R1. As the 2nd seed, DelPo has a chance to confirm his place in London. Per Argentinean sources, DelPo is now already confirmed a no. 9 spot in the Race to London. If Rafa confirms his withdrawal, DelPo will have sealed his qualification for the 2012 London WTF.
As for now, Tsonga and Tipsarevic have already lost their opening matches in Valencia, which provides a little more cushion for DelPo. Barring a disastrous performance, DelPo’s chances of qualifying this year (after narrowly missing out last year, due to DC final preparation) look healthy.
More updates to follow, after DelPo’s opening match against Falla!