Rotterdam: DelPo Makes His Post-AO Return

The Rotterdam draw has been released.  Main draw play starts on Monday and DelPo is the no. 2 seed at the tournament.  This year, Rotterdam has four top 10 players in the draw (top seed and defending champion Fed, DelPo, Tsonga and Gasquet).

The indoor HC tournament is one of the early season highlights and the Rotterdam draw once again boasts quality and depth.  In addition to the top 10 players, youngsters Bernie Tomic, Jerzy Janowicz, Grigor Dimitrov, Benoit Paire and David Goffin are also playing.  Indoor stalwarts Michael Llodra and Nikolay Davydenko are also in the draw.

DelPo will start Rotterdam with a R1 match against WC Gael Monfils.  Surprisingly, this is the first time DelPo and Monfils play each other on tour.  Monfils is the living definition of WC.  The Frenchman embodies everything that is terrifying and chaotic about an unseeded lurker in the draw.  DelPo will have to start out strong this year.

DelPo’s potential route to the final: Monfils – Haase – Nieminen/Seppi – Gasquet/Tomic – Federer.

DelPo in Rotterdam with his cup of mate tea.

DelPo and Fed play twinsies in their matching Nike sweaters.

Screen shot 2013-02-10 at 11.33.05 AM

DelPo made an impressive run up until the Rotterdam final last year, where he lost to Fed in straight sets.  However, DelPo needed 2 matches before settling into his game.  His R1 match against Llodra last year was very close.  DelPo won that match on a return-of-serve winner on MP in the 3rd set, after having lost the 2nd set in a TB.  After his win over Llodra last year, DelPo proclaimed he was experimenting with serve-and-volley on indoor HCs and grass.  I look forward to checking his progress in that area of his game.

Last year, DelPo then defeated Karol Beck in R2, in a similarly shaky performance — he required an MTO for a nosebleed during the match.  However, DelPo found his game in his QF against Troicki (6-0 6-1) and went on to win comfortably over Berdy in the SF (6-3 6-1).  I think DelPo’s SF win over Berdy last year was very representative of his 2012 season.  He had the firepower to defeat a player of Berdy’s caliber (and DelPo would go on to beat Tsonga at Marseilles the next week), but he hadn’t yet found the right mix of patience and aggression to hang with Fed in the final.

Here’s hoping DelPo can navigate a tricky draw this year.  He will be anxious to play well after his early loss at the AO to Chardy.

Other entertaining match-ups include R1 Tomic-Dimitrov.  It will be interesting to see how Nike’s young generation of talent stack up against each other.  Fed’s possible route to the final: Zemlja – Youznhy – Janowicz – Tsonga – DelPo.

***

DelPo will also be playing Rotterdam doubles with dubs specialist Michael Llodra.  They are scheduled to play Treat Huey-Dominic Inglot in R1.  Last year, DelPo played doubles with Philipp Petzschner in Rotterdam (they lost in the QF).  DelPo is skilled at finding doubles partners (or they are skilled at finding him), as he’s paired with quite a few illustrious names in the past — Stepanek, Petzschner and now, Llodra.  It seems DelPo is serious about improving his volleys.  Maybe he can impart some of his good manners to Llodra in exchange!

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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 Rotterdam: DelPo Makes His Post-AO Return

  1. Rita Richardson says:

    We all pray Delpo finds his game and as Mats said, his reason for playing. Maybe chugging mate Tea will make the difference – has anybody tasted that stuff anyway? They sell it online and I’m sure at a few bodegas here in FL. That photo of him at the airport with a fan suggests he’s lost weight again. His legs look terribly skinny and his thinner face makes his nose and ears appear bigger, He had bulked up nicely for the AO, I wonder what’s up. He’s taken a lot of negative from his countrymen over the past 2 months and his sensitive nature has to be hurting. He needs a big win to restore his hero status or move to Monaco with Djoko et al. I just watched Rafa’s comeback in Chile and Delpo could learn a lot about projecting a winning image again. The temp in Rotterdam will hover around freezing all week which, along with all that mate, should keep him alert.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      I’ve tried mate tea before and I can’t say I really like it. It’s not bad, but it’s not something I would go out of my way for. I guess it’s different for those who grow up drinking it? (I feel like every Argie tennis plyr has been photographed holding a mate cup) I prefer something blander, like green tea or jasmine tea.

      It’s funny, I was reading thru my 2012 Rotterdam posts and I’d noted DelPo seemed to have lost weight before playing last yr. Maybe his post-AO training involves a restricted diet? He also had an unfortunate haircut, so that may explain the big ears right now 😉 I remember DelPo had two nosebleeds last yr in Rotterdam — I hope it’s nothing to do with the cold temperature or the altitutde!

      I saw parts of the Rafa-Chardy match and wow, Chardy is a different plyr on clay, his movement was pretty horrible. I think Rafa timed his comeback well — better for him to regain confidence at a relatively low-key tournament before jumping into the ocean with the big guys. It’ll be interesting to see how he plays at Monte Carlo!

      For now, all eyes on DelPo to find his reason for playing tennis this year! I *really* hope he has a solid run in Rotterdam — this is such a fun tournament, I hope DelPo doesn’t create too much drama!

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