Last year, DelPo won his first indoor HC title at Marseille, defeating indoor specialist Michael Llodra in the final.
After his victory at Rotterdam, DelPo flew straight to Marseille, where he will defend his Open 13 title.
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For a 250-tournament, Marseilles has a top-drawer lineup this year, featuring every member of the bottom half of the top 10 (Berdy, DelPo, Tsonga, Tipsy, Gasquet), in addition to Davydenko, Monfils, Benneteau, Tomic, Janowicz and Gulbis
Gasquet crashed out early in R1 to Muller, making this his 2nd consecutive R1 loss after Rotterdam:
Monfils was also a R1 casualty, as he lost in straight sets to Granollers (Granollers lost in R2 to Muller, the Gasquet conqueror). Monfils is set to miss Indian Wells and Miami due to injury — he hopes to be back in time for Roland Garros.
Berdy toughed out a 3-set win over Gulbis to advance to the QF, where he will face the winner of Janowicz-Benneteau.
This year, DelPo will meet Llodra in R2 (as the 2nd seed, he received a R1 bye). He has a 4-1 H2H against the French father of three (2-1 on indoor HCs), although he lost their last encounter at the 2012 Paris Masters.
If DelPo advances, he will face the winner of Simon and Bautista-Agut for a place in the SF. Tsonga and Tomic are on DelPo’s side of the draw and they will battle it out for a place in the other SF.
All in all, there are plenty of exciting match-ups at Marseille. Fans can look forward to the Tsonga vs. Tomic match, as well as a potential Berdy vs. Janowicz match.
While DelPo is defending his Marseille title, his performance this week will have no impact on his ranking (even if he loses early at Marseille, he can count his 250 Vienna points toward his ranking). The same goes for Dubai. In that sense, DelPo’s next two tournaments will provide a chance for him to experiment with the changes he’s been trying to make to his game in a low-pressure environment (although I suspect he may want to make a full-out effort at Dubai, in preparation for IW and Miami).
For a long time, DelPo has played a packed schedule in the early HC season and it’s tough to see the logic behind it this year. In any case, the hope is he focuses on working out the weaknesses in his game through these next tournaments.
- In non-Marseille news, the Golden Swing is entering its third week, as the Buenos Aires tournament takes place. Nalby, who had taken 6 months off with an abdominal injury, made a strong showing at Sao Paulo last week, where he reached the final (after defeating Nico in 3 sets in the QF). Alas, Nalby lost to the player whose comeback has dominated all the headlines, Rafa. It was a bit disappointing to see Nalby lose in such a straightforward fashion, but the hope is he continues his solid progress. His ranking climbed to no. 78 this week. Nalby defeated Berlocq in R1 at Buenos Aires and he will now face Ferru in R2.