After a difficult R2 victory over Michael Llodra (which featured an entertaining moment, where DelPo took a selfie with a spectator’s camera after losing a point), DelPo lost in the QF to Gilles Simon, 6-4 6-3.
During R2 match against Llodra, in which he lost the first set and had to save MP in the 3rd set before winning, DelPo looked a bit tired and was playing at a level below what he’d shown at Rotterdam. His first set stats were poor, although he improved significantly in the 2nd set. Credit goes to Llodra for troubling DelPo with his slices and net play, which pressured DelPo into hitting passing shots (this is one area where DelPo isn’t yet comfortable). DelPo toughed out the match to avenge his defeat last year to Llodra.
In his QF against Simon, DelPo got off to a similarly slow start. While he had BP chances throughout the first set, Simon heightened up the pressure on DelPo with his excellent defense. While Simon is a slightly inconsistent player, he tends to bring out his best against big hitters, by frustrating them into rushing their attacks. Simon grew comfortable enough with his game and this showed in the 2nd set, as he started to hit clean winners. DelPo seemed to fade and he showed signs of tiredness. At one point, he called for the trainer, although he didn’t receive any particular treatment. He was seen clutching his hamstring at one point during the match.
There are no reports of injury, but the early exit may prove beneficial to DelPo in the long run. One of DelPo’s goals this year is to perform well at the mid- to high-level events. He had nothing to lose in Marseille, so it wouldn’t make sense to risk injury by playing a 250 event, especially with IW and Miami coming up.
In his presser, DelPo said his inability to go for winners was the issue, while his attempts at the net were also dealt with by Simon. He also mentioned he would now have a bit of time to rest before Dubai.
Simon’s H2H versus DelPo is now 3-3 (3-1 on HCs). Curiously enough, only one of DelPo’s three victories over Simon have come on HCs, at the 2008 USO QF (in a five-set match). DelPo’s other two victories over Simon have come on grass (2011 Wimbledon and 2012 Olympics).
It’s only February and DelPo has already registered two losses to players ranked below him (Chardy and Simon). While this may be cause for concern, I think his win at Rotterdam also shows that he may be better off pacing himself throughout the season. He didn’t play his best at IW and Miami last year, so if he can save his best play for the spring HC Masters events, that would be an improvement over 2012.
Photos and Videos from Marseille:
During his R2 match against Llodra, DelPo had fun with a spectator. After losing a point, he took the woman’s phone and snapped a photo of himself smiling:
Marseille has a tradition where fans go “fishing” for autographs. They win awards for creativity!
Before his match against Simon, DelPo was shown in the players’ lounge, playing cards with his team:
Play Continues at Marseille & Other News:
- The Marseille featured 5 of the top 10 players. Only Tsonga and Berdy remain. Gasquet lost in R1 to Muller, while Tipsy lost in R2 to Tursunov (Tursunov defeated Muller to reach the SF). Despite the early upset, DelPo’s ranking will stay at no. 7, regardless of what happens at Marseille this week.
- In addition to the top 10 players, Tomic and Janowicz also played Marseille. Both players lost in the QF (to Tsonga and Berdy, respectively). It’s tough to draw conclusions from their play this week, but I’d say Tomic gave the slightly more encouraging performance, even though he wasted 5 MPs against Tsonga. In any case, it’s nice to see Tomic hold his own against a top 10 player, even if he did let nerves get the better of him at the end.
- Maradona is in Dubai this week and he attended many of the WTA matches. Maradona joked to reporters that he would like to coach DelPo in the future. WTA star Vika Azarenka’s boyfriend, RedFoo, has been known for his interest in tennis — he currently coaches a player. I think it’d be a close contest between RedFoo and Maradona for the title of “Most Outlandish Bystander”:
“Next week I’ll be the one training del Potro myself. I will ask Franco Davin to step aside and Diego will train del Potro.”
(Maradona has a habit of referring to himself in the third person. He may beat RedFoo in the weirdness stakes).