Marseille: DelPo Loses in the QF to Simon

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.

OPEN 13Edition 2013 Copyright : Sindy THOMAS

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:

Photo via @naughtyt

Photo via @naughtyt


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).


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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15 Responses to Marseille: DelPo Loses in the QF to Simon

  1. Hmm…I think the mysterious person is his friend Marcos? Well, I *think* I remember reading that someplace lol! Someone much more ambitious and curious than me should do a cross check of the annual DelPo b-day party pics to see if that guy is in the group shot hahah!

    Sometimes I wonder if DelPo is the type of player that can play tournaments in a row. He did win his first four tournos all the way back in 2008, but I remember in 2009 after reaching the final in Toronto, he skipped Cincinnati. I remember some tennis journos clucking over that decision….but, then DelPo went on to win a GS! So…honestly, I think he plays best when he has a break between tournos. I can understand the reasoning of his team, especially since he did so well last year! But, I think this year he should aim less for accumulating ranking points, and more towards peaking himself for the big events: Masters & GSs. Anyway, to that end, Dubai is the more prestigious tourno! And apparently he might get some of Maradona’s coaching, LOL! Eh, after all the DC shenanigans, its kinda nice to see someone so big in Argentina being excited about DelPo! Also, did you ever read Nalby’s comments about DC…so ridiculously passive aggressive about the whole thing (thinly veiled comments about how he always prioritizes DC, blah blah blah).

    I saw your twitter convo about Stakhs! Urgh, I hate how some people feel like they can decide what constitutes entertaining tennis or not! Sorry, but I think players like Gilles and Andy Murray are BORING….I *hate* counter-punchers. Obviously, TONS of people disagree with me, but that’s the thing about tennis! People prioritize different things and people think different styles are entertaining. Yeah, I can understand why people think big hitters are boring, but I definitely do not. That sound when the ball hits off the racket? That’s amazing, to me. The pace of the ball off a FHDTL…awesome! An immaculately placed passing shot? beautiful! And while DelPo isn’t the quickest mover, ever, or the best volleyer, he does mix up his game plan. Honestly, I would rather watch DelPo on his worst day than Stakhs on his best day and I think a lot of people agree with me. Sorry, but when you can’t even win enough qualifiers to get into the main draw, you can criticize the winner of the tourno all you want about his “boring” style, but it just comes off as sour grapes! // rant over 🙂

    • Candy says:

      I think the guy who is with Delpo in Marseille and Rotterdam is the guy who is the second man from the left in the front row in this Delpo’s b-day photo ?! Or/ and the guy who’s at the right in this beach photo ?! Or/ and the guy in blue “Just do it” T-shirt in this DC photo?! Hahaha. I have never seen a friend of Delpo who is this prominent before. Hola Marcos (if it’s his name)! 😉

      • Thanks for doing the research, Candy!! I think you are right…looks like the same guy to me! But then, who was that guy in the facebook pic you posted earlier?! Hmmm…another friend? DelPo has too many friends haha!! 🙂

      • mariposaxprs says:

        Nice research, Candy!!! That is totally the same guy, I’m 99.9% sure. You have completed the investigation *gold star* The guy was even wearing the same red Converse shoes in Rotterdam! 😀

        I guess he is a friend of DelPo’s then. Are we calling him Marcos? He does sort of resemble Baghdatis, now that you mention it, lolol!! Maybe that’s why his friend traveled with him…to prepare DelPo for any possible matches against Baggy!!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Yea, playing 3-4 tournaments in a row is risky for any player, esp DelPo (given his injury-prone nature :(). His early season schedule has always been too jam-packed, so it’s better for him if he can start slow. I’d preferably hope he can stay healthy enough to play all the Masters events, as that’s a logical next step for him! Dubai is the more prestigious tournament, although that tourny isn’t necessary for DelPo’s ranking either. Lol, that’s a sign of how crazy his schedule was last year. Still, given the fact that Dubai’s on outdoor HCs, it’ll be nice for DelPo to get used to the conditions there. I wonder if Maradona will stay in Dubai for the men’s event? I read Nalby’s DC comments and they were a bit frustrating. To his credit, he wasn’t as harsh as I thought he’d be, but there was def a bit of passive-aggressiveness going on. So dramatic.

      I normally ignore whatever Stakhs says on Twitter, but he keeps picking on DelPo. It’s one thing to say “I like Llodra, hence I was disappointed to see him lose,” but Stakhs uses DelPo as an example of why the courts are so slow. He’s pretty much saying, “Llodra losing to DelPo was a travesty. DelPo has no variety, blahlblahblah.” While I know that the courts have been slowed down over the yrs, that doesn’t mean it’s a completely diff surface, y’know? The indoor HC specialists still play well indoors….meanwhile, Stakh’s results indoors have been poor these past couple of yrs. It’s major sour grapes, he could make a terrible wine from all that! 🙂 As for his argument about “entertaining” tennis, I don’t even know where he’s trying to go with that. I also generally find plyrs like Gillou and Murray to be boring, even though Murray has more variety. I’d much rather watch DelPo’s game — the hard-hitting and the smack off the FHDTLs, that’s what keeps me watching too!

      While ppl like Stakhs for being open with his opinions, I’ve yet to hear a fully thought-out argument from him on anything. With the equal prize money, there are valid points that can be raised for discussion. Instead, Stakhs resorts to saying things like “If I played Serena, I would double-bagel her.” Hence, it’s tough to take him seriously. He’s not even in the MD at Dubai, he’s out playing a Challenger tournament right now. At least he won’t be complaining this week!

  2. Candy says:

    I didn’t want to see Delpo lose, but, at the same time, I’m kind of relieved that Delpo got out of Marseille. Now he can take a rest. I hope he will have a good tournament in Dubai!

    Also, can’t wait to see Delpo-Diego crossover. 😉 I hope they will play tennis-football there!

    (btw, I haven’t got used to seeing a third person who is not Ugo in Delpo’s team yet. He’s with Delpo everywhere now. It’s kind of weird. :P)

    • says:

      So who’s the new Third Man in the equipo? Good heaven, please keep Maradona away from Delpo, can’t think of a worse influence for him.

      • mariposaxprs says:

        I don’t think the Third Man is Jorge Viale…so I’m puzzled too. Maybe he’s a friend of DelPo’s? (Martin Palermo is now coaching a football team in Argentina, so he’s not available to travel with DelPo ;)) At least the Third Man doesn’t look as scary as Maradona, right? 😀

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Dubai draw is out and DelPo faces Baggy in his opening match *facepalm* If he can just get past Baggy, his draw until the SF is not so bad. I hope DelPo’s ready by then!

      I am scared that Diego wants to coach DelPo. It would be such a comic disaster, lol. But I wouldn’t mind a tennis-football session between the two!! 🙂

      I’m not sure who the third person was in DelPo’s box. At first I thought it was Jorge Viale (his PR guy), but Jorge Viale doesn’t look like that ( Also, Viale implied on his Twitter account that he wasn’t in Europe with DelPo.

      Maybe it’s a friend or a relative of DelPo’s? It’s strange that this person has now attended both Rotterdam and Marseille. I haven’t yet seen anything on Twitter referencing who that person might be…

      • Candy says:

        Agree. Jorge doesn’t look like that. (My ability of recognizing a person is low. I was speculating that it might be Jorge. Maybe he just had got fatter, shaved and had a tan and different hairstyle. Lol. But I thought Jorge was not that short?! And now at least you also don’t think it isn’t him.) That guy is mysterious. Delpo was surrounded by some friends at other tournaments before, but they weren’t that prominent in public showing (except Palermo who is a public figure himself). So it’s kind of weird to see him everywhere with Delpo now. Maybe he’s his hitting partner?! Lol Not really?! 😛

        I think the guy who appeared in this photo on Delpo’s FB is Jorge!/photo.php?fbid=454416711278492&set=a.248553415198157.66691.245291448857687&type=3&theater ?! Or not?! Oh gosh…. again, my ability of recognizing a person is low. =.=)

        Yes, if Delpo can get past Daddy Baggy (oops, he’s a father.), he can probably make SF. I do hope he will get to play Nole in SF. I want to see how Delpo will fare against Nole.

        • mariposaxprs says:

          LOL forever, that would be *hilarious* if the guy turned out to be DelPo’s hitting partner!! When DelPo chased his team with the champagne after winning Rotterdam, that guy was the slowest. I mean, DelPo had to practically push him down the hallway!! …Should we be worried?!? 😉

          It could be Jorge in that FB photo, but from his Twitter he said he was in Tandil during that time (I’m normally good at recognizing people, but this is a tough case!) I’m not exactly sure how visible of a role Jorge will play on DelPo’s team. With the exception of Rafa, I don’t really know of any other player whose PR person is constantly on the scene. I really like Jorge’s journalism pieces though, so I hope he gets his chances to play a big role.

          Ahhhh, I hadn’t even thought about Daddy Baggy. Wasn’t his daughter just born? Ayayayay. Hewitt and Simon already…..we will have to summon all our powers to ward off Baggy! Back-to-back losses to Simon and Baggy would be slightly worrisome…I hope DelPo makes the best use of his extra days of rest!!!

  3. says:

    It was painful to watch the match, I hope you’re right that the loss was a tactical move to preserve himself for the bigger tournaments. I think I see the logic of his strategy, I hope it works.
    Delpo will face a very tough field in Dubai, many who have rested for weeks.
    Do you think Tsonga could move above him in ranking if he wins? That would be the first retreat for Delpo since he got back into the top 10.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      His loss to Simon was a bit confusing, b/c Simon is always a tough match-up, so it’s discouraging to see DelPo play poorly against him.

      On the other hand, Marseille and Dubai are both unnecessary for DelPo’s ranking points. Marseille, especially. It would literally have been a waste for DelPo to reach the final at Marseille — the only positive thing he could’ve gained is to stop Tsonga or Berdy from gaining ranking points.

      Tsonga is still some 900 pts behind DelPo in the ranking. If he wins the Marseille title, he will gain 100 pts, so there’s still a safe distance b/w DelPo and Jo. Even if Jo were to pull off a miracle and win Dubai somehow, he would still be behind DelPo.

      If Berdy wins Marseille, he’ll gain 100 pts, so the gap b/w him and DelPo would then be around 200 pts. All in all, there’s no real harm done to DelPo by his early loss in Marseille. It was def the smart move for him (whether or not it was intentional). I would *much* rather see him give his best at IW and Miami — his early exit from Marseille maximizes his chances of doing that. Now if he could just play well at Dubai!

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