Quite unexpectedly, DelPo had his easiest match so far at the 2013 Dubai Duty Free Championships, with a 6-4 6-2 QF victory over qualifier Daniel Brands in just over an hour. The 6’6″ Argentine faced off against the 6’5″ German.
Daniel Brands has played through qualifying to reach the main draw at 4 tournaments this year (he reached the SF at Doha, R2 at the AO, R1 at Rotterdam and then the QF at Dubai). The no. 97-ranked German seemed to have achieved a level of consistency, especially with his straight-sets win over Youzhny in R3 at Dubai.
Brands won the coin toss and elected to receive first. In a rare instance, DelPo started the match by serving first. He faced some trouble in his second service game, but dug himself out of a 0-30 hole to hold for 2-1*.
In contrast to their Vienna match last year, DelPo and Brands’ ace count was not startlingly high (8 and 7, respectively). Brands exposed DelPo’s BH side in the earlier rallies. DelPo tried running around his BH, but this may have also forced him to take the ballast off his FHs, which created opportunities for Brands to hit winners. Nevertheless, at 0-15 on Brands’ serve at 3*-4 in the 1st set, DelPo hit a lovely running FHDTL. This seemed to indicate his growing confidence.
However, neither player reached BP on the opponent’s serve. The 1st set looked like it might head to a TB. However, Brands unexpectedly folded when he was serving to stay in the set at 4*-5. He hit a succession of FH errors to create 3 SPs for DelPo. DelPo took the first one and the set, 6-4.
Brands played poorly for much of the 2nd point, while DelPo grew more fluid with his groundshots. At one point, DelPo won 12 consecutive points. He broke the Brands serve to go up 2*-0 in the 2nd set. He consolidated easily for 3-0*, which meant DelPo had won five straight games in a row. After 58 minutes, Brands served to stay in the match at 2*-5. However, Brands once again played very erratically to get broken for the match.
Presser Quotes:[tweet https://twitter.com/TennisNewsTPN/status/307107422449848320 align=’center’]
While it was nice to see DelPo go through to the SF with an easy win, Brands’ errors may have covered up for the continuing troubles DelPo faces with his wrist.
Luckily enough, DelPo says his left wrist pain has not gotten worse. While this many not necessarily be good news, it’s reassuring to hear he’s not playing through severe pain. To wit, while Brands drew DelPo into many BH slice rallies during their match, DelPo didn’t show hesitation in hitting his regular BH.
DelPo’s quotes, per the Tennis Panorama News site:
“Looks easy but wasn’t easy … I played really well in the second set, and I take my chance to break his serve in the end of the first set. Today [Brands] made a few double faults in the important moments, and I took that to break his serves. I think that was the key.”
At this very moment, Djokovic has just bageled Seppi in the 1st set. DelPo’s likely SF meeting with Djokovic will be their 10th match-up (Djokovic leads 7-2).
Then, Davis Cup chimed in with their own line-up:[tweet https://twitter.com/DavisCup/status/307155783911608320 align=’center’]
I disagree with any line-up that has Berdy starting at ‘9.’ I disagree with SkySports and Davis Cup over their assignment for DelPo. DelPo could definitely do better than a Gasquet or a Berdy or a Tipsarevic in midfield. Also, I’d be concerned about any lineup that features Gasquet or Tipsarevic as a winger. Ferru, however, is correctly assigned in the middle. There’s no one better suited for that role than Ferru. I agree with Davis Cup that Tsonga would make a great goalkeeper.
In any case, here is a clip of DelPo at Martin Palermo’s farewell match at La Bombonera stadium last year. DelPo delivers a clever (the most technically masterful, if I do say so myself) assist. The commentator was clearly impressed, at 2:49 — his bemused “Juan Martiiin” is hilarious:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=znD3w8tJfX0&start=150s&w=455&h=305]