Indian Wells: Habemus DelPuzzard (et Fedal)

On the day the Catholic Church announced their election of Pope Francis (an Argentinean),  DelPo beat Haas to set up a QF with Muzz (who defeated Berlocq) and Fedal overcame tricky opponents to set up a long-awaited reunion.

DelPo defeated Haas in straight sets, 6-1 6-2.  It was a pretty routine victory for DelPo, whose H2H against Haas now stands at 4-0.

Photo: Danny Moloshok/Reuters

Photo: Danny Moloshok/Reuters

Haas was broken in his opening service game when he served a DF.  But he promptly went 0-30 on DelPo’s service game after a 19-shot rally that featured BH-to-BH slices.  DelPo then netted a short ball to face 3 BPs, 0-40.  The two players had long rallies, including a 32-shot rally where DelPo proved the steadier of the two.  When DelPo saved the 3BPs to reach GP, Haas threw his racquet on the ground in frustration.

DelPo quickly gained 2 more BPs on Haas’ serve and converted to go up a double break in the 1st set.  He consolidated to go up 4-0*, at which point Haas threw his racquet on the ground for the second time.

Apparently, the dry desert air at Indian Wells does not suit DelPo, as he had yet another nosebleed during the match (this is his 2nd nosebleed this year, during a match).  He called for the trainer at 4*-1 during the changeover.  Despite the hiccup, DelPo held easily for 5-1* in a game that featured Haas’ racquet hitting the ground for a third time.

Haas would eventually serve a DF to lose the 1st set.  DelPo was up 6-1.  After 42 minutes, DelPo raced to a 6-1 3-0* lead in the match.  While DelPo could have closed out the match earlier, he ended up going up a double break to win the match, 6-1 6-2.


While Haas plays very well against players with strong BHs (he is 5-0 against Nalbandian and 3-0 against Almagro, who he defeated in R3), he is vulnerable to the depth and pace of DelPo’s shots.  Haas finished the match with a total of 43 UFEs.  It’s a quite telling stat that Haas has yet to win a set off DelPo in their 4 career match-ups.  The 34-year old Haas may also have been tired, due to having played a long match against no. 11 Almagro the previous day.

The commentator for the match aptly described the DelPo-Haas matchup as a “nut butter and salami sandwich.”  While the two ingredients were stellar when eaten separately, they don’t mix well together.  That seemed the perfect way to describe DelPo’s taking Haas to the woodshed.

Sara Foster, Tommy Haas’ wife (and the daughter of David Foster, an American music mogul), gave a nice summary of the match when she spent time with DelPo and Haas in the locker room after the match:

Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 4.32.46 PM

That is a photo chock-full of good-looking people!

DelPo will now meet Muzz in their 7th career match-up.  Muzz leads the H2H, 5-1 (DelPo’s lone victory over Muzz came on clay at Madrid ’09).  The QF match on Friday will take place on center court.  DelPo has yet to play a match on center court this year, and there’s been talk that the center court plays slower than the other courts.  This may favor DelPo, although he may need time to adjust.  The DelPo-Muzz QF will be exciting to watch because they haven’t played each other since the 2009 WTF.  It will be interesting to see how their games match up against each other after 3 years.

Presser Quotes:

In his presser, DelPo was asked many questions about the new Argentinean Pope:

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I think he’s gonna do his work perfect.  I wish the best for him.  And I’m very Catholic, so I like this new decision … Maybe I will have the chance to meet him in Rome if Nicola [the ATP rep] do his job.  (Laughter.)

The journalists then tried to ask DelPo about his religious faith.  Unfortunately, DelPo’s English did not seem up to the task of speaking of such complex matters in great detail!:

Q. Do you know Pope Francis at all? Are you familiar with him? He seemed to have a tremendous warmth and intelligence. Have you ever had any encounters with him or do you know of him?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I don’t understand what you mean.


Exciting Indian Wells QF Line-up (to be updated):

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  • The Return of Fedal: Fed defeated Stan in a drama-filled 3-set match and Rafa defeated Gulbis in a similarly dramatic 3-setter, to set up a Fedal QF.  This quarter of the draw has lived up to its entertainment and fans will be curious to see how Fed copes with his gimpy back, while Rafa continues to suffer through his gimpy knee.  Both players were supremely cranky in their R4 matches — Fed had a stand-off with Fergus Murphy during his close win over Wawrinka, while Rafa had a similar brush with the umpire after a coaching violation.
  • Muzz Shows His Bratty Side: Muzz  beat Berlocq in R4, 7-6(4) 6-4.  Berlocq continued the great form he showed after upsetting Nishikori in R3 and he managed to break Muzz for 2*-1 in the 1st set.  However, Muzz broke back and forced a 1st set TB.  Muzz was very unhappy with Berlocq’s grunting.  Berlocq has a grunt that sounds like a long groan.  Personally, I don’t find it annoying enough to turn down the volume whenever I am watching a match.  Still, it appeared to really bother Muzz.  Muzz complained to the umpire about Berlocq’s grunting and at one point during the match shouted “It’s Outrageous!” in response to Berlocq’s grunt.  After Muzz broke back, he fist-pumped in Berlocq’s face during the changeover.  In my opinion, this was a completely unnecessary action from Muzz.  First of all, Berlocq’s grunt isn’t even that outrageous — Rafa, Novak and Granollers have far more irritating grunts.  Second of all, Muzz never complains about Rafa or Novak’s grunts, yet he feels free to complain at length about Berlocq’s grunts.  This feels like a “Kiss Up, Kick Down” situation.  I suppose Muzz’s outburst was one way of channeling his frustrations at his initially patchy play during the match.  That doesn’t excuse his hypocrisy though.

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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10 Responses to Indian Wells: Habemus DelPuzzard (et Fedal)

  1. Iram says:

    hey!! I am rooting for Delpo all the way now! Not that I have anything against Rafa, I DONT!! But it would be awesome to see Delpo pick up a huge title and that will give him big confidence! 🙂 Have a good wknd.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Hi Iram! Thanks, I’m still amazed that DelPo toughed out those two wins over Murray and Djokovic. I hope DelPo comes out strong for the final challenge against Rafa!!

      Also, I hope you had a fantastic time attending Indian Wells this year! I look forward to hearing your take on things 🙂

  2. says:

    See, I knew lighting all those candles to the Argie Patron Saint of Tennis would do good – Delpo wins and an Argie gets the papacy. I wish he would expound more on his theology, though, like how to reconcile claiming to be “very Catholic” with his recent scandalous behavior. Then I grew up Catholic and what you did Saturday night didn’t affect your diligent Mass attendance on Sunday morning. Let’s hope he doesn’t forsake worldly pleasures and run off the be a monk.
    The Fedal match was too short and sweet. Roger didn’t feel well and it showed; Rafa took full advantage of his wounded adversary. I hope Roger adjusts gracefully to his decline and Rafa doesn’t like his good fortune go to his head.
    So, the drama of Delpo-Muzz is upon us at long last.and it’s good to see him back in Center Court. Much is made of their relationship since their verbal spat in Rome back in ’08 but we forget that when Delpo was weeping into his towel over his hurt back that ended the match early, Muzz was right there to comfort him. As he pointed out in his post-match tennisTV interview, they’ve been playing since they were adolescents and have put away childish things. Still, to beat Muzz, Delpo needs a bit of Divine intervention, perhaps another butterfly or better, a white dove, will light on his racquet.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      HE DID IT!!! He beat Muzz *happy dance*

      You’re right, the Rome ’08 spat between DelPo and Muzz was just that. They were both young and immature, but they’ve gotten along well enough with each other ever since then. It seems like that’s one of the good things about living in the tennis bubble is that you can’t really have “beef” with another tennis player, b/c you’re bound to run into them the next week at another tournament. So you either have to go “all out” and form a mortal hatred for your rival, or you just go the more practical route (forgive and forget and move on). I’ll be putting up a match review of DelPuzzard soon!!

      Yay DelPo’s into the SF, where he faces Novak, who’s been sailing through relatively untested. I hope DelPo can fight Novak more closely this time around.

  3. I totally agree with your Muzz assessment! I can understand him being annoyed. But, his reaction to it was so over the top! I mean, seriously, he’s a professional tennis player who, as you said, has played plenty of other players who grunt … he should be used to it by now! I can’t help but feel it was a reaction to the fact that Berlocq was playing well? (maybe I’m too cynical haha!)

    Also, i was pretty surprised to see the Nadal coaching moment. I feel like he & his camp have gotten away with that so much over the years, it was kinda nice to see him be called out for it.

    By the way, I loved DelPo’s reaction to the new Pope (“I’m very catholic”) … aww he’s so cute!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Exactly, he was acting like a brat. Even worse, he said he complained about Berlocq’s grunt in retaliation for Berlocq complaining about the time Muzz was taking in between serves. Immature, much? If he wants to make an issue out of grunting, he should talk about the grunting only. Also, the fist-pumping and screaming “COME ON” in Berlocq’s face was so unnecessary. I wish more journalists called him out on his behavior. I totally think Muzz was upset b/c he wasn’t having as easy an match as he expected! (I guess we’re both cynical, then?:)) But that makes it worse…I can overlook a small tantrum here and there, but it bothers me when players only get like that against the lower-ranked plyrs.

      Yea, the Rafa coaching violation was pretty crazy. Fed, Rafa and Muzz all had tantrums on the same day. The best part was where Rafa tried to argue with the ump that Roig was coaching him in Catalan, not Spanish (hence, why the linesperson couldn’t have known it was coaching). Lol!

      And three cheers for DelPo’s English! “Very Catholic” and “I had a little bit of lucky” are the best DelPo-isms. I hope he gets to give a happy post-match interview after his Muzz match!!

      • Yes we might both be cynical, but I think on this point we’re also right! 🙂 You know, I didn’t think about it at the time, but you’re right…the whole fiasco does sort of reek of the higher ranked vs. lower ranked thing. Granted, I’m not a big fan of Muzz’s game anyway, but his stupid grumbling and moaning and mutterings really put me off him.

        He better be on his best behavior tomorrow! There have been way too many Muzz-DelPo drama filled moments! (“you and your mother” — or perhaps “manner”?? … no one could understand DelPo’s mumbling english even then!). Its funny because DelPo was even asked about his relationship with Muzz and committed another DelPo-ism by saying that they were much more “smart” now, lol!! He also claimed that they were friends too, which seems weird to me! But then again, doesn’t DelPo say he’s friends with everyone, haha? And Marcos mentioned in his interview that DelPo got along with all the players in the locker room. So maybe DelPo is really just the Miss Congeniality of the ATP or something! 🙂

        • mariposaxprs says:

          Haha I love that DelPo said he and Muzz were both older, wiser and smarter now. I’m still not sure him and Muzz are friends…but I guess we’ll take his word for it, huh? 🙂 I remember thinking it was so puzzling when Lleyton Hewitt said DelPo was one of his closest mates on tour. Marcos is right, DelPo really does get along with everyone. I guess it helps that he generally looks/acts like a too-hot-to-be-bothered animal all the time! Miss Congeniality, indeed 😛

          I wonder how the DelPo-Muzz match will go down. Muzz’s loud “COME ONS,” combined with DelPo’s late challenges, could yet lead to another tense situation. Let’s see if they really are older, wiser and smarter this time!! Vamos DelPooooo.

  4. says:

    Yes, counting the hours until Delpo-Muzz. Is Judy there? We know she tweeted JuanMa’s shirtless photo, will she be cheering for her baby while leering at this opponent? Adds a new dimension to the drama. Old ladies everywhere, like me, applaud her emerging cougarness – I don’t feel so weird now hahahaha.
    Fedal of course if the Big One of the tournament.when we’ll see if the back/knee problems contribute to a testy atmosphere. I was surprised at Fed’s arguing so vehemently with the ump, he was clearing in the wrong yet persisted in challenging the call. If he’s on pain meds, that can make him a bit loopy. Too bad Djoko took out the last American but he seems unbeatable at the moment and so full of himself when he wins. Somebody hose him down.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      DelPo-Muzz will play on Friday! They (along with Jo & Tsonga) have a day of rest. Meanwhile, the Fedal QF and the Anderson-Berdy QF will take place on Thursday. I haven’t seen Judy yet, although who knows? She may show up just for DelPo 😀

      I saw parts of the Fed-Wawrinka match and Fed did not look to be in good form. He normally hits his BH with perfect posture, but he seemed less comfortable hitting off that wing against Wawrinka. The fact that he argued with the umpire over a call where he was in the wrong only seems to confirm that fact 😦 This is probably one of those times where a Fedal match is a big cloud of mystery. Fed is injured, but Rafa’s coming back from injury too. How do we interpret the result then?

      I guess the same can be said for DelPo-Muzz. Muzz will undoubtedly bring his best game against DelPo (that’s how he does things). But can DelPo’s BH stand up to the test? I hope it can. I think DelPo also has an extra gear he hasn’t yet shown at IW. Past DelPuzzard matches have been very close, so I hope DelPo can squeak by with a win this time!!

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