Monte Carlo: DelPo Has a Tough Adjustment to Clay

DelPo fought from a set and a break down to defeat Dolgo, 1-6 6-4 6-3.  He advances to R3, where he will face the winner of Nieminen and Raonic.

Photo: AFP / Getty

Photo: AFP / Getty

DelPo had BP chances in Dolgopolov’s opening service game, but was unable to convert.  He was quite sluggish in his movement and was caught off-guard by Dolgo several times.  He wasn’t sliding comfortably into his shots and his net game was also quite poor.  Dolgo, to his credit, was playing very well.  His dropshots and backhands were on fire.  He hit a strong return-of-serve and followed it up with an explosive FH to break DelPo, 3*-1.  Dolgo hit an impressive running FH to consolidate at love.  DelPo then played a very poor service game, opening with 3 consecutive DFs.  He saved one with strong hitting, but Dolgo hit a successful dropshot to break at 15.  In their previous 3 matches, Dolgo had never taken a set off DelPo.  This time, Dolgo emphatically took the first set, 6-1.  The 1st set stats reflected the level of play, as Dolgo had 21 winners to DelPo’s 2 (Dolgo had 13 UFEs to DelPo’s 8, so the Ukrainian was clearly dictating play in the 1st set).

However, Dolgo had trouble with his 1st serve (he averaged 36% for the match).  DelPo rushed out to a 2-0 lead in the 2nd set.  That’s when DelPo decided he wasn’t going to serve well either.  Dolgo had a great read on DelPo’s 2nd serves and Dolgo broke back straight away.  DelPo had 40-o at 3*-3, but he lost focus and his 2nd serve was a real liability.  Eventually, Dolgo reached BP.  With a return-of-serve winner, Dolgo broke to go up 4*-3.  The momentum was firmly in Dolgo’s corner.

However, Dolgo is well-known for his mid-match wobbles.  He was nervous as he served at 4*-3 and he gave BP on an error, which DelPo quickly converted.

Given the way the match was going, it would’ve been too easy for DelPo to hold and break, to take the 2nd set.  So DelPo served poorly and promptly faced 2 BPs.  Just in time, though, he managed to bring out his strong serves to hold.  DelPo then played solidly to apply pressure on Dolgo with his deep CC BHs.  He waited for Dolgo’s errors, rather than forcing the play, but it was enough to break Dolgo for the 2nd set.

The 3rd set was a similarly rocky affair, as DelPo and Dolgo traded early breaks.  DelPo then broke at love to go up 4*-2, courtesy of some poor shotmaking choices from Dolgo.  He held to close out the match and advance.

DelPo has gutted his way through a few tough matches this year, including his win over Llodra at Marseille and over Bagdhatis at Dubai (saving MPs in both instances).  This win over Dolgo was yet another case of that.  On a positive note, DelPo was hitting his flat BHs cleanly in this match.  For now, it seems his left wrist is feeling better.

Notes from the Sidelines:

  • Djokovic finally confirmed he will play Monte Carlo.  His coach Marian Vajda was seen scouting DelPo.  Djokovic plays his opening match against Youzhny:

Screen shot 2013-04-17 at 2.42.18 PM

  • British rider and Monaco resident Chris Froome (runner-up at last year’s Tour de France and a heavy favorite this year) attended the DelPo-Dolgo match.  I hope Froome doesn’t form an opinion of tennis based on this match 🙂  Maybe Froome will have more chances in the future to see DelPo when he’s playing better!

Screen shot 2013-04-17 at 4.29.46 PM

Screen shot 2013-04-17 at 4.49.39 PM

  • Pete Bodo made an interesting comparison between DelPo and Dolgopolov’s tennis games: “Del Potro is a cake without frosting; Dolgopolov is frosting without cake.”  Frankly, this tweet is the best response to Bodo’s food analogy:

[tweet align=’center’]

I myself am a fan of savory over sweet foods!  Who needs frosting anyway?

Quotes from DelPo’s Presser:

[tweet align=’center’]
  • DelPo gave an on-court interview after the match, where he says the things he always says after his matches.  He added he is working hard to make sure he feels “com-for-teh-ble” on clay.
  • DelPo was asked whether or not he would consider playing the Davis Cup SF against the Czech Republic.  DelPo repeated his earlier answer that he had no plans to play DC this year.  It seems unlikely he will change his mind.  Team Argentina will have to figure out a way to defeat the Czechs on what is likely an indoor HC surface.

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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5 Responses to Monte Carlo: DelPo Has a Tough Adjustment to Clay

  1. says:

    There’s a Spanish version on YouTube also.

  2. says:

    Is there a category for “Weirdest Match of the Year” – if so, this is my nominee. Even the crowd was scratching its collective head. It wasn’t which player was trying harder to WIN it, but to LOSE it. I guess Delpo reckoned, “eeef Dawg eees goeeng too geeeve eeet too meee, I take eeet” The post match presser shout be a hoot. I thought for a moment poor Franco was going to have a coronary. Ugo is more sensible, counting all the euros to flow his way from his deal with Muzz.
    I was hoping Delpo would have to face Raonic next – that youngster seems the Next Big Thing – but Milos let me down again.
    Speaking of coronaries, the personal drama I referred to was his hurrying off from Miami after playing in a fog due his mom’s rumored heart crisis. It’s also reported in his hometown paper et al. that the lady has been trying to get Delpo and his ex-novia back together.
    Geez, with that kind of stress, no wonder he fled to Europe weeks before expected. Facing Nole, Andy and/or Rafa has to be less scary. He can lay low there for months.
    Nice to see Pico through to the next round although he can thank Gulbis for making an idiot of himself on the court.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Hah, this was certainly one of the most head-scratching matches DelPo has played in a long while. Dolgo was the better player for a set and a half but then he started to implode. DelPo had the momentum, but then he handed it straight back to Dolgo, who then passed it right back to DelPo. Confusing stuff! There was a chance for both Tomic and Raonic to play DelPo at MC, but both players lost early. Guess they’ll have to wait until next time!

      DelPo’s media manager said that Ugo Colombini is only working in a part-time capacity with Muzz. He’ll still be DelPo’s full-time agent. I guess Muzz is planning to expand his “brand profile” in Asia and beyond, and he wanted Ugo’s support in that area.

      Thankfully, DelPo’s family emergency is over, so he doesn’t have to worry as much now. I’m not sure about the validity of the ex-novia story, but I guess it’s something!

      • says:

        Ugo can’t be both a full- and part-time agent. He’s a smart businessman who will make them all big bucks with smarter management. What surprised me is that Muzz chose him over the big name agencies but Ugo’s vision seems bigger moving in to new markets. The ATP framework is becoming more and more problematic for the players and they may be looking for alternatives. Who cares what your ranking is if you’re body’s being brutalized by that calendar and you can make more money playing less?
        As a mother having gone through a son’s breakup with a long term amore, it’s natural to grieve the loss on a different level so the story may have some truth. Delpo’s sister is still in contact with la bomboncita. Until a new lady shows up on his arm or in his shower, hope springs eternal. LOL.

        • mariposaxprs says:

          I think Muzz is trying to build his brand profile in India and Asia, through exhos and etc. It seems that was part of his reason for working with Ugo. Ugo will be responsible for negotiating Muzz’s appearance money, among other things. Muzz actually formed a new venture that’s part of XIX (a major sports agency) — so it’s actually Ugo who is now working part-time for a major agency. Many agents handle different players at once, so it’s certainly possible for Ugo to be a full-time agent for DelPo while doing other projects for Muzz on the side. It’s all part of how it works!

          I guess we can keep hoping (re: the ex-novia 🙂 )!

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