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.
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:
- 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!
- 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 https://twitter.com/newballsplease/status/324241546880897025 align=’center’]
I myself am a fan of savory over sweet foods! Who needs frosting anyway?
Quotes from DelPo’s Presser:[tweet https://twitter.com/luciahoff/status/324395408476499968 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.