Queens: DelPo Reaches the QF After Defeating Local Dan Evans

Under the watchful eyes of Murray’s greatest fan Kevin Spacey (or “Stalker Spacey“), DelPo defeated local player Dan Evans, 6-0 6-3 in a 55-minute match.

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The no. 277-ranked Evans, who narrowly missed out on a WC spot for the main draw at Wimbledon this year, is regarded as a rising talent for British tennis.  Evans had upset Nieminen in R2 to schedule a R3 date with DelPo.

However, Evans started the match playing very nervously.  DelPo played with patience and was business-like in pulling the trigger when his opportunities came.  Owing to smart play from DelPo and a fair share of UFEs from Evans, DelPo took the first set, 6-0, over Evans in 17 minutes.

In DelPo’s R2 match against Malisse, he was having trouble hitting his BH and would often resort to the slice, which resulted in him losing many points.  Against Evans, DelPo found much more confidence off his BH wing and he hit the shot with much more purpose.  DelPo seemed more comfortable hitting the low ball off his BH and he managed some sharply angled return winners off that wing.  Perhaps the first set bagel boosted DelPo’s confidence, as DelPo also showed off fine running FHs and FHDTLs in the 2nd set.

DelPo hit an impressive FHDTL, only to promptly fall on his back (there had been light rain during the match, so the grass was slippery).  DelPo flashed a thumbs-up to indicate he was fine.  He gave a come-hither glance and managed to look like he was sunbathing at the same time:

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Interesting fact: Bettors in Europe place bets on when DelPo will fall down on the grass.  It took 17 games for DelPo to fall down in his R2 match, while he was down after 11 games in his R3 against Evans.

One of the cons today was that DelPo had a slight hiccup as he served for the match — he admitted himself that he got a bit nervous serving for it.  He was missing his first serves, while Evans seemed to have one last fight in him, which saw him constructing smart points to wrongfoot DelPo.  Evans would hit a return winner to reach his first BP of the match.  In the end, Evans netted a volley to give away the chance.  DelPo would then serve it out.

In the QF, DelPo will face Lleyton Hewitt (who defeated Querrey in 3 sets).  While DelPo is 2-1 in the H2H against Hewitt, he lost their only meeting on grass (2009 Wimbledon, R2).  Hewitt also “defeated” DelPo at the Kooyong exhibition earlier this year.  DelPo’s next match will be a much tougher test of his form, given Hewitt’s grass-court credentials.  Hopefully, DelPo’s quick rout of Evans will provide a confidence boost — furthermore, while Evans did not ever really challenge DelPo in this match, DelPo hit his stride in the 2nd set and was hitting impressively.  It may not quite have been a vintage performance from DelPo, but it was a very close approximation.

***

Doubles action: DelPo-Cilic pull off an upset over 2nd seeds Nestor-Lindstedt

The team of friendly giants, DelPo-Cilic (or Team Monobrow) moved into the QF after defeating top doubles team Nestor-Lindstedt, 6-3 6-7(5) 10-6.  They will face another top doubles team, Benneteau-Zimonjic in the next round.

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Due to the heavy scheduling backlog created by the rain delays, DelPo-Cilic have yet to play on Center Court, which means there have been so streams available for their matches.  Their next match will take place on an untelevised court as well.

Both DelPo and Cilic played singles and doubles yesterday (Cilic, who is defending champ in singles, won a tough match over Feli in 3 sets).  Both are on for double duty on Friday as well.

Team Monobrow share a grim handslap on court:

AEGON Championships - Day Four

Photo: Getty

***

Press Quotes & Interviews:

Ravi Ubha wrote a splendid New York Times piece on DelPo’s recent setbacks.  I enjoyed the detail about DelPo laughing when his frustrated practice partner Benneteau smacked a ball into the car park.  On a more serious note, DelPo volunteered his thoughts on the various setbacks he’s faced since his return in 2011.  It’s quite sobering to see how tough it is for DelPo to make lemonade out of the various obstacles he’s faced:

“Sometimes it’s like I’ve had two different careers, before the U.S. Open and after I won in New York.”

“Assessing his journey since the 2009 United States Open as a whole, del Potro, who met Pope Francis, a fellow Argentine, during the Rome Masters, added that “things happen for a reason.”

Asked to come up with one, the 24-year-old replied: “Maybe it’s the price I had to pay for winning a Grand Slam.””

DelPo’s comments about his recovery from the virus also reveal how serious his condition was.  Over the past month, he was unable to train for 3-4 days after a one-hour hitting session, due to exhaustion.  While this sounds very much like mono, DelPo decided not to treat the illness with medication, due to the strict anti-doping rules.

While DelPo’s match against Hewitt will provide a more honest test of his current form, it’s nice to see him make his way back after a month-long absence.  He can still aim to reach the QF at Wimbledon, the only Slam where he has yet to reach that stage.

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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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8 Responses to Queens: DelPo Reaches the QF After Defeating Local Dan Evans

  1. Iram says:

    Hi!
    I know you’ll probably post about it later…but I’m sorry that ur guy lost today! Lleyton is a tough player. Hey at least he’s back. Let’s look at the positives.
    Hope u’re doing well…Iram

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Hi Iram!

      I’m glad to see DelPo is back. It was a tough loss to Lleyton, but it’s nice to see DelPo make progress after such a long time away.

      I missed out on congratulating Ferru for reaching the RG final this year!!! I hope you enjoyed his run at RG and Robredo’s incredible wins at RG as well. Plus, Rafa won the whole thing. The Armada rocked the clay season!

      Hope all is well with you!! 🙂

  2. Candy says:

    The match went so fast. When I was home, Delpo had already taken the 1st set 6-0. Lol Come on, I was only…. 17 mins late?! :/ (Not that I’m complaining :D) And I’m VERY happy “Juan Marin” won again! 😀

    I’m sad/ angry they don’t show doubles at Queen’s. I thought Queen’s was a prestigious/ noble tournament and a high-class/ expensive club! I’m disappointed. Halle shows doubles even on Court 1. Queen’s? Also, they asked Delpo how he felt about this tournament in every interview. Delpo was forced to say the same good things again and again and again, e.g. it’s a great tournament. They have beautiful courts and good facilities, etc. They made me want to throw up. lol They tried too hard.

    As for Marcos, so it’s official that Marcos is a mascot for Team Delpo?! Ahaha 😛 “Marcos the Mascot”! Cool (cartoon) character! 😛 I love him! (Maybe Marcos is really involved in tennis professionally? Franco-in-training? 😀 Or the guy who manages Delpo’s photo album? That cool FB pic of shirtless Delpo was taken by him?) I think we should ask Marcos the Mascot take some pics of Delpo/Cilic during their doubles match or even some video clips! 😀

    Delpo’s illness sounds more and more like mono. I remember Soderling said he could train for a while one day, but he couldn’t even get out of bed the following day. Btw, whatever Delpo’s illness is, I hope he has recovered completely already!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      I’m so angry we couldn’t see JuanMarin doubles! I wanted to see them doing chest-bumps and high-fives with each other 😦 Estoril has two TV courts, I don’t understand why Queen’s only streams Center Court…you’d think with all the funds they have, they could have managed it!

      Lol at the interview questions. I love how DelPo patiently answers those questions. He must get tired of repeating the same thing over and over again, but he makes an effort to show that he means it. I’d probably be like, “Yes, the tournament’s nice. What’s the next question!”

      Marcos was there for Malisse, but I’m not sure he attended DelPo’s match against Evans and I didn’t see him in DelPo’s box in the match against Hewitt. Stupid Marcos! We need to draft a “Marcos Mascot Contract,” which requires him to attend all of DelPo’s important matches, to take shirtless photos of DelPo in the locker room and organize all of DelPo’s photo albums to share on FB. Also, Marcos has to take an educational course on “How to be Like Franco.”

      So far, it seems like DelPo’s been feeling good at Queen’s this week. I’m taking that as a sign that the worst is over with this virus. It definitely sounded like mono & I had the same scary thought about Soderling talking about how he couldn’t get out of bed for days. In a way, maybe DelPo’s early loss at Queen’s will help his recovery efforts — he got match-play but he doesn’t have to over-exert himself.

      • Candy says:

        I wanted to see Delpo and Cilic hug/ handshake sweetly after their victory! So sad! Many cute moments had been missed! 😦 Yes, Estroil has better coverage, more beautiful courts, more amazing scenes, more polite organizers, etc. Before the SFs, they had already disappointed me. Then, them moving Cilic-Hewitt to Court 1 was just too much!

        They used players’ mouth to boast of the tournament way too much. When I read this -‘“At the Aegon Champions you feel like you are at home,” said Del Potro.’ in their article before the tourney began, I couldn’t stop laughing! I doubt if it’s really what was said by Delpo or what he meant. (We all know no place would make Delpo feel like he is at home except his home :P.) http://www.lta.org.uk/fans-major-events/LTA-summer-grass-court-events/Aegon-Championships/News/2013/In-form-Del-Potro-targets-grass-court-glory/
        I understood it. Many tournaments did similar things in their press release. But then, they asked Delpo how he felt about the tourney again & again & again. They’re so desperate. I mean, if you’re good, you don’t really need to emphasize it in every opportunity you have. People would know it and the players would say it (naturally), if you’re REAL good.

        OK. I should stop now. 😛 But they’re really not very classy in many aspects.

        Hahaha! “How to be Like Franco”, Lesson 1- How to look so cool in sunglasses! 😀

        • mariposaxprs says:

          Yea, Queen’s is a pretty small venue. I remember when DelPo lost to Mannarino in 2011, they had to play on an untelevised court (and it was a very small tennis court, with plastic folding chairs for spectators). Center Court at Queen’s is nice, but the other courts have a more “clubhouse” atmosphere. Their decision this year to relocate the Cilic-Hewitt match was wrong on so many levels. Even if Muzz is a favorite local player, Hewitt’s still a 2-time GS champion and Cilic was defending champion at Queen’s.

          Now that you mention it, DelPo’s comments about Queen’s are pretty funny. Then again, DelPo plays Boodles every chance he gets and the Boodles is another super-posh club. Maybe DelPo secretly enjoys the luxury surroundings? 😉 And you’re totally right, there’s no place like home for DelPo, except home. I remember DelPo gave this old interview where he said his favorite place in New York was Best Buy, b/c they sold PlayStation games. LOL. Maybe his tastes have expanded since then…

          I think Queen’s posh image means they attract a certain type of crowd (among them, pushy types)…I saw a few tweets from minor British celebrities who had the chance to hit w/some of the players (one night-club promoter got to hit w/Tsonga). It’s a bit strange and definitely different from other tournaments…I’m not a huge fan of it myself. I guess tennis is still considered more of a “posh” sport in Britain, compared to other countries.

          Looking forward to DelPo at Wimbledon! Not expecting too much, but I’m glad to see him back. Just want to see him healthy and recoup his form! I’ll update with a post shortly before Boodles 🙂

  3. audiesgirl@aol.com says:

    Two wins in one day for Delpo, that’s got to be a first and surely a huge confidence booster. He’ll have to up his game for Hewitt though.
    I’m in no way a tennis expert as you can tell but I do have a question about his game. He seems to hit many balls right back at the opponent rather than making him run to the other side of the court as so many do to him. Often this leads to the other player’s running him into the corner – often his right – leaving most of the court open and wham, they hit the ball DTL where he can’t get to it. He doesn’t seem to set up points, just takes advantage of opportunities as he loves to say. Also, he seems to hit a lot of net balls off the BH and drop shots and has overly relied on his opponent’s UFEs. I guess I’m saying I’d like to see more aggressive play and variety of shots.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      When DelPo’s not striking the ball well, his opponents can use the DTL shot to expose his court positioning. I think it happens more often when DelPo’s not hitting his BH well. When he’s not getting depth and pace on his BHs, his hitting patterns are more predictable and easier to exploit. Also, when DelPo’s having trouble with his first serves, opponents can read the direction of the serve better, which allows them to create the DTL position.

      DelPo’s been successful against opponents who are good at the DTL attacks (Berdych and he’s had some success against Djokovic), but he needs to be hitting well off both wings to neutralize his exposure to that attack.

      DelPo was very lucky to win the match against Malisse and Evans never really challenged him in the latest match. I guess we’ll have to see how he fares against Hewitt. He might raise his level now that he has 2 matches under his belt!

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