DelPo defeated Seppi in straight sets, 6-4 7-6(2) 6-3, to reach his first ever QF at Wimbledon. This is a welcome step up from his previous two showings at Wimbledon, where he had reached R4, before losing to higher-ranked opponents (Rafa in 2011 and Ferrer in 2012).
Although the match itself was pretty straightforward, the pre-match doubts surrounding the condition of DelPo’s left knee and ankle were considerable. In his presser after his R3 win over Zemlja, DelPo had said that he’d visit a doctor to determine the state of his ankle and knee. DelPo’s media manager would later tweet that DelPo had been unable to get an MRI on the knee. He would make a decision on whether or not to play the R4 match against Seppi in the pre-match warmup.
DelPo’s ensuing pre-match warmup at Aorangi was a fairly dramatic event. I’m no fan of drama, but the 1-2 hours preceding DelPo’s R4 match were too tempting to ignore. Would he play? How bad was the knee? Following a 25 minute hitting session, Franco Davin confirmed DelPo would play his R4 match. “Luckily, the fall wasn’t that serious and it’s Wimbledon.”
Thank goodness DelPo’s knee showed up for the match, because he reached the Wimbledon QF and has now completed the “Quarterfinal Slam” (he’s reached the QF stage at every Slam). Given DelPo’s struggles on grass early on his career, this is quite the feat. Slam Dunk Da Funk, you hear?!
Still, my friends, we have our pride. We needn’t get too complacent with a mere QF showing at a Slam. Have we not rooted for more since DelPo’s breakout run in the summer of 2008?
At Wimbledon in 2013, DelPo will next face David Ferrer, who overcame a tough challenge from Croatia’s Ivan Dodig in four sets. While DelPo faces his considerable injury problems with his left knee, Ferru has also been having his fair share of trouble with his ankle/foot. This QF match will be a battle of the walking wounded. Yet there’s much at stake here. Both DelPo and Ferru have never reached a Wimbledon SF. If Ferru were to win this QF, he would join the very exclusive club of players who have reached the SF or beyond at every Grand Slam. As much as I respect Ferru’s hardworking ambition, I’m not sure how I feel about Ferru joining that elite club. Therefore, I have yet more reason to cheer for DelPo in this match-up.
Inevitably, people will slag Ferru and they will proclaim him a good-for-nothing who is merely taking up space in the draw. Ferru had taken the 4th seed many had reserved for Rafa, in spite of Rafa’s 7-month absence from the season — many tennis fans had looked condescendingly upon Ferru, in their efforts to favor Rafa, despite the fact that every rational rankings/seedings formula showed that Ferru had clearly earned his place.
On the other hand, Ferru shouldn’t be immune to the same criticisms that plague the no. 6-8 ranked players: Why can’t Berdy/DelPo/Tsonga (and Ferru) do more and finally beat the top 4 to notch an incredible mind-shattering win at a Slam this year? In this respect, Ferru is clearly a step behind the likes of Berdych, DelPo and Tsonga — Ferru has never beaten two top 4 players at the same Grand Slam tournament (Berdych beat Federer and Djokovic when he reached the final at 10 Wimbledon, DelPo beat Nadal and Federer to win the ’09 US Open, and Tsonga beat Murray and Nadal to reach the final at ’08 Australian Open). Meanwhile, Ferru has yet to notch two wins over a member of the top 4 at a Grand Slam (he’s managed one so far at the AO and the ’12 RG, but never two at the same tournament — any objective opinion would agree that’s a clear shortcoming). In this sense, Ferru occupies a very special space in the tennis world — he’s neither here nor there.
Anyway, the main conclusion is that DelPo has a very tough task ahead of him in his QF match against Ferru. This match is a repeat of last year’s R4 Wimbledon, when Ferru handily straight-setted DelPo. The Wimbledon QF is probably one of the truest mysteries left at Wimbledon — everyone expects Djokovic to defeat Berdych, Janowicz to pull off his deservedly epic-making SF at Wimbledon (courtesy of one Kubot) and Muzz to defeat Verdasco — but who will win the DelPo-Ferru QF?
DelPo has reportedly been in a splendid mood. This can only be great news for his match-up with Ferru.
Delpo firmando autógrafos. Esta de muy buen animo yfrog.com/g0t7gjgj—
Guillermo E Salatino (@GuilleSalatino) July 02, 2013