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Indian Wells: Quarter-finals. QUARTER-FINALS.

Posted by gauloises1 on March 17, 2011

It’s official, Juan Martin del Potro has killed what remains of my brain. I am now unable to express myself in any fashion more eloquent than short and inane statements repeated in capitals. Sorry.

Juan Martin del Potro d. (32) Philipp Kohlschreiber 76(3) 76(7)

Eye of the tiger.

It was not a classic match. I shall resist the temptation to say ‘who cares?!’ and elaborate the point; in both sets JMDP was unable to hold on to his initial, early break and the points he played to surrender said break in the second set were among the worst you will ever see. He called the trainer midway through the first set, complaining (I gathered) of dehydration and fatigue, and he certainly looked to be in a bit of a fugue. Even having his banana confiscated by the trainer (clearly using the Mrs Landingham method of motivation) didn’t get him going.

In fact, he was doing that thing he used to do when he’s tired and not really feeling it, when he more or less wanders through the set playing a good point here and there, then suddenly conjures some magic out of nowhere to take the tiebreak. That’s certainly what happened tonight; he took the minibreak in the first-set tiebreak courtesy of a ridiculous cross-court sprinting get reminiscent of a certain USO-final-crowd-high-fiving moment. He had his chance to shut out Kohlschreiber in the second set and didn’t take it – and nearly got burned when the magic didn’t turn up (or turned up on the wrong side of the net) in the tiebreak. Kohlschreiber raced out to a 6-1 lead. Reports differ as to what happened after that. Some say Kohlschreiber choked. I say JMDP started hitting out.

Probably a bit of both. Sorry Phil.

However you see it, five match points came and went before JMDP took the tiebreak and the match 9-7 with a big roar. And I may be mad, but for me the most encouraging thing was – paradoxically – the somewhat lackadaisical quality JMDP brought to the court today. He was sufficiently relaxed not just to save his best for the key moments, but to exhibit his deadpan humour for the crowd – at one point, after he had chased down a drop shot and just failed to pop it back over the net, he smacked at the ball with his hand as if admonishing it until it finally obeyed him; at another (having been warned by Mo before the match not to take too long challenging between serves) he wandered up to the net, taking an inordinately long time to decide to challenge, lifted his finger – and then wagged it to say no, he wouldn’t challenge. OK, it’s not Oscar Wilde, but it was funny. It was meant to be.

I know that as a semi-official Delpo swooner I may not be the most objective person. But today he really looked to me for the first time like he was back to being comfortable out there. I don’t think the title at Delray Beach has meant as much to him as being able to hold his own for four rounds at a Masters series tournament, and against opponents who have been no slouch. Of course, he’s cruising for a bruising as soon as he meets a top-flight player (or possibly sooner), and that’s going to suck. But it’s a necessary part of the process and I feel for the first time like I can face that prospect with equanimity. Because he’s back.

(At this point I am contractually obliged to add the qualifier, “as long as his body holds together”.) 

Come on, body, hold together.

Anyway. According to the man himself, it was mainly fatigue and heat that was bothering him today, which is either good or bad, depending on how you look at it:

“It was really hot and I play many, many matches, so I getting tired,” he said, “but the people tell me to fight all the match, and that’s what I did.”

source

He will face Tommy Robredo next, who has been having rather a nice 2011 and beat Sam Querrey 61 63 tonight. He did have something of a hamstring issue, which he’s hoping is recovered by the time he plays JMDP. I hope so too. No, I really do. What? I mean it. No players should be injured.

Injuries = bad.

6 Responses to “Indian Wells: Quarter-finals. QUARTER-FINALS.”

  1. AmyLu said

    So I was writing a lesson plan during his match (I’ve yet to double-check it — it will be interesting to see how much sense it makes tomorrow) so my attention was half on the tennis, but from what I watched, your report seems spot-on. I mean, yes, he was lethargic., but he finally seemed comfortable out there. And, I’m also in the camp that DelPo started hitting out on those SPs.

  2. Katrina said

    When the OOP came out yesterday, and I saw Delpo would be playing at 11:00 a.m., I was kinda wary about this match. I mean, the kid is NOT a morning person! Didn’t Franco say in some interview that he likes to sleep until late in the afternoon? Its really hard when you are used to sleeping in later, to get up early, and digest/eat breakfast properly, and it seems like that was the reason for his lethargy. But unfortunately, I bet he’ll have to play his QF early too!

    Also, when Delpo had his little moment with Mo, the commentators on ESPN noted that a lot of people don’t realize that JMDP is actually a really fun guy, and he loves to joke around, and its awesome that we’ve gotten to see some of that levity in the last few matches (his loud “NOOOOOO” against the match with Dolly – when the umpire incorrectly overturned an out call – and his cracking up & saluting Dolly when he hit 4 lets in a row).

    And one more thing – I loved JMDP’s answers in this interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wX0yBnJllAk). He’s walking the right line between being optimistic and realistic. (Also it’s a chance to stare at his green eyes…pretty :))

  3. Carrie said

    Thanks for the recount- I was unable to see the match because of work and had to scoreboard watch. It is good to hear that he is starting to be his normal Eeyore self out there- lethargic because of the head of anything over 75 degrees farenheit or having slept less than 12 hours the night before.

    I like it when Delpo shows those moments of levity. In fact- it was at this tournament in 2007o when I really became a fan. He was still that scrawny big haired teenager and he was playing Gasquet in a well fought- but eventually losing effort. There was an instance when a point dragged Delpo way to the side of the court where there were some flowerboxes. After the point was over- he picked a flower from the flower box and gave it to a woman (I think she was middle aged or older) in the audience. It was utterly charming.

  4. Carrie said

    Oh and belated props for your inclusion in the LaEosa article!

  5. irefusetotellyou said

    So most unfortunately I haven’t seen any of this here tourney (including JMDPness) thus far; looks like I have missed some good matches, including, of course, THESE HERE JMDP VICTORIES!

    I will attempt to watch today but lord knows I will probably jinx it all and should just continue my non-involvement. That seems to be working.

    Anyway, it is a bit weird how GREAT it feels to see JMDP doing so well. Despite not seeing him play this week, I feel very confident in his chances against TRob. (Yes, I will probably regret saying that at a later point.)

    YAY JMDP but most of all, YAY US!

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