Up and Down … And Down
Posted by gauloises1 on January 20, 2011
Marcos Baghdatis d. Juan Martin del Potro 61 63 46 63
Let’s be honest, we all knew it was going to happen. Well … that’s not true, really. After Baghdatis going five sets in his opener with Gregor Zemjla (no offence, Slovenia’s finest) and JMDP winning in straights against Sela, I was experiencing hope. That died pretty quickly. Putting Delpo on court with a class player like Baghdatis – who is playing above his current ranking of 22 at the moment – was a sharp lesson in how far he has to go.
Positives? He worked so hard out there and refused to give up, seizing his opportunity to put some points together and take the third set 6-4. Even after he surrendered a break early in the fourth and Baghdatis was running with it, Delpo could have concluded he’d done enough and let it go, but he kept fighting, eventually forcing Baghdatis to ace him to get him off the court. And there were moments, especially towards the end of the match, when everything clicked and he strung sequences of shots together that could have come from 2009 and reminded everyone just how good he was.
Negatives? Well, he lost, so that’s a fairly major one. And he never really looked like winning. The phrase ‘a shadow of his former self’ keeps wanting to get out, but it makes me sad, so I’ll keep it in. Let’s just say that he’s got roughly the accuracy of a stormtrooper out there, and he’s moving about as well as one.
His shot selection and decision-making was way off at times as well. But all of that comes with more matches, doesn’t it? You just need to play matches.
Of course, having lost here and failed to defend his 2010 fourth-round points, his ranking is now projected to drop into the 400s. But he’s got a protected ranking to enter 9 tournaments, or until I think June 20th, whichever happens first, so he’s not going to have problems playing. Of course, he won’t be seeded, so there’s nothing to stop him getting knocked out by the top seed in the first round of each of those 9 tournaments, and every lower-ranked player will be smelling blood. But nothing to stop him playing lots and lots of lovely matches, as long as he’s healthy.
Oh. Did I mention this?
That’s after he was serving break point down, threw the ball up, grimaced and caught it, tried again and then watched his racquet fly out of his hand and across the court after he hit the ball (a fault, by the way). He didn’t take an MTO, and insisted afterwards that the trainer visits were merely precautionary, but … you know … damn you universe, basically.
But he didn’t beat himself; Baghdatis beat him, and did it really well (his third-round meeting with Jurgen Melzer is going to be a great match). So I’m hopeful. And the sad part is, I really am.