Visual approximation of Juan Martin del Potro’s time machine.
del Potro d. Benneteau 7-6, 6-3
It’s not a win over Federer, Djokovic or Murray. But Del Potro’s largely dominant display in Rotterdam this week should be a warning sign to those four in what has been largely an unpenetrable ivory tower of slam wins.
Del Potro defeated Julien Benneteau to take the Rotterdam title, winning 7-6, 6-3. The beginning of the match saw Delpo broken early, and down 2-0. He was sluggish, and looked interested in simply pushing the ball around. Delpo then quickly jumped into his time machine. His sluggishness turned into a double dare against Benny. The first dare – I dare you to hit a second serve. Delpo took 74% of points off of Jules’ second serve. The forehand was on fire.
The second dare – open up the court. Delpo’s forehand turned the match into an indoor hard court match in terms of pace, but Benny’s aggression pushed the level of tennis far higher. When the court opened up, Delpo used his patented running forehand to level the playing field. There were many rallies where both men were running side to side, looking for an edge. Delpo’s continued underrated defense dug him out of holes.
Furthermore, the Argentine’s ability to be creative in tricky situations, such as playing behind Julien or taking a bit off on the forehand showed a real sense of killer instinct and comfort in his shot making at the moment. Perhaps the most insane shot came from an excellent backhand cross court return from Benneteau off the ad side of the court. The angle was incredible. Delpo simply shuffled over and hit a one handed slice backhand winner down the line.
The scoreline was largely close due to Benneteau’s sometimes unplayable shots on such a fast surface, and a few Delpo brain farts. However, the quality of play is always the most important thing to look at, and Delpo’s shot making and overall tactics were superb today, and now seems a favourite to defeat anyone ranked below him.