Archive for the ‘Rotterdam’ Category

17 Feb 2013

Del Potro Frankenstein

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.

16 Feb 2013

Del Potro Rotterdam 1

Del Potro d. Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4

It’s been a long, tough comeback road for Del Potro. After almost a full year off from injury and a year to get his game and ranking back up, 2012 was a bit of a let down. At times he looked like his old self, and was a permanent fixture in the top 10. At the same time, he never looked like upsetting the top 4 apple cart like he did in 2009.

Attempting to predict what we might be in for from the big Argentine this year would be difficult and partially pointless. A third round loss in Melbourne did little to stoke the fires of excitement. That being said, Rotterdam seemed the perfect tournament for Delpo to get his game up from a B to an A level.

The semifinal clash with Dimitrov was a fascinating one. Grigor has had a lovely start to the year, reaching the Brisbane final and is raising eyebrows with his aesthetically pleasing game (and let’s be honest, face). The way Dimitrov hits the ball is similar to Federer, and originally that is where I thought the comparisons should end. That isn’t entirely true. Grigor plays like Fed does on grass, but to the extreme, and not necessarily in a good way. He likes to slice the ball and keep it low, all while using top spin to get the ball deep and yes, keep it low. He likes to engage in the sort of cat and mouse rallies that Federer became famous for.

In the first set, I wasn’t sure if Delpo was doing enough to try to really drive the ball, but it became more obvious how great of a job Dimitrov was getting Delpo to play into his hand. While Del Potro was pushed into playing these longer, defensive rallies, he showed once again how underrated his defense is, particularly in the middle of the first set, when he was able to stick in points and eventually come up with the big shot to finish them off.

Dimitrov’s lack of killer instinct is really what seems to really kill him. Federer can be such a treat to watch when he pushes people around because you always know he will have a sly trick up his sleeve to win the point, a ridiculous drop shot, a nasty snap forehand, whatever. Grigor can do an excellent job tactically of setting points up, but then runs out of ideas (or ability?) to close out the points. He’s also far to prone to break down with silly errors, largely from the backhand wing (where he was needlessly broken off of early in the second set). His decision making has improved immensely, in my opinion, but it’s still lacking at the end of points.

That being said, the signs from Del Potro are incredibly positive. Like all big players, game and physically, he can have troubles with players who like to slice, keep the ball low, and move it around in unexpected ways (it’s why he is terrible on grass). He was able to play defense well, but not get too sucked into those patterns of play. He cranked it up on the first serve and the power when he got into trouble on serve, finding that next gear. You always love to see that from the top guys when playing these smaller tournaments; can they find the extra 5% juice in tricky times to out class there opponent.

Roll on, big man.

Sensing A Theme

Posted by Brodie under: Rotterdam, Sodomy, Youz

14 Feb 2010

Solid return to form for Mr. Sodomy, taking the title in Rotterdam as The Youz was forced to retire after going down a set and a break with a thigh injury. Tough to blame him, after two long, grinding matches against Monf (that went 3 hours) and Nole.

Seriously though, injury fail. This is out of control, the men have had about a billion. Random fact: Sod becomes the first Swede to win an indoor tourney since ’93. After a rough start to the year with an injury, I’m feeling last year wasn’t a fluke for Sod. With possibly no Rafa, Elf, or neither in IW and Miami, dude may be making a serious impact on the season sooner than later.

7 Feb 2010

Men – Rotterdam (500)

Official Site: Here
Draw: Here
Top Seeds:
Nole, Koala Bear, Sod, T-Rob

Considering EVERYONE AND THEIR DOG (Rafa, Jo, Gilles, Gael…) withdrew from this tournament, the tournament goes from looking like a legit 500 tournament, with 5 or 6 big name players, to only really Nole, Kolya, and Sod who took a wildcard. Nole and Kolya are overwhelming favourites, after the way they’ve been playing.

Women – Paris (Premier)

Official Site: Here
Draw: Here
Top Seeds:
Elena, Flavs, Wicky, Franny

Really got to like Elena’s draw for this one, and she comes in as a finalist from last year. I don’t mind Wicky or Shahar for cheaper pick-ups, as well. Definitely worth keeping an eye out for the local faves Gypsy and Aravane. Oh, and I tweeted earlier “Has Serena withdrawn yet or did I make that?” I’m not going to pretend like I’m a prophet, however.

Men – San Jose (250)

Official Site: Here
Draw: Here
Top Seeds:
Dick, Nando, The Sex, HaasSauce

Diggin’ Dick’s draw big time, he likes to play well in the US. Old Man Haas ain’t a bad pick either. Take your pick from the top seeds really, the depth of the draw is extremely limited.

Men – Costa Da Sauipe (250)

Official Site: Here
Draw: Here
Top Seeds:
JCF, Montanes, Tomasz, Igor A

If Igor decides to play anything like he did against Fed in Melbourne, he’s a solid pick here early in the year. And if you still don’t have the steal that is Richie, now is the time to do so. Otherwise I’m steering wide of this tournament picks wise, due to the lack of top players.

Women – Pattaya City (International)

Official Site: Here
Draw: Here
Top Seeds:
Bepa, Sabine, Dushbag, Slava

Sabine is probably an absolute must, at least for me. Great price, solid draw. Bepa is questionable with the injury and the depth of the draw is really just to weak to take anyone else here, I think.

Just on a random point, for picking with the women, nearly every top player is (supposed to be) in action next week in Dubai, so pick away. Going to stop posting the entire MTR tennis pool club rankings, and instead will just do the top 10. Pool trading is now open, and open until Monday, 8pm EST.

1 Dogtown (managed by Tracey) 8324
2 ally_r (managed by Alison) 8024
3 repoman13 (managed by Miguel) 7898
4 AnaTennisGirl (managed by Ana) 7785
5 downtwo22 (managed by Joe) 7564
6 eastcoast (managed by Renee) 7425
7 MindTheRacket (managed by Brodie) 7313
8 phillies07_08 (managed by Brian) 7239
9 Becky2705 (managed by Rebecca) 7065
10 RagingBitch (managed by Jills) 6865

The Changeover Podcast:

Episode #56 – Indian Wells Wrap