Tsonga should handle Pouille in the Austrian tennis tournament final tomorrow. But you never know. If Jo Willy prevails, it’s his, I think, fifth title of the year. Holy shit! Go, Jo Willy (though I like that other guy’s game, too, despite his sophomore slump).
Federer should handle Del Potro tomorrow in Basel, but this one has even more intrigue. Del Potro has won here twice (def. Fed in the final each time in ’12 and ’13), Del Potro has beaten Federer this year in another big match (USO QF), and Del Potro is playing for London qualification. In other words, the Argentine has much to play for and confidence with which to compete.
On top of that, there’s a little injury rumor making the rounds, regarding DelPo. Someone asked Roger about it in his presser, and he clearly is a little annoyed. He said he heard about it in Shanghai, yet the gentle giant made the SF. He heard the big guy was scanned by a physician last week- then the big guy won Stockholm. And here he is in another final with this little pet injury rumor. Roger isn’t buying the injury bullshit. He said he’s prepared to play against a healthy enough Juan Del Potro. And, granted, everyone has a little niggle or two, but injury is a big, touchy use of the language.
Federer obviously looked better today, but as I mentioned in some recent comments, he was literally on the verge of losing that QF match against the Frenchman. Federer acknowledged that today. There were a couple of points I can think of that were very pivotal (Mannarino in the third set dumping that short floater into the net – easy put-away; and Roger coming-up with that BH half volley from the BL that miraculously beat Mannarino who was coming to net following a wicked ROS. . .and that was just those two points). As Federer said: that match got pretty complicated.
One of the reasons today’s SF v Goffin was so much more one-sided was the flight of the ball from Goffin’s racket, not to mention his court positioning. Mannarino played a much more aggressive style, up on the BL and much flatter, difficult groundies. The Mannarino match was frantic and Federer, quite frankly, had to be almost lucky, as I’ve said now a couple of times, to get through that. Goffin is further back and his ball spins and sits-up so much more.
And regardless of the opponent or the style, if Federer is getting a good look and crack with the FH, especially, he’s blistering the ball. I don’t see Del Potro moving well enough tomorrow to beat Federer, unless, as Tracy Austin said earlier today, Juan’s first serve is up around 70%. He’s mashing the serve right now, and he has the ability to stay calm and cool in such an environment that enables players to stick-around and perhaps make a little magic, even against Federer in Basel (which Juan has done before, obviously).
But I think to exchange with Roger point to point, he will be tested big-time and if he is at all compromised physically. . . Federer prevails in straights.
The only reason I say straights is I think Federer is a bit annoyed and perhaps wants to make a case – against Del Potro, and for the outside shot he has at #1. According to Annacone, he’s more nervous in Basel than he is at any other venue throughout the year. So, this might make him even more touchy and a bit rude, to go with the annoying excuse-machine he might perceive across the net tomorrow.
If Del Potro prevails, and we know he can, this is yet another reason why he’s anything but a clumsy, BL grinder; never heard that one.
To beat Federer, you have to have a bit of class. The tall drink of water that is Juan Del Potro is, indeed, a tall glass of class.