The FederPotro Saga and Tsonga

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.

us-open-2526739w620On 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.

8 comments

  1. I agree with you Matt that the flight of the ball from Goffin’s racquet has something to do with Federer having a bit less problems with Goffin’s game than with Mannarino’s game, but that’s only part of the reasons imo.
    The irony however is that Goffin’s game poses big problems for Mannarino : Mannarino’s H2H against Goffin is 0-3, and he lost those 3 matches in straight sets all on HC, 2 on an indoor HC and 1 on an outdoor hard court ( Tokyo 2017 final ; Basel 2015 R16 and Marseille 2012 R32).
    So imo Federer should acknowledge that his match against Mannarino also got complicated because he made too many unneccary errors against Mannarino which he didn’t make against Goffin. Particularly on the FH side Roger made some wild FH unforced errors against Mannarino, which I couldn’t believe when watching that match live.
    I think Federer was simply playing at a higher level against Goffin than he did against Mannarino, for whatever reason this may have been.
    Goffin’s court position was probably enforced by Federer’s higher level of game, and him having a slightly bigger swing than Mannarino in striking his FH.
    If Federer plays against Del Potro at the level he showed against Goffin, he’ll win against Del Potro. If he plays against Del Potro like he did against Mannarino, he’ll lose from Juan Martin.

    1. He looked off vs Mannarino, but the lefty had him under stress from the first point.
      Tennis, like so many things, is a matter of match ups, for sure.

      I agree with you about the final, too. But Fed should win. And I want to say a victory going away.

  2. I’m closely following the race to London at the moment…
    Their are 5 contenders for the two remaining spots to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.
    The ‘live’ Emirates ATP rankings Race for these 5 players are at the moment :
    1.Goffin 2895 points
    2.Pablo Carreno Busta 2615 points
    3.Sam Querrey 2535
    4.Kevin Anderson 2480
    5.Del Potro 2425
    6. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2320
    As you can deduce from this summary, Del Potro is currently 190 points behind Pablo Carreno Busta (2615 – 2425 = 190) in the virtual Emirates ATP Race to London.
    If he wins today in Basel against Federer, his total Race points will go up to 2625 points, enough to narrowly leapfrog P. Carreno Busta in that Race, and virtually be qualifying for London.
    However if Delpo loses from Federer in the Basel final today, he’ll have to make up arrears in Paris, and make there at least the SF’s, within a difficult section of that draw (facing potentially 2 top 10 players on his road to the semi finals with A.Zverev and G.Dimitrov in his quarter of the draw).
    That’s a tough road for Delpo, but not impossible.
    As for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, like I expected he’s in Goffin’s section of the Paris draw, and if both players win their R32, they’ll face each other in the third round in Paris, a match which I’m looking forward at.
    If Tsonga wins Vienna, his race points will rise to 2520 points, which would leave him still 95 points behind Carreno Busta in the Emirates ATP RAnkings Race to London.
    Conclusion : in the best case scenario Tsonga still needs to make at least the QF’s in Paris if he wants to have any chance to qualify for London.

    1. Great stuff. I think this Basel final is massive. Will certainly share my thoughts afterwards.

      Thanks as always, Wilfried.

  3. The tennis gods have decreed that Argentinus Gigantus Classus will prevail in 3 sets. If not, then there will be hell to pay!

    1. Ha ha. Thought for a minute You were calling him Santa Classus.

      He has a lot on the match. He better prevail, mainly because the crazed King called it and him Santa Classus, like an early Christmas present — ho ho ho.

      Ah, but how festive is Federer?

  4. The quality was up-and-down, but the highs were dizzying – and the drama?! Easily one of the best matches of the year.

What say you?