It’s a bit of a slower week for most of us after the emotions of another great Davis Cup weekend (about which you can read my series of summaries here: part 1 (Spain and USA), part 2 (Argentina), and part 3 (Czech Republic)). Nevertheless, there are still good tournaments to follow in the ATP250 events of Houston and Casablanca, as well as four ATP Challenger events and quite a few Futures.
Monday, it’s in Houston that my focus was turned, as a player reached an important milestone. Facing crowd favourite James Blake, again on the comeback trail after a series of knee issues, Argentine Carlos Berlocq took the court in search of his 50th career win.
It was not an easy match for either player, as Blake was clearly lacking court feel after a lengthy absence and Berlocq is still recovering from some knee issues of his own, which he sustained in Miami.
Nevertheless, it was a great match to follow, as the Chascomus native logged this important win, 6-4 2-6 6-1. Blake fought a might fight, as we know he always does, but in the end, his serve gave up on him and Berlocq’s aggressive play did the rest.
Today, Berlocq reached the quarter-finals of the Men’s Clay Court Championships by taking Bjorn Phau to the woodshed, to paraphrase Brad Gilbert, 6-1 6-0 in just an hour.
Congratulations on the milestone, Charly! Let’s go for 50 more!
This is a Spanish word that I really like. It means, basically, fighting spirit. And that’s often a trait you’ll find in the players I like most, and in most players I like and/or admire. That’s the trait I admire in Rafael Nadal, for instance, but that’s also the trait that makes me like players like Charly Berlocq, indeed, but also others like Marco Trungelliti, Agustín Velotti, and many others, as well as in some of my personal favourites, like Juan Mónaco, David Nalbandian, and David Ferrer, to name only these three.
Today, another one of them showed this incredible fighting spirit that characterizes him so well on court. Despite the heartbreaking loss in a long and excruciating tiebreak, I could not help but admire once more the incredible resilience of Guido Pella, who never gave up and fought until the very end on the clay of Pereira, Colombia, only to lose to local Robert Farah, 6-4 7-6(14). Pella saved no less than six match points in the process, often on winners. He would definitely have deserved a better fate. Then again, we know that he will get back even stronger.
I admitted it after the match, and will do here again tonight: if I could only have a little, but even just a little bit, of Pella’s fighting spirit, I’d be happy.