Giving tennis more than a shot

There Was Drama, But No Surprises

 

Due to the rain, most matches scheduled on Sunday did not take place, or were suspended until today, which gave a full program of tennis to go through. Mother Nature complying, it was sunny all day and almost all the matches were completed, with the exception of a few doubles matches that were suspended midway due to darkness.

 

If there were some matches with quite a bit of drama, in both singles and doubles, there were no real surprises, except perhaps one men’s doubles win.

 

Federer in sprint mode

After the little fright he had in the first round, and knowing he was facing an opponent who nearly took him out of Wimbledon a few weeks ago, most of us were anticipating this second round meeting between Roger Federer and Julien Benneteau.

 

Roger Federer took only 58 minutes to get the better of Julien Benneteau (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Finally, we were treated to a Roger Federer in sprint mode, as he took only 58 minutes to dispatch the Frenchman, 6-2 6-2, never even conceding a break point to his opponent and converting 4 of the 8 break points he had.

 

However, it was also clear from the start that on top of the World no 1 playing great tennis, Benneteau wasn’t feeling all too well, seeming to suffer from a groin injury, something he confirmed after the match. Suffering from pubalgia, it’s possible that he may have to withdraw from the doubles. He will re-evaluate tomorrow whether he continues on, as he and Richard Gasquet are scheduled to face seventh seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna from India.

 

As for Roger Federer, he will face Denis Istomin, who battled for 2:37 to defeat Gilles Muller, 6-7(4) 7-6(3) 7-5.

 

First win as a top 10 player

For me, one of the highlights of the day was Juan Mónaco of Argentina logging his first win as a top 10 player when he defeated young David Goffin 6-4 6-1.

 

It was not, at times, his most brilliant match. After all, it was on grass and grass is not his best surface (by far). Pico did not serve his best, but neither did the young Belgian. On the other hand, both returned particularly well, which made the match even more interesting to watch, particularly in the first set.

 

By defeating David Goffin in the first round of the Olympics, Juan Mónaco logged his first win as a top 10 player (Photo: Martin Bernetti/AFP/GettyImages)

In the second set, a challenge granted Mónaco by the umpire, Alison Lang, seemed to make Goffin completely lose his focus, as the Argentine held and then quickly broke the Belgian, a break he would double in the sixth game to serve out the match, successfully.

 

To be fair, Goffin was right to argue the umpire’s call in that instance, as Mónaco had, indeed, played the ball (which landed out) before asking for a review of Goffin’s shot (called good, but which was a millimetre out). Alison Lang just got the wrong call on the matter and Mónaco is not to blame for having tried (and being granted).

 

Nevertheless, I don’t think it would have changed much in the outcome of the match, as Mónaco was more and more confident as it went on. 

 

A strong win in the end for the Argentine, who will face Feliciano López tomorrow.

 

Marathon Man Feli

I joke a little but that is exactly what happened to Spaniard Feliciano López, who ended up playing not one, but two highly-disputed matches that went beyond the limit in the third set.

 

Feliciano López played two intense matches, first in singles, then in doubles, spending more than 4½ hours on court (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

First, in singles, he came back from a set deficit to outlast Russian Dmitry Tursunov 6-7(5) 6-2 9-7 in 2:16.

 

Then, in doubles with David Ferrer, they reached the quarter-finals by defeating Jürgen Melzer and Alexander Peya of Austria 6-3 3-6 11-9 in 2:19, which means the Spaniards are at one win of being within the medal round. To me, that is the only surprise of the day, as, like I mentioned a couple of days ago, Ferrer is not known for his doubles skills.

 

Nevertheless, it was a pretty big day for Feliciano López, who spent a total of 4:35 on court and plays the third match after 11:30 local on Court 18 tomorrow. However, I still believe that due to the surface, he starts as a slight favourite, despite the fatigue that he might (logically) feel, against Juan Mónaco.

 

Not his best day, but a good win for del Potro

Juan Martín del Potro was playing his second-round match against Italy’s Andreas Seppi, who is a quite decent grass court player.

 

The Argentine really did not start the match well, as he was broken at his first service game. He broke right back, but then had to save no less than six break points to hold serve for the first time in the match.

 

It was not necessarily his best day at the office, but Juan Martín del Potro is through to the round-of-16 in London (Photo: Luis Acosta/AFP/GettyImages)

In fact, the beginning of the match was pretty catastrophic as far as Delpo’s serve was concerned. However, if it got better after that long and difficult second game, the same cannot be said for his famous forehand, which was off for the whole match and which is the side where most of his 21 unforced errors came from.

 

Nevertheless, his backhand was pretty reliable, which helped him to get out of quite a few tricky situations, whether it was his precise two-hander or his slice.

 

In the end, the no 8 seed clinched a 6-3 7-6(2) win over the Italian and will face Frenchman Gilles Simon in the round-of-16. Simon had the better of Grigor Dimitrov, 6-3 6-3. 

 

I expect a pretty tough match, especially if Delpo plays like he did today. Hopefully the forehand comes back for this match, as he will need his choice weapon to get the better of the always tricky Frenchman.

 

Good start for the Canadians

Three matches involving Canadians were played today, and the three were good wins.

 

First, Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, QC, defeated Marina Erakovic of New Zealand, 6-2 6-1. Wozniak will face Venus Williams on Centre Court tomorrow morning.

 

Not very long after, Milos Raonic (photo) had the better of Japan’s Tatsuma Ito, 6-3 6-4, thus setting up a meeting with the no 5 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. This match will be at the same time as Wozniak’s, on Court 1.

 

Milos Raonic made short work of Tatsuma Ito to set up a meeting with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Finally, we were treated to a great performance by our men’s doubles team, as Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil defeated the Romanian pair of Horia Tecau and Adrian Ungur, 6-3 7-6(9). What may have surprised the most, for some, was how solid 22-year-old Pospisil was throughout all the match.

 

Generally impeccable at the service line, Pospisil once more shone by his volleying skills, as well as his mental solidity. Paired with such an experienced veteran as Nestor, it makes for a very good team, and like they showed in some past Davis Cup ties, it was again the same.

 

Indeed, there were sometimes little problems of miscommunication, but nothing big and nothing of consequence.

 

The Canadian duo will face a very difficult team tomorrow, as they will meet the third seeds, Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia, not before 14:00 local on Court 17. It should be a very tough but entertaining match.

 

Hopefully, the rain forecast will change to no rain so all the matches will be played tomorrow.

 

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