After a week that started with the crowning of Rafael Nadal’s comeback with the ultimate prize – the No.1 ranking, we are now looking at possibly a future ATP No.1, Juan Martin Delpotro. Delpotro lit up the Shanghai stadium yesterday with some of the most audacious shot-making you will see on a tennis court. The scoreline of 6-2 6-4 against the No.1 player should tell you everything. Even if that does not do it, please take a look at this highlights reel where Delpotro made one of the legends in our wonderful sport, look like a club player.
How ridiculous was that? Forehand after forehand were launched with the ferocity of a tiger tracking down its prey. Nadal did everything he could but this towering terrifying player from Tandil, Argentina put up a tennis clinic that is up there with the very best performances in our sport. If I may jog your memory a bit, think about Roger Federer scorching the grass at Halle or Rafael Nadal piling up a storm at Monte Carlo or Novak Djokovic pounding away on the hard-courts. Delpotro’s performance deserve to be mentioned in that list. Well Done Delpotro
The challenge for Delpotro today can be boiled down to 2 words. Novak Djokovic. As wonderful as Delpotro is playing, as a tennis analyst you cannot ignore the ease with which Djokovic has been knocking down his opponents since that tough loss in New York. We can safely say Djokovic is back and hungry for more. Yes he has had the odd hiccups – notably against Fernando Verdasco in Beijing and Gael Monfils in Shanghai, but for the most part his game has been downright scary! If recent past is anything to go by, these 2 modern day gladiators are going to serve up an epic contest for us to feast on as we start this sports-packed weekend.
This year, they have already served up two classics – semi-finals in Indian Wells Masters which Delpotro prevalied in 3 and that titanic semi-final in Wimbledon which Nole edged in 5. Let us hope these two bring their very best games and serve up a finale that is fitting enough for this exciting Asian swing. I predicted Novak Djokovic taking down Delpotro in 3 at the beginning of the tournament and though Delpotro’s epic performance is making me rethink my pick, I will stick to my original call. Surely Lightning cannot strike twice, yes?
Match begins at 4:30am New York Time.
Prediction: Nole to continue his impressive Asian swing [19matches in a row in the biggest continent on Earth] with a 3 set win over the No.1 in making Juan Martin Delpotro