• Del Potro downs Djokovic, Nadal next

    3/17/13 2:48 AM | Kelli DeMario
    Del Potro downs Djokovic, Nadal next World No. 7 Juan Martin Del Potro is through to his first championship final at the BNP Paribas Open, having rallied to defeat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic late Saturday. The Argentine will take on Rafael Nadal for the title.

    Juan Martin Del Potro advanced to the final match of the tournament after ousting Novak Djokovic in three sets. The 25-year-old Argentine struck 25 winners en route to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory in two hours and 50 minutes.

    "I was doing a very good match until the third set, but Novak had the chance to beat me when I was down 3-Love," Del Potro explained. "But I came back soon and that gave me a little confidence to come back in that set. Then also the crowd wanted to watch more tennis and (they) helped me to play my best tennis in the end. I think it was my best match in this tournament, for sure."

    With the match level at a set apiece, Djokovic took a 3-0 advantage in the final set. Del Potro fought back to reach 3-3 before holding a key break point at 4-4. The Argentine went ahead 5-4, capitalizing on a costly backhand miss from the world No. 1. Match point came quickly for Del Potro, who ended the match with his fourth ace of the day.

    "All the credit to my opponent today," assessed Djokovic, who had a 22-match win streak snapped Saturday afternoon. "He deserved to win because he was more composed in the important moments and he played the right shots. He stepped into the court, where, on the other side, I made a lot of unforced errors and was at the back of the court (and was) too passive."

    The World No. 7 completed the semifinal effort with five of 12 break points converted.

    He is through to take on world No. 5 Rafael Nadal in Sunday's title match. The Spaniard upended 6th seed Tomas Berdych in the semifinals, 6-4, 7-5.

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Yahoo!!!! You go, Rafa!!!!

No excuses!! Delpo has a sore wrist and Rafa has sore knees!!!! War of the walking wounded!!!

Rafa, beware of that slice!!!


Monalysa , 3/17/13 2:59 AM

great win for delpo. two big scalps in just two days. he should gain lots of confidence for the rest of the season.

rfzr , 3/17/13 3:03 AM

I don't care which of these two win, because they are both winners having made it this far. I just hope for a very good 3 set match.

Delpo in 3.

aegis , 3/17/13 6:15 AM

What happened to Hard court specialist?

venkianz , 3/17/13 6:41 AM

Feeling better about Andy's loss now....but not a lot :(
All down to Rafa now come on!

deuce , 3/17/13 7:09 AM

#Vamos Come back kid

nadline , 3/17/13 10:28 AM

Touchee. Exactly the same thought crossed my mind during the third set last night.

It was a bit easier to understand why Andy lost. But the bottom line is that he was simply not sharp enough to deal with a Del Boy who was in his zone. I hope it was simply a question of Andy not being match sharp. Hope he can redeem himself in Miami.

ed251137 , 3/17/13 10:29 AM

I'm glad that someone stopped Djoko's run, even it wasn't Rafa.
I also hope that the final isn't hindered on either side by injury.
Great for Del Potro to be back in shape and for Rafa's return to hc. Couldn't have asked for anything better :D

Shireling , 3/17/13 10:54 AM

Ah but ed weboth know, the path of true love for fans of AM never did run smooth....;)
Anyway, back to Rafa, hoping he's fighting fit tonight. At least nadline and I share one thing...our dislike of "giants." LOl probably more than just one.

deuce , 3/17/13 11:07 AM

Yea, I always root against giants and anyone but, of course, this giant is playing against my boy so he is in the doghouse already.

I was hoping for a Rafa vs Nole final because I was sure Rafa would take him out and what a story that would have been for the Come Back Kid to take out the #s 1 & 2 in his first h/c tournament after 7 months.

All the talk of another Djokovic winning streak was doing my head in because I think his form has regressed and had Baby Fed had more steel, he would have taken him out in the 2nd round.

#Vamos Come Back Kid

nadline , 3/17/13 11:26 AM

'I always root against giants against anyone ....'

nadline , 3/17/13 11:28 AM

Rafa has a different strategy for different opponents, that's why it takes him a while to figure out a player he is meeting for the first time. He's played every single one of his opponents here very differently so Delpo won't be able to learn anything from his match with Berdych, or Federer or Harrison.

nadline , 3/17/13 11:34 AM

^^^ I've to agree with that. Against Berdych, Rafa returned serve from further away from the baseline and took big swipe at the ball ( as per Tignor, that's because Rafa knew Berdych couldn't handle those topspin balls flying back at him). Against Harrison, Rafa wasn't standing so far behind the baseline to return serves.

I know Rafa is able to handle those low CC slices that Delpo may hit at him, something that troubled both Murray and Nole. Notice that Fed's slices could trouble all the players except against Rafa, as Rafa's shots are different from those of the other players. I don't see Delpo's backhand slices any better than Fed's. Rafa is really smart enough to make any changes to his game plans during matches, I'm sure after watching how Delpo plays here, he'll already have something in mind.

luckystar , 3/17/13 12:00 PM

One dimensional clay court specialist, my arse!!!

@ aegis, 3/17/13 6:15 AM...............i couldnt agree with you more!!!!

However, someone has to stop Delboy!! great if it were Rafa..................boy what a story!!!!.......................come back kid indeed!!!!!

Monalysa , 3/17/13 12:42 PM

Every one eagerly awaiting to see how Rafa hanldes Delboy........................Rafa show them how its done!!!!!


Monalysa , 3/17/13 12:45 PM

Delpo already said in his presser hes not sure if hell use the slice against Rafa :-)

sanju , 3/17/13 12:55 PM

Yeah, I hope he doenst think Rafa believes that!!! And why do they give away their game strategy in the pressors?! Why show your hand?!

Monalysa , 3/17/13 1:14 PM

venkianz: beijing, shanghai, wtf, melburn, dubai. once in a while you are bound to lose.

iw is a very slow high bouncing court more suitable for ccs.

rfzr , 3/17/13 11:08 PM

delpotro is not a claty court specialist dumb brain ! LOL ...

vamosrafa , 3/18/13 1:42 AM

agree, that's why he lost.

rfzr , 3/18/13 3:59 PM

But he beats two of the best HC players on their favorite surface!

luckystar , 3/18/13 4:09 PM

And not forgetting one of them had won it twice, in 2008 and 2011, the other being to the Final in 2009.

luckystar , 3/18/13 4:11 PM

once in a while you are bound to lose.
, 3/17/13 11:08 PM

When a quality players (nadal, del, murry etc) are fit, once in while become regular

venkianz , 3/18/13 5:14 PM

iw is a very slow high bouncing court more suitable for ccs.
, 3/17/13 11:08 PM

hmm..mean he is fast hard court specialist?
and by the way when delpo become CCS?

venkianz , 3/18/13 5:29 PM

what's your point? That Nole will loose on a regular basis from Rafa, DelPo, Andy in some imaginary time "when" they are fit? That he is NOT a quality player?! That all the times they lost to him they were unfit and he was fit?! Only a totally ignorant and biased person, someone with some personal agenda (you probably don't like Nole's shirt) can say such a thing. In the last 22 matches he played, befor the loss to DelPo, he won 14 against the top 10 guys, 11 against the top 8. Tsonga, DelPo, Murray were beaten two times, Berdych three times, Federer in the WTF filans... Look at the head to head statistics - for all these years he was always fit and they were always ailing?! The only to guys that have a better H2H are Roger and Rafa.

How about you stop hating and start enjoying tennis for the game it is as well as acknowledge the quality where there is one.

danica , 3/18/13 8:26 PM

danica: it's not worth engaging with somebody with a warped agenda. There are too many people floating around on the forums whose only purpose is to pick fights with genuine fans who want to discuss the ups and downs of tennis and their favourite player(s). For the life of me I cant think why.

Nole did seem a little lack lustre last week but nobody can maintain the same level of intensity week in and week out - particularly when they have the added pressure of expectation which comes with being No.1.

I just hope none of the players get to read the garbage that is spewed out when somebody has a grudge against them.

ed251137 , 3/18/13 9:32 PM

you are absolutely right. After I posted this, I was laughing at myself for falling into a trap of this obvious provocation. No one wins a GS, let alone multiple times if s/he is a lousy player. I understand that people don't like certain players, Nole is among them, but their results speak for themselves and should be respected.

danica , 3/18/13 10:36 PM

^^ All the top 4 were fit in 2011. Nole was playing at an unprecedented level, with a crazy amount of belief. Whatever anyone says, that season will stand the test of time so I don't think we need to worry too much.

Nole was off colour last week but he was quite close to his best for the first two sets of that match. His stats were better than Del Potro's in the second set. Therefore, I think we have to credit Del Potro for what he achieved. Very rarely do you get two players playing at their absolute best in a tennis match against each other (I can only think of Safin vs Federer in 2005, or Sampras vs Agassi 2001); and Del Potro has shown repeatedly that his best can be best in the world at any given moment. Nothing for Nole to be ashamed of.

samprallica , 3/19/13 7:55 AM

They're all fit but not necessarily playing at their best level; just like in 2008 Fed had his mono; in 2009 Rafa was injured; in 2010 the top guys were not at their very best too. Even in 2012, for a short period, Fed also took advantage of Nole's slight drop in level to recapture the no.1 ranking albeit for only 17 weeks. It's fair to say that when the top guy (s) level drops, others waiting in line would take advantage.

I do agree that Nole was playing well during the IW SF,may not be his best level but still difficult to beat, so credit has to be given to Delpo, after all, Delpo also had a tough time beating Murray the day before.

PS. As a Rafa fan, I can't help but to mention that AO 2009 SF and Wimbledon 2007 are two matches where both players played well at the same time and throughout five long sets. Impressive!

luckystar , 3/19/13 8:24 AM

2011 season by Nole is probably the best season ever by any player

atul1985 , 3/19/13 8:28 AM

lucky, your point demonstrates that 2011 shouldn't have a parentheses anyway. Nadal would have had a terrific season in 2011 if Nole was even at his level during the start of 2008.

"As a Rafa fan, I can't help but to mention that AO 2009 SF and Wimbledon 2007 are two matches where both players played well at the same time and throughout five long sets. Impressive!"

I forgot AO 2009, that definitely deserves to be up there; possibly more impressive than the other 2 given the physical nature of the match. I'm not sure about Wimbledon 2007, I felt Rafa choked that one away in the end.

samprallica , 3/19/13 8:42 AM

Not taking anything away from Nole in 2011. Had Nole not being the v2 that he was in 2011, probably Fed would be Rafa's main rival in 2011. Fed wasn't doing badly in 2011; if not for Nole, Fed might be the one winning AO2011, Dubai, and then tough it out with Rafa at IW/Miami. And if Nole v2 didn't appear, Rafa might have won Wimbledon in 2011 too, and we might have a Fedal final at USO in the same year! So, I'm not sure Rafa would have it easy in 2011 even without the Nole v2 there.

luckystar , 3/19/13 8:59 AM

"and Del Potro has shown repeatedly that his best can be best in the world at any given moment. Nothing for Nole to be ashamed of..."

if Delpotro had beaten nadal in the final (which he had a chance to in the 2nd) then i think we could say without a doubt who the next member of the top 4 was going to be once federer finally walked off into the sunset. But Murray was only playing his 4th match since the AO final and was clearly not match fit and Novak was nowhere near his best, i think it will be a lot harder for juan to make another masters final this side of the US Open. Still I was really impressed by him, something of a pity that he couldn't close it out in 2 i think.

Twinge , 3/19/13 12:57 PM

^^^ That has something to do with Rafa, obviously. Rafa changed strategy mid way once he was almost down and out in the second set. Delpo's level won't just go down suddenly when he's ahead and seeing the finishing line is not far away.

luckystar , 3/19/13 1:10 PM

Rafa's progress has been rather spectacular and has surprised me somewhat for sure, although in retrospect and as Cheryl Muzzlington points out precisely, its not all that surprising really. It just needed a bit of luck as the extra ingredient in the planning mix, which it got.
And yes Rafa as only he (& Muzz) can do, changed the rules of the game midway too.
Anyhoo Delpo will have to wait quite some time for his first Masters yet as Murray and Novak will be back at full tilt come Miami.
Which is a shame as clearly he deserves many.
Odd also that he has already had a slam title for over 3 years now.

Twinge , 3/19/13 1:23 PM

Twinge, don't you ever give up?..........You are the King of jam tomorrow. You are so good at stating your aspirations as fact. On what grounds are you so sure that it would be much harder for Delpo to make another M1000 final this side of the USO?

It's time you stop believing the notion that Nole and Muzz are better than Rafa because the evidence is to the contrary. Rafa came back after 7 months of not lifting a tennis racquet in competition and almost a year of not playing on h/c and wins a h/c title in a field that not only included Nole and Muzz but he beat the guy who beat both of them in the Qtrs and SF.

nadline , 3/19/13 1:37 PM

Nadal beat the guy who HAD to beat both of them.
6 sets in total.
When he had the easier route.
To have beaten Murray Novak and then Nadal 3 days on the trot would have been unprecedented.
Nadal had already been in 3 finals prior to IW so he was ready enough.
Or do you now think that Delpotro is better than Novak & Andy ergo Nadal beating him makes him better than everyone?
Is that the thought process here? lol
I shouldn't be surprised of course, its just about right from you I think.
Oh and I already explained my grounds for believing this, Delpotro took on a soft Murray and an underperforming Novak. It's unlikely to be the same in Miami, however much you hope it is.
Furthermore Andy made the final of Miami last year after been knocked out in his 1st match in IW..
These are my grounds Einstein, anything else?

Twinge , 3/19/13 1:51 PM

^^^History doesn't always repeat itself. Tennis is not an exact science. Some of the top players can beat each other on any day on any surface, some are more or less likely to do so than others, but no one can be absolutely sure that any of them will beat the other on a particular day.

If it was so clear cut, the bookies would go out of business.

nadline , 3/19/13 2:02 PM

Oh behave,
You're not telling me anything. If i where predicting that Nadal was to clean up in every tournament he played in, I wouldn't be hearing a peep from you.
Here's some advice, don't take me so seriously and then you won't get so upset about what I say all the time.
And I would be less bored by your predictability all the time (win win)!
Oh and science is not an exact science either, its called inductive reasoning that is all. But some conclusions are firmer than others when they are based on better evidence no?
And in this case my evidence is better :)

Twinge , 3/19/13 2:11 PM

Me upset? Na. I've got a lot to smile about atm.

#Rafa's aura is in the building.

nadline , 3/19/13 2:16 PM

^^Well, it doesn't take a whole lot to shake its foundations in your eyes that's for sure.
But don't let me get in the way of all that ;)

Twinge , 3/19/13 2:17 PM

It always irks me when people come out with all their garbage about how Rafa was lucky to win this IW when before most were not even expecting him to past the 2nd round against Gulbis!!! Each time Rafs beats his opponent they continue to push the goal post......pathetic!! Now that Rafa's won, he had an easy draw.........Federer had a bad back, Delpo paved the way for him, and Delpo was tired!! Im just so sick of it!!!

To begin with:

Rafa beat a hot Gulbis on a match winning streak........period!

Even if Federer did not have a bad back, I believe Rafa still would have beaten him, Berdych had just beaten Federer the previous week, and Rafa beat Berdych too!!!....and since when is Federer ever a shoe in to beat Rafa?!!!.....even on hc!!!

Who is to say that Murray would have beaten Rafa? If it is fine to say that Murray was not in form and thats why Delpo beat him, would it then not been expected for Rafa to beat Murray considering the H2H between them, even if its on h/c?

Why would it be a foregone conclusion for Novak to beat Rafa had Delpo not beaten him? At RG in 2011 when Fed beat Novak and Rafa went on to win RG the same thing was said, that Novak would have beaten Rafa . But the following year when they met in the finals, Rafa still beat Novak!!! (oh, i forget, the rain helped Rafa!!). So who is to say what the outcome of the IW match would have been?

Just accept it, Rafa won IW fair and square. Its not his fault that Murray and Novak were not good enough to beat Delpo and Rafa was!! And the notion that Delpo was out of gas is just so much of the same crap!!!! Rafa beat Fed in a five set match after an extended five hour marathon with Verdasco at the AO.................Novak did the same against Rafa at the US Open; why should Delpo run out of gas after playing a three set match with Novak, and lets not forget he had a day off after his match with Murray!!! Its not Rafa's fault he is not fit enough!!!!!

From the time Rafa won his first GS in 2005, his wins have been diminished some how or the other due the following:

The rain
The wind
The sun
The darkness
On court coaching
Federer's back
A player failing to win his right play Rafa
A player's injury
A player's lack of fitness
A player's lack of form
A players loss in conetration
Not player's fav just never ends!!

However, all these excuses, if ands or buts, will certianly NOT get in the way of Rafa's clean sweep of the clay season regardless of who he meets on the other side of the court!!!..................they rarely ever do!!!


Monalysa , 3/19/13 6:08 PM

But Monalysa whenever Andy wins anything significant I've read all manner of the same kind of excuses from his opponent's fans or who just seem to "hate" Andy
eg Andy only beat Bird at USOpen cos it was windy, blah, blah etc etc
It's human nature m'dear.

deuce , 3/19/13 6:24 PM

^^Are you quite finished?
I mean I think you might have missed a point or 2 but next time perhaps you really shouldn't hold back as its not as if you are ranting is it?

Twinge , 3/19/13 6:25 PM

Rafa came, he saw and he conquered.

#Simply the best
#Come Back GOAT

nadline , 3/19/13 6:47 PM

^^I thought we didn't believe in `GOAT` Nadline?

Twinge , 3/19/13 6:54 PM

I don't believe in a GOAT, per se, but you have to admit that Rafa is the GOAT of Comebacks. If you can think of a better comeback in the history of tennis, I'd be glad to hear it.

#Simply the best

nadline , 3/19/13 7:15 PM

No Twinge, Im not...........................there are a lot more, as you well know!!

Monalysa , 3/19/13 7:30 PM

^^I don't either unless the stats are truly outrageous so with that in mind i have to say that Rafa is the Clay Court Goat.
As for comebacks, weeeelllll Kim Clijsters is the one that sticks in the mind for me,
I would say (although i wasn't around to watch it that Agassi's return was the other on the mens side as he had fallen so far).
Rafa's was pretty darn good too however.

Twinge , 3/19/13 7:30 PM

Monica Seles had a pretty impressive come back bearing in mind she was a victim of an attempted murder. Had she been left to play and evolve as a player, she could've possibly become the best female tennis player ever.

danica , 3/19/13 7:37 PM

^^Thought about her too, but lets face it just coming back after a traumatic knifing is not the same as coming back and triumphing.
She was never the same afterwards.
Very sad, although her shrieking was horrendous!

Twinge , 3/19/13 7:53 PM

What about Serena coming back from a long lay off, overweight, and winning the FO a few years back?!

Monalysa , 3/19/13 8:13 PM

Yes, her shrieking was terrible :). However, she won convincingly the first tournament when she came back and then reached the finals of the USO which she lost in a three set battle.
Serena is impressive too.

danica , 3/19/13 8:21 PM

Serena came back ranked 81 and won the AO.

Such a comeback has not been known on the men's tour though. To win a M1000 tournament not having played on the surface for nearly a year is awesome.

nadline , 3/19/13 8:57 PM

It is. Hats off!

danica , 3/20/13 12:41 AM

samprallica , 3/19/13 7:55 AM
They were not all fit in 2011.
Rafa was attacked by a virus, suffered hamstring injury at AO, took Feb off, came back not so match fit and lost To Nole at IW and Miami. This bolstered Nole's confidence without doing anything for Rafa.
His game at Monte Carlo wasn't up to his usual level. This was exposed by Nole at Rome and Madrid where Nole won because Rafa's level had dropped. This was all the more evident at RG where Rafa uncharacteristically struggled from round 1.
At Wimbledon he suffered a scary foot pain when playing against Delpo and this definitely impaired his movement allowing Nole to win.
I am convinced Rafa was not fit even thereafter as he suffered cramps at USO '11, then heard an ominous creak at AO '12.
Rafa being Rafa, played through his injuries till it became so bad that he could be defeated by a nobody like Rosol.
In short, nobody defeats a fit Rafa.

holdserve , 3/20/13 3:13 AM

^^ Everybody has dips in form and niggles - Nole had taping on his knee throughout his stellar run. Nadal was not injured and that is FACT.

The foot pain revealed nothing, the MRI showed absolutely NOTHING was wrong.

There are enough people who have beaten a fit Rafa, and he will be beaten when fit again.

samprallica , 3/21/13 9:08 AM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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