Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Delpo beats Dimitrov in Rome

The opening round matches in the Italian Open have commenced and while no massive upsets have yet occurred, there have been some highlights which should be recounted.
Juan Martin del Potro has returned to the court with a message to all players - he intends to cause trouble.  His first victim was Bulgarian 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov.

Dimitrov began 2017 in tip top form but has fallen away somewhat recently.  Not so on the opening set, where his ability to win points on both first and second serves pressured the Argentine into problems with a first serve percentage of only 49%.
A single break was sufficient for Dimitrov to parcel up set one 6-3.

del Potro lifted his game significantly in the next two sets  - he only faced one break point in set two (which Dimitrov converted) but he slaughtered the Bulgarian serve, setting up seven break points.  6-2 was the final score, levelling the match and carrying loads of momentum into the decider.

To his credit Dimitrov revived his fortunes in set three, and the contest was as even as could be until an unwelcome double fault in the seventh game led to a break of the 10th seeds serve.
del Potro held serve for the rest of the encounter, to extend his head to head record against Dimitrov to 5-0, this victory the first on clay.

Ninth seed David Goffin has been playing some great tennis but even he struggled for much of his match against lucky loser in qualifying Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.
Bellucci won a close tie breaker in set one, but Goffin levelled with a second set win.
The decider went with serve until the very last point of the very last game, where on the first break point provided to Goffin, the Belgian eagerly gobbled it up for a 6-7 7-3 6-4 entry into round two.

The other men's seed to depart immediately was 11th seed Lucas Pouille, at the hands of American Sam Querrey.

On the women's side, Maria Sharapova, while not completely at peace with her game, had too much for Christina McHale in a match lasting just two sets.
The biggest upset was the exit door shown 11th seed Elena Vesnina by qualifier Qiang Wang 6-2 6-4.

12th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and 16th seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni were stretched to three sets by Samantha Stosur and Lucie Safarova respectively.
The battles lasted in each case over two hours, and all four showed enough to be hopeful of a decent showing at Roland Garros. (Draw the key of course).

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