Friday, April 3, 2009

Miami Watch: What a vengeful day - Del Potro axes Nadal from quarters

Well, Rafael Nadal finally proved to us all that he is in fact, just human, as he fell short against Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, in the Miami quarterfinals on Thursday. Rafa was completely out of steam, out of sorts, out of everything I can think of as he allowed Del Potro to move him from one side of the court to the other, surrendering a 3-0 (double break) lead in the third set to crash out of Miami.

Sixth-seeded Del Potro was far more focused than we have seen him in a long time, as he finally shrugged off all names formerly attached to him, from choker to gutless.

The Argentine not only avenged his quarterfinal loss to Nadal at Indian Wells last week, but he also caused the biggest upset of the tournament so far and snapped a 4-match losing streak to Nadal, whom he hadn't won a single set off prior to Thursday.

What particularly amazed me about Del Potro against Nadal was how well he kept pulling off those volleys. For someone who is not a natural volleyer, Del Potro sure had some smooth hands tonight.

Next up for Del Potro is 4th-seeded Andy Murray, who posted a vengeful victory himself over 8th-seeded Fernando Verdasco, who had eliminated Murray from the Aussie Open earlier this season. Murray crushed a struggling Verdasco 6-1, 6-2 and will definitely be a tough rock to crack for Del Potro.

Despite Del Potro's aggressive performance today, I must say am sensing that today was more of a fluke than a turning point for the 20-year-old against top players. Don't get me wrong am a fan of Del Potro and I highly appreciate his game when he's on, but am referring to his ability to overcome top 5 players. Thursday night, Nadal was out of steam and didn't play his game so we're just gonna have to wait and see how well Del Potro is gonna perform against Murray. My guess is: not much! Feel free to rub it in my face later if am wrong :)

"Always I was keeping going and keeping trying... I beat him with my mind and with my game. When we played long points, I was dominating every time, so that was the key of the last set, of the tie-break. I served very good, and with my forehand with big confidence."

"To beat Rafa, you have to be in good shape and every part of your game, and today I did a great job. I played unbelievable. I beat the No. 1 of the world."

“I didn't came back very strong... He started to make a lot of mistakes; I think I played really badly all the time. That's the truth of the match. Later when I have 3-0 in the third set I played worse. It was an amazing disaster. I think he didn't play an unbelievable match, but I didn't play on my best level today."

“But anyway, I want to congratulate for my team and Del Potro. He started the season playing well. It's a good win for him. Yeah, congratulate him."

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