Blake Loses Five-Set Marathon to Del Potro in Oz
by Staff | January 20th, 2010, 9:09 am
  • 70 Comments

Ranked No. 45 and falling, American James Blake made a valiant exit on Wednesday in the second round of the Australian Open, losing a five-set marathon to reigning US Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro.


After almost 4-1/2 hours of effort, Blake was left pondering his hard luck and a 6-4, 6-7(3), 5-7, 6-3, 10-8 loss which leaves him 4-13 in career five-set matches.

“Blake is too fast. He play very strong with his forehand. He never miss easy points, easy forehand,” del Potro lauded his opponent. “It’s very difficult to keep trying, keep going. You have to be focused every point, every time, and try to take your chance. I had my chance in the last set…was tough for him play two days in a row, five-set matches.”

Del Potro, who says he is experiencing some wrist pain, will next face Florian Mayer, who upset No. 29 seed Viktor Troicki.

Other Top 10-ranked results were (2) Rafael Nadal topping Lukas Lacko in straights, (5) Andy Murray defeating Marc Gicquel in straights, and (7) Andy Roddick over Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci in straights.

Nadal says Roger Federer’s No. 1 ranking is not the goal, but winning one match at a time.

“Right now my goal is try to be in the fourth round of the Australian Open. That’s my goal right now,” Nadal said. “To be No. 1 again, that can’t be a goal. It is not possible…if you’re not winning important tournaments, you’re not going to have any chance to be No. 1. My real goal right now is just try to be competitive in every tournament that I gonna play and feel when I go on court I can win against everybody.”

No. 21 seed Tomas Berdych was a surprise loser Wednesday, ducking out in straights to Evgeny Korolev.
 
Unseeded winners of note were Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez over former Oz runner-up Rainer Schuettler in four, Florent Serra outlasting Jarkko Nieminen in five, John Isner over Louk Sorensen in straights.

“I was a little bit tired out there,” said the Auckland winner Isner. “I played a lot of matches in the last eight days or so…I’ve won seven [matches] in a row. I’ve never done that in my career. So this is a first. Having tomorrow off will be real big for me.”

One match remained on court at press time, with (14) Marin Cilic and Aussie Bernard Tomic headed toward a fifth set.

Hightlights on tap for Thursday are (3) Novak Djokovic vs. Marco Chiudinelli, Lleyton Hewitt vs. Donald Young, Marcos Baghdatis vs. (17) David Ferrer, (10) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Taylor Dent, Janko Tipsarevic vs. (18) Tommy Haas, and (30) Juan Monaco vs. French net-rusher Michael Llodra.


Also Check Out:
Blake Bests Harrison For First Win Of Season; Roddick v. Mahut Today In Atlanta
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Blake Bids for Nadal Upset in Shanghai
Roger Federer Wins Epic Olympic Marathon, Will Play For Gold On Sunday; Withdraws From Toronto
Youngsters Raonic, Dimitrov, Tomic Win In Stockholm; Blake Upsets Del Potro

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70 Comments for Blake Loses Five-Set Marathon to Del Potro in Oz

Chris Tennis Says:

Blake had his chances as usual but blow them at the critical points. Again goes back to him not mentally tough enough to win. Blake had some new tactics of coming into the net more, which he could get better at some there are some positives out of this.

Too bad because he has alot of talent but that only gets you so far. Del-Po could end up being tired or hurt due to the long match and he didn’t really play very well and get treats on his side later on in the match.


Kimmi Says:

Was a very tough match for delpo. It could have gone either way..we see again the mental strengh from this guy. Too bad for blake, he gave his all and gone to lose in the end. I hope delpo wrist can hold up. Go delpo.


Rick Says:

Federer is such a hypocrite if he wanted to help the victims. Instead of putting on a charity show for publicity. He could just donate money like Moya did.


Rick Says:

I don’t think Nadal could beats guys in the top 10 these days. That is why I picked Murray to win if they play. And as for Soderling, I was expected that he get beaten early. There are alot of Swedish fans at the Aussie Open. But they can’t really help out. Those Swedish fans were there, when Wilander and Edberg were doing really well at this events.


andrea Says:

blake! another 5 setter disappointment. haven’t had the chance to watch the whole match but sounds like another 5th set thriller.

and dementieva…she’s like the andy murray on the women’s side. lots of hopes at slams and no results. considering she’s worked on her serve, which was once the cream puff of the WTA, and just won brisbane, it really makes you reflect on how henin can come back after almost 2 years away and send her packing in the second round.

too bad henin and clijsters are in the same side of the draw.


jane Says:

“too bad henin and clijsters are in the same side of the draw.” Yep, after watching the highlights of their most recent final, I agree; what a shame there is not at least the potential for a grand slam final between these two.


Ra Says:

I feel for Blake, and I hope he will somehow take positive inspiration from that match rather than be heartbroken by the loss. I was majorly impressed with him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play as well for such a long stretch. He was playing smarter tennis than I’d ever expected to see from him (especially after the last few years of watching what looked a lot like him failing to realize that banging his head against a brick wall was never going to make his head harder than the wall), and he was keeping the lion’s share of even his all out aggressive shots on the court (often on the lines). There was a time in that match where I really believed he was going to pull through and thought to myself, “wow, if he can actually sustain this level of play throughout an entire tournament, he really may win a GS”. On the other hand, considering that his knee was bothering him to the point of causing him to limp even hours before the match ended, it seemed highly unlikely that he’d be able to make it through the next few rounds after such a marathon contest.

Rick, do you somehow know Federer didn’t also make a donation behind the scenes, or are you just making an assumption that conveniently supports your obvious bias? Also, it’s impossible to estimate the influence that such an event can have on the viewing public when there are so many people worldwide who look up to the players involved and can be very inclined to ride the inspiration and take action on their own levels as a result (whereas without that inspiration they might’ve just bowed to the inertia of complacence and a sense of futility). In any case, I can’t imagine how your effort to cast a negative light on a positive contribution could be doing much to help the catastrophe-stricken survivors in their decimated homeland; you are making a mockery of a tragic situation, the extent of which is well beyond comprehension for most of us who are (thankfully and luckily) viewing it from a safe distance.


Tennis Ace Says:

That’s right, Rick. The foundation that Federer runs to help kids in South Africa and several other countries in Africa is all part of that hypocrisy, right?

Some people will do anything for publicity, right? Thank you for pointing it out.

There are millions of hypocrites in this world, but of course you are not one of them!


Kimmi Says:

Djokovic is fighting hard here. Saving break points in the 2nd set..already lost 1st set. Needs to WAKE UP!


tenisbebe Says:

Well watched both the henin/Demie match & the Blake/Delpo match late, late, late last night and what can we say? They were both fantastic! As someone else said in their post, there were several times when I thought James was going to pull this one out. Best I’ve seen him play in years.

Jane are you watching the Djoko match? Lost the 1st set, hmmm. Very passive in the 1st. That outfit – OMG looks like he was involved in a knife fight! I have several Tacchini outfits but that is just plain hideous. I hope they’re paying him well…:-)

Ferrer won the 1st vs Baggy & they are even in the second. Good match!


Kimmi Says:

Playing much better now, Djoko.


Kimmi Says:

“OMG looks like he was involved in a knife fight”
tenisbebe, why knife fight? lol. It looks OK from where i watching.


Fot Says:

I’m glad someone responded to rick. Boy, the players try to do something good to help the people and they still get criticized. Amazing…


Dan Martin Says:

I just noticed Isner is playing doubles right now with Querrey. Good for him to live up to his commitment, but he looked gassed after playing singles back-to-back days. He needed a day to hydrate and sleep. 5 matches in Auckland, NZ fly to Melbourne: day 1 rain delay, day 2 5 set match, day 3 3 set match, day 4 rest err play doubles???? Isner looked like he was dying in the second set yesterday. I think looking like you are dying might be a valid excuse to skip doubles duty.


Fot Says:

Ana going 3 sets. Ferrer up 2 sets on Baghdatis. Davydenko cruzing against the #119 ranked player. No big surprises yet other than the fact that Djokovic did drop a set to Marco but now he seems to have everything under control.


jane Says:

I have been following scores only intermittently as I am STILL at work, but just leaving. Thanks for the feedback on Djoko’s play Kimmi/tenisbebe. I don’t know whether to be happy or mad that it was down to him being passive. I thought maybe Chuey was playing great or something. Anyhow it looks like he’s righted the ship, but I don’t like these hiccups. He’d better not slip up again and get into a 5th as those can be thrilling but very very dangerous. : /

On my way home; hope to catch the end of it there.

I see Baggy is getting run around by Ferrrer? And Davy continues to cruise~!


Duro Says:

Tenisbebe, hi. They payed him, all right. 25 million.

Jane, this match is over.

Nole should have been spanked real good, nevertheless.


Kimmi Says:

How did Ivanovic get to No.1 ranking, he is playing like a top 50 at the moment.


Kimmi Says:

davydenko on fire right now but his draw has been a little easier so far..still, he is hitting the ball with conviction.


Kimmi Says:

Duro, 25 million for how many years? i am not comparing but just saying that sharapova got 70 million from nike for 8 years.


Daniel Says:

Poor Ivanovic! She made a return winner in the line at deuce and the referee change the ball to out 3 feet away from the chair umpire. It would be break point for Ivanovic and now she is 0-40 on her serve after losing the previous game. If it was Roddick he would have kill someone.


tenisbebe Says:

Duro – Hi ya! Wow, 25 million! From Tacchini alone? That’s incredible. For that kind of money, I’d wear whatever they asked even if it looked like I was in a horror movie. “Nole should have been spanked real good, nevertheless.” Well, he played very passively in the first (I didn’t see the 2nd set) and now in the 3rd Chuil is injured so this one is all over. Duro, during the last change over Nole looked exhausted, breathing heavy, gasping for breathe almost, very concerning as they have another set to go and it’s only 70F/21C.


Duro Says:

Kimmi, Sharapova did better. 25 million for 10 years in Novak’s case. But he got 24,5 for the racquet last year, too. Luckily, he kept his Adidas shoes after-all.


Duro Says:

Tenisbebe, well… I am not particularly concerned about this match; I think it’s already over. I understood that the temperature is 28 degrees C ( that mean in the shade, which means that it’s like 33 in the court, plus running…). It’s not easy, no doubt about. The old Novak’s problem… I hope he’ll get some night matches from now on. All in all, very tricky…


Kimmi Says:

Duro not too bad when you add them all..Shoes, Racket, cloths etc Not bad.


Kimmi Says:

Ivanovic looks to be doing a comeback from 2-5 down, she is waking up again.


Andy Says:

Good net play from Blake. He can take a lot of positives from the match. On the other hand, these valiant efforts that fall just short are the recurring theme of his career. Will he ever break through to the highest levels–a semifinal showing at a slam or a Masters shield. I hope so. I enjoy his game.

Andy

http://tenniswire.wordpress.com


Kimmi Says:

aaarg! all that effort to come back, she gets broken on her serve. Well, its over for her.


jane Says:

Did Ivanovic lose? Just getting home and I have to say I don’t know what to think about this 4th set. Djoko’s serve is pretty great at times, up to 11 aces. But he does seem pretty slow out there a.t.m. Hope he can finish it off.


Duro Says:

Kimmi, nothing for the shoes actually. That contract expired, but 49.5 million for the racquet, shorts and a t-shirts, not bad I would say. Way more than prize money…


jane Says:

Hi Duro, but the prize is more important, yes? ; ) I want him to have a quick hold and then break. He looks so lethargic right now. Not falcon like.


tenisbebe Says:

He did it Jane, Duro. Yes Jane, Ana bit the dust.

Baggy breaks at beginning of the 4th! We have a match.


Kimmi Says:

The other 3 sets were pretty straight forward. The second set I think was the key, chiudelli got so many break chances but could not take them. Then Djoko started to gain confidence. Next for Djoko is Istomin…who is Istomin ?


tenisbebe Says:

So Nole is not wearing Tacchini shoes? Which ones then, Adidas? Changing shoes is tricky. Remember when Pete changed to Tacchini I think, kept getting blisters & then tried to get out of the contract? Alot of wasted time.


Duro Says:

Jane, prize money is all that matters, but not because of the money itself, but because of the indicator that they represent. Not falcon like, at all! Nole Gemini, always two faces… Maybe the night will help, who knows. See you again next Nole’s match. It’s 4.22 am, I’m working tomorrow morning. Good night all. Novak will cost me my job or marriage eventually…


jane Says:

Istomin took out Chardy, someone I normally think of as very talented, 6-2, 6-2, 6-0!! Then he took out Berrer in a tighter straight set contest. So DJok better do some scouting. He’s ranked only 103, but how’d he do that to Chardy? That’s what I want to know. Anyone see that match?


jane Says:

Duro, good night, see you next match. Tenisbebe, yes, Djoko stuck with Adidas shoes from what I understand. He just changed the duds.


jane Says:

Tenisbebe: we “have a match” indeed – Baggy and Ferrer into the 5th set. Any predictions?


Kimmi Says:

Looks like Baggy will get this match, ferrer has slowed down a little and I think that tie breaker on the 3rd set might have disappointed him. Unless he has Delpo heart?

Wow, he has a heart, he is still fighting hard


Ra Says:

Grr, anyone got a feed that doesn’t keep cutting out?


Kimmi Says:

OMG BAGDATIS is cramping..


jane Says:

Kimmi you called it; looks like Baggy has the match in the, erm, bag. Ra, you could try one of the links here:

http://www.fromsport.com/c-4.html


Kimmi Says:

Did you see bagdatis cramping..he was falling down..he has calm down a little now…with the new rule, no treatment till change over…YES..He won.


jane Says:

He sure has the crowd psyched up.


Ra Says:

Hey, thanks, jane. ESPN2 coverage just kicked in though, so it all worked out.

Yay Baghdatis!


sar Says:

Novak looked like he did against Soderling at the YEC, crabby and irritable. Bad day at the office. I also think because he never played him before it took awhile to get used to him.

Have Istomin and Novak played each other before?

Hey Duro, what’s wrong with Geminis? Denko, Venus, Rafa, etc. are twins. Me too.


Bjorn Borg Says:

Fellow Argentinians Monaco and Dulko, two good looking people, won. Happy day for Argentina.
I am for Baggy, too.

If I am not mistaken, there is no change of rule regarding med timeout. Chud was allowed to take med before the end of the game, 4th game of the 3rd set when Nole had Ad. Nole played OK, blamed his serve (63%), and said jokingly he was not sure if it was his responsibility or Todd’s. Diff. day, diff outfit. I liked today’s better.

Nole’s next opponent, Istomin, is about the same height, 2 years older, best ranking 57 (Jul 2009), has big serve, 4th AO appearance but never reached 3rd Rd before, has no tour finals and titles, and this will be his 3rd career 3rd Rd at the tour level (Eastbourne and USO ’09). His best showing: beat Youzhny (then 25th ranking) and Querrey (46th) last year, and Llodra (36th) and Kunitsyn (44th) in 2008. In summary, Istomin should not be a problem for Nole at all.


Bjorn Borg Says:

I think a couple of players will be tested in the next round.
Rafa vs. Kohls
Davy vs. Monaco
Roddick vs. Lopez
Cilic vs. Wawrinka

Comparatively, going by the book, Roger, Nole, Murray, and JMDP have easy 3rd round.


tenisbebe Says:

Jane, sar – Novak was interviewed on ESPN – did you guys see it? They asked him how he felt and said good despite having an exhausting match & the heat?????? These comments really concerned me. I mentioned in an earlier post that he looked exhausted on a changeover & apparently from this comment he was. Lordy, it was 4 sets but the scoreline doesn’t justify exhaustion (3-6 6-1 6-1 6-3) & it was not hot today, certainly not by Australian summer standards. What do you 2 think?


jane Says:

tenisbebe, the temp was 28 or so right? Maybe it felt hotter on court. As for Djoko’s comment, he could be saying what he’s used to saying, i.e., the players do tend to sometimes repeat stock responses in interviews. He trained in Dubai over the break, though, so it couldn’t've been cool there! He may’ve looked exhausted but might it have been frustration? I dunno, as I saw only the 4th set. I’ve posted before that I’ve read he has asthma so may be he’s more sensitive to heat? Seriously, he is an enigma to me, though one I like very much. I read in his presser/ match summary at the AO site the following quote:

““I always try to have the highest possible ambitions, and that’s to win the tournament. But I’m well aware of the, you know, quality of the other players. Of course, some of the other players have probably more expectations than me to win the title. That’s normal.”

This is what concerns me a little, because I am wondering why he feels it’s “normal” that others have “more expectations”. He could simply be saying others are considered favorites, but I just hope he believes in his chances.


Ra Says:

jane, “He could simply be saying others are considered favorites” is what I take from that, but it’s certainly tough to tell. He did say (in no uncertain terms) “I’m taking it step by step and I’m sure that in two days’ time I will play even better”, though, and that bodes well in terms of confidence level.


jane Says:

We’ll see Ra – just don’t know what to expect from Novak a.t.m. Presuming he gets by his next opponent, he could run into what seems to be an in-form Youzhny, who took out Gasquet and cruised through his match today. So a match at a time, see what happens.

Murray, Davy and Rafa have been looking very strong. Delpo, Djoko and Fed, a little less so.


Ra Says:

No doubt, jane, time will tell…


Kimmi Says:

Federer much better. Not broken in this match. YAY!


Ra Says:

Yeah, Kimmi, that was some pretty sweet play from Federer for sure. It undoubtedly helped that he didn’t have Andreev’s blistering topspin forehands targeting his backhand tonight, but he was looking crisper all around even as Hanescu played quite impressively for stretches. One thing I’ve noticed (in both matches so far) is that Fed has been looking tactically good so far. He may still be more inclined to spray balls (not so much tonight) and lose focus from time to time these days, but I really like that he seems to me to be regularly dipping into his full arsenal of shots. There’ve been times in his career when (at least in my opinion) he’s seemed to limit his play to just a portion of his palette and not draw from the entirety of his formidable variety. Of course through much of those periods he certainly didn’t need to draw from more than what he was using, but now that he’s older, not always as fast on his feet day after day, and not quite as consistent as he once was… Idunno, but he showed a lot of good stuff out there tonight.


Duro Says:

Hey, Sar! Nice to see you! There’s nothing wrong with you being Gemini, but Nole is an athlete; he can’t allow himself to be inconsistent, drifted away, dual, one day passionate, flat the other day… Davy is certainly very similar to that, but Rafa – certainly not. Rafa is other type of person, something else prevails with him.

About Nole versus Chiudinelli, you are wrong. They actually played each other once before, six years ago. It was Gemax tournament in Belgrade, a Challenger. Marko won. Nole was 16. Zimonjic took the tournament (beating Marko in the finals). Last single title of Nenad Zimonjic. See you my dear friend and remember: In Novak we trust!


Long Live The King Says:

For Madmax and other Roger fans, interesting read….

http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/thespin.aspx?articleid=3739&zoneid=32

Go Roger :)


steve Says:

Davydenko’s interview is hilarious:

Q. Why are you always talking about money every time?

NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Because we are Russian (smiling.) Russian always talking about money. And you know all Russian can get only cash, not like you guys, only credit cards also. But not always getting money.

Q. Are you a vodka drinker?

NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yes.

Q. Is that where you get your strength from?

NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: No, I don’t drink really. I don’t drink so much because, you see, I’m skinny. I mix only. Sometimes I drink clear vodka, sometimes mixed with Red Bull. Little bit get power in night club or disco.

Because if I drink only vodka I go sleep straight. That’s what’s something change.


Kimmi Says:

Steve; LOL..love to read davy interviews.


jane Says:

Yes, that was funny. I never took Davy for a kidder but clearly that bit about skinnyness and vodka mixed with red bull is tongue firmly in cheek, self deprecating humour. Who knew? This guy is full of surprises lately. : )


madmax Says:

Longlive,

thank you for the link – really cool. Very humbling experience to think that Federer organised the event and emailing his tennis pals, they all agreed to it as well – great stuff –

Current news says that over £31 million pounds raised from all around the world so far, that’s astonishing – £24 million raised in 24 hours – just incredible.


Bjorn Borg Says:

Rafa, Murray, Davy and Roddick may have looked stronger than Delpo, Djoko and Fed, so far, maybe, MAYBE because of the opponents they’ve faced, but whether they can sustain this showing all the way through, i.e. later stages of 2nd week, can only be predicted after stronger challengers confront them and after we get to see in what manner they overcome these challengers in the next round or the round after that. The point I am trying to make is I am not convinced of the indications that we have gotten so far, which makes me hesitant to boldly differentiate one set of players from another, among the top 7.


jane Says:

Valid point BB – it is too soon to tell who will last. And definitely in Blake and Andreev, Delpo and Fed faced tough foes.


madmax Says:

Both the first and the second round, Fed has faced the highest ranked players, Andreev 37# and Hanescu ranked 45#(compared to the other top 7 players), who have faced players ranked 57# and above, (some ranked as low as 179#).


jane Says:

True madmax, although it’s worth noting, too, that ranking doesn’t always indicate a player’s quality. In other words, a guy on the rise, ranked below 100, can be just as, if not more, dangerous as someone ranked 45, who could be on the way down. Do you get my drift? But most definitely Fed’s first round was a toughie, probably the toughest of the lot, and Delpo’s second round. I’d say it’s quite possible both Blake and Andreev will move up in the rankings this year if they can continue to play well. This remains to be seen of course.


sar Says:

tenisbebe, I dont know why he said the heat was a factor. Maybe when he starts the day irritable and comes out with a crabby attitude the “heat” just makes it seem worse. If I wake up feeling that way, EVERY little thing makes it worse. I just need to go to bed that night and start over the next day. But yeah, Duro said he’s an athlete and shouldn’t let things get to him. Hopefully Todd will talk to him or maybe he needs Marion Vajda around this week.


jane Says:

sar “maybe he needs Marion Vajda around this week” — Isn’t Vajda there? I had just assumed he was. Hmmm.


sar Says:

Jane, I think I heard a commentator say that. I didn’t see him in his box either. Only Todd, Gritsch and Kakhsouri, no girlfriend or parents. We know he loves his fam. and considers Vajda to be a second father. Maybe they will start flying in slowly in the next week.


sar Says:

Here it is- Djokovic- a work in progress. It goes into the Chiudinelli gamesmanship, shoes incident, Vajda, etc.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4844587&name=espntennis


jane Says:

Thanks sar – an interesting read, and also I got to watch the interview with the ESPN commentators, which I missed before.

Top story: Andujar, Cuevas, Isner, Svitlona Win ATP/WTA Titles
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Rankings
ATP - Jul 21 WTA - Jul 21
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Na Li
3 Roger Federer3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 David Ferrer6 Maria Sharapova
7 Milos Raonic7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Juan Martin Del Potro8 Angelique Kerber
9 Grigor Dimitrov9 Jelena Jankovic
10 Andy Murray10 Victoria Azarenka
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