Friday, 10 June 2011

A Trip to Queens Part 2

The final match we saw was between Juan Martin Del Potro and Adrian Mannarino. After a 20 minute delay following the retirement of Llodra in the previous match, the players finally took to the court around 4pm. On paper, this match looked to be a comfortable one for Del Potro... as the afternoon progressed it was increasingly evident that would not be the case! After wasting several break points in the first game, Del Potro slammed his racket into the ground at the change over. Throughout the match he appeared rather flat and struggled movement-wise as his thigh was heavily taped.

Mannarino played a number of early drop shots bringing Del Potro into the net

Del Potor struggled movement-wise throughout the match

Despite this, it was still clear to see the potential that Del Potro possesses; he is an awesome player to watch live with his devastating groundstrokes and huge serve which frequently drew gasps of amazement from the crowd. It was only the strength of Del Potro's serve which got him into a first set tiebreak after Mannarino had dominated early proceedings. Mannarino played a super tiebreak with a number of precise winners as the moody Del Potro failed to raise his game as many anticipated he would at the crucial stage of the set.

Awesome striking by Del Potro

After an exchange of breaks at the start of the second set, it looked like the momentum was turning towards Del Potro as he held to love in his next two service games and pushed Mannarino hard on his serve. However Mannarino continued to play some excellent tennis and kept things level at 3-3. Del Potro then faltered in the next game as he double faulted on break point to hand the advantage to Mannarino who served for the match at 7-6 5-4. Unsurprisingly, Del Potro came to life and managed to break back with a number of thumping returns as Mannarino cracked somewhat under the pressure.

Mannarino played above his ranking of 54 in the world

Del Potro then managed to gain a number of set points at 6-7 6-5 after holding with ease. Mannarino fought well though and held off the increasingly focussed Del Potro to force a second set tiebreak. Del Potro started with intent but a number of unforced errors and an untimely double fault gave Mannarino the crucial advantage. After a number of momentum swings, crunching rallies, set points for Del Potro and match points for Mannarino, it was Mannarino who took the match with an incredible slice of luck. As an absorbing rally took place, a shot from Mannarino clipped the net forcing Del Potro to scurry into the net before Mannarino finished the match with a simple lob.

A bad day at the office for Del Potro

Del Potro forced into the net on the final point of the match

It was a superb match that was full of drama with a number of questionable line calls. One woman in the crowd proclaimed that the umpire (Mohammed Lahyani) was "not a good umpire". Some of the line calls were questionable but Mohammed is a total legend!!!!! I particularly enjoyed his over pronounciation of "Mannarino" during the dramatic tiebreak.

The crowd really got involved at the end of the match and were cheering for the underdog Mannarino who played arguably one of the matches of his career. Del Potro was pretty flat throughout and stormed off at the end after the unlucky net cord. Unfortunately I could not stay for the final match between Cilic and Bellucci as I had a train to catch!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and it was great to add some new players to my list of players seen live! I would have to say that comparing Queens to my previous tennis visits to Eastbourne and Wimbledon, it was probably my least favourite of the three. The main downsight for me was the price - £78 for two tickets on the second court was extremely pricey, and is in fact more than tickets for Court 1 at Wimbledon in the opening two days; this frankly is ludicrous! I also found the grounds a little cramped, which especially became apparent during the rain delay as trying to navigate around the grounds was both a slow and taxing task. I also felt completely out of place in my shorts!!!!!! Overall it was a fun day and I would consider applying for tickets in the ballot next year.

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