Del Potro Debuts in Rotterdam

March 3, 2012

ATP Tennis News

ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam – World No.10 Juan Martín Del Potro was made to work hard against difficult Frenchman Michael Llodra, who pushed the Argentine to three tight sets in his first round encounter which he eventually sealed 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.

From the onset, Del Potro looked nervous as he stepped onto court in his premiere match of the tournament.  This is the first time the Argentine has elected to play at the event and his uncertainty was evident from the moment he stepped onto court, as Llodra looked more at ease in the environment.  He is no stranger to the court and the venue as he won the tournament back in 2008.

In a buzzing court which refused to keep quiet on a packed Kids Day, Llodra made his tactics clear from the onset: favouring the backhand slice to keep the ball low, the Frenchman moved the Argentine around all areas of the court and used effective drop shots to keep him guessing.

During the first set, Del Potro tried to take the net away from Llodra and play aggressively.  He continuously found his range in the exchanged rallies and painted the line with the ball.  The crowd were thoroughly entertained with the cat and mouse points as the players toyed with each other with a flurry of drop shots, lobs and little dinks.

In the seventh game of the match Del Potro sensed Llodra tightened as a few errors crept into his game.  The world No.10 secured the break with a forehand down the line to go up 4-3, eventually serving it out 6-4.

During the second set, both players exchanged break point opportunities, which neither player managed to take. The set was forced into a tiebreak which swung Llodra’s way after his classic forehand volley cross court was beautifully angled to steal the point and set.

It was a routine third set with players holding their service games comfortably. Del Potro began to approach the net and play more aggressively, whilst Llodra continued to slice the ball and move well around the court.  Eventually, having the luxury of serving first in the third set placed pressure on the Frenchman who eventually succumbed 6-4 and bowed out gracefully after a fantastic and testing performance.

During the press conference, Del Potro revealed his relief at victory:

“I’m glad to go through. I was really focused in the last game of the match.”

Del Potro remained diplomatic about the volume of the crowd throughout play and understood that it was an exciting time for them:

“There were so many kids and it’s happy for us, they are enjoying this day. The crowd was almost full. It was nice to see the crowd.”

For the organisers of the event, it is good news for them to see Del Potro go through. Having him here for the first time is great for the tournament as he is such proving to be a popular player here.

Lisa-Marie Burrows

Twitter: @TennisNewsViews

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About Lisa-Marie Burrows

Lisa-Marie Burrows has a MA in Sports Broadcast Journalism and is a freelance sports journalist. She has covered many national and international tennis tournaments and has worked in Paris for Eurosport News channel. She is a member of the International Press Association and a journalist for its online magazine, IMPress. She has contributed articles for various leading websites including www.tennisgrandstand.com, www.worldtennismagazine.com, www.tennisbloggers.com, www.tennisscoop.co.uk and www.olympictennis.net. Lisa-Marie operates her tennis website www.tennisnewsviews.com where you can read her reports. She can be reached at lburrows@internationalpress.com or on Twitter @TennisNewsViews.

View all posts by Lisa-Marie Burrows

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