It is considered an upset when a player ranked 165 beats a player ranked 4 but it is not an upset when Juan Martin Del Potro (‘Delpo’) beats Stan Wawrinka. Del Potro is a former Top 4 player and a Grand Slam Champion and it won’t be long before he makes his way back there. Though he has not regained his former form and strength yet, he is well in place. He is trying not to stress his wrists more than required, playing the backhand slice more frequently than his once-lethal double-handed backhand, but his forehand is still what it used to be, ripping apart the opponent and zipping through the grass. Delpo’s roars echoed at the closed roof centre court announcing his comeback to Wimbledon after a gap of two years. In his last Wimbledon in 2013, he had reached the semi finals.
Wawrinka might consider himself unlucky to have found an unseeded Del Potro so early in the draw. It is not everyday that you see two former Grand Slam champions play each other in the second round of a tournament. The last time this happened was when Marat Safin beat Novak Djokovic in 2008.
Del Potro had a 3-2 Head to Head record against Wawrinka going into the match. Del Potro and Wawrinka had been the only players to win Grand Slams outside the Top 4 until US Open 2014. Delpo has always been one of the contenders in any Grand Slam that he has played and could have won a few had he not been struggling with an injured wrist for the past two and a half years. The last Grand Slam tournament that Del Potro played was the Australian Open in 2014 (the one that Wawrinka won) and has undergone three wrist surgeries ever since.
Another upset that I wouldn’t consider an upset was when an unseeded Grigor Dimitrov (‘GD’) beat 16th seed Gilles Simon in the second round. Even though Simon had a 5-1 Head to head record against Dimitrov, GD is a former Top 10 player and has had more success at Wimbledon than Simon, reaching the semi finals in 2014. Dimitrov has had a very bad season so far and it is relieving to finally see him reawaken (Bouchard too!).
Due to rain interruptions this year, matches will take place on the middle Sunday for just the fourth time in 139 years, which is not part of the schedule.
In another very entertaining match, Nick Kyrgios beat Dustin Brown in five sets. Both the players had tremendous energy and Brown gave his opponent a run for his money. What both these guys have in common is that both of them have beaten Nadal at Wimbledon (Kyrgios’14 and Brown’15) in the first week. Well, Nadal isn’t around this year to lose in the early rounds.
But, the reason I woke up in the middle of the night with a smile is Sam Querry (I had never thought I’d say this). As of now, Querry leads defending champion Novak Djokovic by two sets before the match was suspended due to rain. A suspension was the last thing that Querry wanted. This would now let Djokovic revive and re-strategise and significantly diminish the odds of Querry’s win. He might wanna take some inspiration from 22nd seed Feliciano Lopez who evaded a similar situation against Fabio Fognini earlier today. But if at all, Sam Querry is able to pull off an upset here, it will change the dynamics of this year’s Wimbledon. (Did somebody say that Swiss Airlines was offering discounts on tickets to London next Saturday???)
One reason that I am delighted to see Del Potro climb up the ladder and reach out to where he belongs is that I can finally see someone who has the belief to beat Novak Djokovic. There might be a lot of players on the tour who have the ability but the only thing that refrains any of them from beating Djokovic is the belief they carry into the match. Del Potro has never shown signs of mental weakness. He has been a constant threat to all the fellow top players and with him around the tour might cease to be a one player show. Bienvenida de Nuevo!