Murray, as expected, looked the fitter of the two, and caused all sorts of nosebleedy problems for Delpo in the first set, with his somewhat scrambly, defensive play and well-timed winners.
Though I found it difficult not to get behind Delpo for the way he raised his game in the second. Some of those running forehand winners were straight out of Flushing.
Not that surprised he lost focus in the third, but it’s hardly the end of the world.
On another note, I’ve just realised that Murray has a winning H2H against everyone in his group.
Probably a mistake to read too much into that, his match against Fed -- which you’ll remember, is on Fed’s racquet – could go either way.
The night match – yes the UK does night matches now – involved Fed facing off against Nando.
I had dark visions about Nando’s fate in this match. But I’ll hazard a guess they weren’t half as dark as the ones Fed Fans were having after the first set, in which Fed’s own shadow, like Nadal’s this past month, would likely take offence at the description “shadow of himself” – eventually losing it 6-3.
Fed upped his game in the second but it was still very far from what you might call “running a tight ship”.
Nando on the other hand played with an altogether different, more assured and quieter brand of sustained intensity, I’m pretty sure I’ve not seen from him before: The Philosopher-Scientist to the Bloodless-Vivisectionist we’re more accustomed to.
Heady stuff. And just like the fragile dream-like state we felt a part of (or in the case of Fed Fans the nightmare they felt they couldn’t escape), the rude awakening came right on cue at 5-5 in the second: Nando’s only poor game since the beginning of the match.
Then the floodgates opened.
At the beginning of the third we got a rare exhibition of the backhand that has largely been missing from Fed's inventory – with precious few exceptions at Wimbledon of course – since 2007.
Fernando managed to salvage a game, but all at once, and without any warning, the match was over.
I have no idea if Federer intends to continue administering this new found brand of “shock therapy” to his opponents. It’s proved to be a useful stratagem to dig himself out of trouble. Trouble that appears to be following him around in his last few matches.
Rafa v Sod next - the grudge match that makes Armageddon look like a high school punch up.