2-4-8! Who Do We Appreciate? Three Seeded Players In Delray Beach Open Quarterfinal Play Today
Steve Fogleman in Delray Beach
January 11–-John Isner, Hubert Hurkacz and Frances Tiafoe are clearly the ones to beat in this tournament at the moment. Those seeded Delray Beach Open seeds have a lot of contenders at their tails. Sebastian Korda, who beat John Isner at Roland Garros last year, is set for the challenge against the second seed nig man Isner.
Roberto Quiroz, the 28-year-old Ecuadorean with deep pro tennis roots and in his first ever ATP quarterfinal, will square off against the 4 seed, Hubert Hurkacz. Hurkacz hopes to be the 7th 4 seed to win this tournament. It’s been tours since his last semifinal berth, but former Texas Christian University standout Cameron Norrie will do his best to move on against 8 seed and 2018 champion Frances Tiafoe.
Finally, you’ve got a match this afternoon that will result in an automatic underdog advancing to the semifinals between Christian Harrison and Gianluca Mager. This is Harrison’s first quarterfinal and Mager beat his brother Ryan to open the main draw of the tournament. In fact, Mager is looking to defeat his third American in a row after a win over Sam Querrey in the second round.
I’ve said it many times and it seems to hold true. At the lower level tournaments, seeding means little.The experience and confidence the players earn on the courts prior to the main draw are often enormously valuable.
As far as coronavirus and social distancing protocols here, there seems to be a ramped-up enforcement. With fewer fans in attendance on Friday, there were more groups together in the upper areas of the stadium and plenty of chin-strapping. I looked at the ushers on the concourse below and was worried that these mature-aged volunteers wouldn’t be up to the task. Meanwhile, Delray Beach Police Officers were all over the facility and didn’t seem interested in managing the new rules. By the weekend, that had changed. Frequent announcements were made that all fans were required to be in their assigned seats and that ushers would be coming around to check those seat assignments. Seats were sold in blocks of 2 or 4 with alternating rows and the protocols appeared to be enforced more stringently. Though it’s completely understandable, my heart sunk a little during announcements that fans were prohibited from asking for selfies or autographs from the players. And that photo of Frances Tiafoe above? He says he requested it. The only reason his mask was down was because he’d just finished answering a few questions for me twelve feet away. Throughout the weekend, the announcer made a point to inform the fans that they were about to be part of a national telecast on Tennis Channel, as if to remind them that they didn’t want to give their own town a bad look on TV. Maybe that was the trick.