Wednesday, October 15, 2008
History repeating: David beats Berdych in Madrid
David has once again defeated Tomas Berdych for a place in the third round of Madrid, just like he did last year. After one hour and 57 minutes, David converted his first match point to win the match 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-1.
A brief summary...
Set 1. David served first in this set but though he sometimes struggles to hold at the start of match, he didn't have much of a problem with it today. At 2-1, David broke Berdych's serve for the first time and to love. 3-1. In the following game, Berdych had 2 break points of his own, but David saved both of them and went up 4-1. Both then held to make it 5-2. Serving to stay in the set, Berdych quickly went down 0-40, thoroughly outplayed in that game. David took the first of his three set points, easily putting away a short ball from Berdych, 6-2.
Set 2. Again, David served first. But after having dominated the majority of rallies in the first set, he suddenly let his concentration slip and began this set with a horrible serve game, riddled with unforced errors. The result: an immediate break for Berdych and the 1-0 lead. Berdych now found his way back into the match, served better and started to put pressure on David. The tables were turning. And David's control of the match was gone, but he stayed calm and tried to fight his way back. At 4-3, he had a total of 4 break points but squandered all of them, allowing Berdych to scrape through to 5-3. David easily held for 5-4. Then Berdych served for the set, but only to face 2 further break points. On the second, his backhand landed wide, giving David a last-minute re-break, 5-5. Eventually, the set went to a tiebreaker. Most of which I didn't see because that was the moment my stream chose to break down on me. By the time it was working again, Berdych had 2 set points at 6-4. David saved the first on Berdych's serve with a great return. But when it was his turn to serve on the second - he double-faulted. So set 2 went to Berdych, 7-6(5).
Set 3. This time, Berdych served first. But despite winning the second set, he was unable to carry the momentum over to the third. Instead, it was David who now took control of the points again. By serving better, but especially by returning Berdych's serves, no matter whether second or first. And that allowed him to dominate the rallies from the beginning on. David broke in the very first game of the set and quickly consolidated his break, 2-0. Then Berdych managed to hold - but for the last time in this match. The second break (4-1) David secured with another amazing return off a first serve that drew Berdych's error. Then he held his own serve to love, 5-1. Serving to stay in the match, Berdych went up 40-15 before David fought back to deuce. Yet another great return brought him his first match point. And David took it, with a running forehand down the line. 6-1.
In a way, the way this match turned out reminded me a little of the Stockholm final. With David losing his focus in the second set (though it happened later in the set in Stockholm). But again, he remained very calm and confident, concentrating on holding his own serve and waiting for his chance to break back. I also really liked his attitude today, his determination. I'd rather see him destroy a racquet (like he did after the double fault that ended set 2) than not showing any emotions on court.
But the best thing was how well he played for most of the match. The way he constructed the points. His backhand. And those returns...
Tomorrow, the next big test awaits. A special one.
Because tomorrow in round 3, David will face Delpo.
Just like he did here last year in the third round.
Back then, David won 6-2, 6-4.
But a lot has happened since then.
AMS TV post-match interview with a very relaxed David.
1st serve: 64%
Aces: 9 (more than Berdych, who had only 6)
Break Point Conversion: 6/11
Points won on 1st serve: 77%
Points won on 2nd serve: 56%
Unforced Errors: 34
(Paul White/AP Photos)