On paper, it was meant to be a fairly easy first-round match for David. But on the court, it turned into an epic battle that lasted almost 4 hours...
Still, in the end, despite going down a break in the fifth set and a total of 84 unforced errors for the match, David eventually managed to overcome qualifier Rik De Voest 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4.
At 5-5 in the first set David twisted his ankle a little and had it taped after end of the first set. It remains to be seen whether that was just a precaution.
David's next opponent in Round 2 will now be Florent Serra.
(Getty Images, montage VD)
5.17pm local. A quick exit for Pico. Now next up on Court 11: David...
4.42pm local. Pico down two sets to love now... Quick exit or epic battle? We'll see.
At 3.18pm local (EST), the third match on Court 11, Monaco vs Polansky, has just begun. After that it'll be David's turn.
Today, David plays his first match at a Slam since losing in the second round at the Australian Open 2009. But who is the player David will face in his first Slam match after 19 months?
Q: How much of an advantage is it to play your first match at the US Open against a qualifier like Rik De Voest from South Africa? Do you know anything about his game?- And David is probably not the only one whose knowledge about Rik De Voest's game is somewhat limited. Even if it's not his first match against the South-African. Back in 2006, they met in the first round at Cincinnati and back then, David easily defeated De Voest 6-0, 6-4. But chances are that David hasn't seen anything of him ever since.
David: The truth is that I don't know much.
Rik De Voest, currently ranked #231, is the kind of player who occasionally manages to qualify for an ATP tournament or a Slam but who spends most of his time at Challenger or Future events. Which is why at age 30, he has played a total of only 61 matches at Tour level (David: 481), with the highest ranking in his career having been #110 (in 2006).
I believe I've seen De Voest play once, at the Queen's Club, a couple of years ago. What little I remember from that match is that he seemed to have a pretty good serve and that he played attacking tennis. In any case, De Voest's results show that he prefers playing on fast surfaces. And the fact that he's had some success in doubles, having won two ATP titles, seems to support my (vague) memory of a player who is comfortable at the net.
For David, however, this match will be about imposing his game on his opponent. He'll try to continue with the same game plan that has worked so well for him of late, playing aggressively from the baseline and, whenever possible, finishing off points at the net. The match will also be a test for David's serve and it remains to be seen how well and how consistenly he'll be able to serve in this best-of-five match. Still, what matters is that David is finally playing a Slam again. At last!