Saturday, August 28, 2010

Training with Rafa and more about David's Draw

(Fue Buena)

David's opponent in the first round will be Rik De Voest from South Africa (currently ranked 231). David won their only meeting so far, which took place at Cincy, back in 2006.

The partial order of play for Monday that's out by now indicates that play will start with the bottom half of the draw. For David, who's in the top half, this means that he'll play his first-round match either Tuesday or Wednesday.

As reported on Fue Buena (thanks, Camilia), David practiced with Rafael Nadal at the Arthur Ashe stadium for two hours yesterday, which included a training match. In his article for ESPN Deportes, Jorge Viale describes that match in a little more detail...
The world's no.1 is more solid and faster on his feet than Nalbandian and breaks serve three times (while losing his serve once) to take the first set 6-3. The two players, whose relationship goes beyond the courts, could meet in the quarterfinal as yesterday's draw revealed.

Nadal hits the ball with his typical parabola-shaped curve. Nalbandian tries to run as little as possible and closes down the court. Rafa wants his shots to bounce high, moving away from David. David flattens out his shots, allowing the perhaps fastest player on the Tour little time to react.

Without the pressure of the scoreboard (the players asked their coaches for the scores) but with the seriousness of a real test, Nalbandian's and Nadal's play deserves applause. But the practice session on Arthur Ashe takes place "behind closed doors". It's remarkable how many masterful shots the Argentine has to execute in every rally to overcome the champion of Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
In the second set, with the score at 6-3, 5-2 for Nadal, their practice session was cut short due to a microphone test for today's Kid's Day. And apart from that, Maria Sharapova also arrived to claim her practice time at the world's biggest tennis stadium...

David's Draw
With the last round of qualifying still in full sway, it's not yet possible to make any predictions about who David will face in the first round. And I have to admit that out of the players who are still in the draw, around half I've never seen before.
(The more well-known contenders include Mahut, Gicquel, Kendrick, Dancevic and Nishikori.)

But here's a bit more about David's possible opponents after the first round.
In the second round, David could meet either Florent Serra or Florian Mayer (Serra has a 2-0 match record against Mayer). It would be David's first meeting with Serra (#65), a clay-courter whose best results this season have been two semifinals at clay Challengers. On hardcourt, Serra hasn't been able to get past the third round anywhere this year and he failed to make through qualies at Toronto and Cincy.
Against Florian Mayer (#44), David has played twice, beating him easily on both occasions, apparently having no difficulties with Mayer's unorthodox way of playing. Although it has to be said that almost five years have passed since their last encounter (Basel 2005). Mayer recently had a good run at Hamburg (making semis) but hasn't really done too well since then, losing in the first round at Cincy and the third round at New Haven, earlier this week.

Should David make it to the third round, chances are that there, he'd meet Fernando Verdasco (#8). The Spaniard won their only encounter so far (the "tanked match" at Wimbledon 2006) and interestingly enough, they haven't met since. After doing well during the clay-court season, Verdasco posted mixed results, including a first-round loss at Wimbledon against Fognini - now again his opponent in the first round. At both Toronto and Cincy, Verdasco went out in the second round.

I can only say it again - a very good draw for David.
Now we'll have to see what he's able to do with it.

Note: As the old Photo Page has become somewhat huge and difficult to handle, I've added a new one, the Photo Page II to VD. From now on, you'll find the new photos there.


  1. yes, Julia. It was a training match and they both didn't took it seriously and David tried to run as little as possible and perhaps he lost the 2. set purposely to make it faster, but still it is a little worried, at least for me. But I hope that David would get better on the right time from match to match and won't spend lot's of energy until the quarterfinal, which he hopefully will reach.

  2. I've translated it as he wrote it but I think what Viale means is not that David didn't run on court but tried to avoid being made to run by Rafa. And he didn't lose the second set on purpose. Apparently, he was rather annoyed at their session getting cut short.
    I'm just saying it was a training match and it was Rafa on the other side of the net. Losing it doesn't matter, I think. What does is getting a good preparation.

  3. David did it right not to run lot in that training match. Nadal can run and run 4 weeks in a row on his best physical level.
    I can't wait to watch David playing in a Grand Slam any more :)
    I wish so much that David finally shows his best in a Grand Slam, and with best I mean also his serve. He has done it a few times in the past, but only one time during the whole tournament (US Open 2003).

  4. I've removed it.
    David wasn't saving his energy, he was playing his usual tactics against Rafa, trying to keep Rafa from moving him around the court and making him run a lot. (It was just an ambiguous formulation in the original article.) Hope that makes it clear now.

  5. It's clear now.
    Thanks for your efforts Julia :)

  6. Thanks for the translation Julia.
    I'm not really worried about the practice match result, it remains practice. I'm gonna wait for the early rounds and decide if I should panic or not ;)
    That said, practicing with Rafa was a smart move, he needs to do his homework and prepare well.

  7. Do they play in alphabetic order?

  8. I'm not sure I know what you mean.

  9. Ciccio,
    I don't think alphabetical order determines order of play. In my opinion, it's strictly random.

  10. or maybe ciccio means, about practice sessions, maybe murray practiced with monaco, which he did so before lol

  11. I see no problem with David playing Rik de Voest in the first round. This will be a match where David can practice his ability to win his own service games, as he will win a lot of Rik's serve games. No matter how bad David plays i think he will beat him no trouble. Next round I am sure he's going to play Florian Mayer..... Serra is a decent player but he really doesn't have any huge weapons that can beat players. Mayer plays a little weird but I think that outcome will be similar to when David played Rajeev Ram in Washington who also had a different game, or when David played Santoro at the AO, David doesn't fall for those players using their crap spin. As for round three he will probably play Verdasco and he does have the ability to beat him. Verdasco could have trouble with Fognini in the opener and in his second round I honestly don't know those two players but if he gets past the first round then he should play David. Should be a great tournament- especially if David could beat Nadal and get to the semis again....

  12. David is back!

  13. Along the same lines, David says

  14. Yeah, I saw the Clarin one but thanks for the Canach Llena one. :)
    Post coming up.