Thursday, October 28, 2010
Au revoir Montpellier - David manages to lose to Simon
(Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images)
There was a moment, around an hour maybe into the match, where it looked like it would all be over in a matter of minutes. That was when David, up a set and a break and in complete control of proceedings, got ready to serve for the match at 6-3, 5-4... - Around another hour or so later, Gilles Simon converted his first match point, sealing his 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 victory. After David once more proved unable to close out a match that was his for the taking.
Out of Montpellier, David will now move on to play the 500 event in Basel next week, one of his favourite tournaments.
Today's match basically came in two halves. David caught an excellent start and managed to secure an early break (for 3-1) in the first set. A set that saw good tennis from both players, with few errors and lots of great baseline rallies, most of which David was able to dominate. Posting his best numbers on serve today in this set, David carried the break right through it and eventually converted his first set point to take it 6-3. At this point in the match, he hadn't faced a single break point and committed only 9 unforced errors (while hitting 14 winners).
In the second set, David broke Simon again, this time for a 3-2 lead. After that, he seemed in complete control of the match and at 4-2 had two break points to go up a double break. But Simon saved both of them with good serves. Finally, at 5-4, it was David's turn to serve for the match. - And it was precisely at that moment that the second half of the match began.
After arguing with umpire Cedrid Mourier about an overrule (that meant a double fault), David appeared to be losing his focus and quickly went down 15-40, facing the first break points of the entire match. In the course of this game, David saved altogether three break points. On the fourth, however, David decided to play serve and volley behind a weak second serve - and got broken. Still, he remained seemingly unimpressed and broke right back, earning himself another chance to serve for the match at 6-5. But only to follow it up with his worst service game of the match. Three unforced errors in a row plus a double fault - and the second chance to close out the match was gone, as well. In the eventual tiebreak, David led 5-4 and could've still won the match, had he won both of the following points on his serve. But instead, two unforced errors in a row cost him the lead and, eventually, the second set. During which he again hit 14 winners - but also 29 unforced errors, most of them towards the end of the set.
The third set saw David struggling with blisters, with his fitness (he seemed to get slower, the longer the match went on) and also continuing his debates with umpire Mourier. After a couple of quick service holds, David once more broke Simon's serve (for 4-2) but only to get broken back straight away. At 5-5, David went down 0-30 and during the rally that followed, he managed to complain about a shot from Simon he thought was long, all but stopping play, but still won the point. After that however, another double fault (7 in total today) and another unforced error (56 in total) ended up costing David his serve and now gave Simon the chance to serve for the match. Which he did, to love, converting his first match point with an ace.
That David sometimes has his problems with closing out matches isn't new. Neither is David being in control of a match and then still finding a way of losing it (take the notorious five match points he held against Nadal at Indian Wells). But that doesn't make matches like this one today any easier to watch. Or to understand why David's game sometimes just falls apart from one moment to the next - when the finish line is already in sight. I can imagine what David will say about this match, the same thing he always says about matches like this one - "he played better than me in the important moments." I just wish that sometimes, it would be a lot more difficult to play better than David in the important moments...
For those with strong nerves, the match is available on the David on Screen page (thanks, Krystle for the recording).
Posted by Julia at 4:17 PM