Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Copa Claro R1: Steady as he Goes

(Highlights by Andvari, despite technical problems - thanks!)

It was the kind of match he will have wanted at the start of his home tournament: The second edition of David against Starace in the first round at Buenos Aires ended after only 75 minutes with an easy 6-4, 6-4 for David.
With his his shots, and especially his forehand, working well, David dominated most of the rallies and never really seemed in any kind of danger of losing this match. In spite of a little blip in the second set when he lost his serve after going up a break. In short, it was a good and solid start from a David, visibly fired up, playing in front of his home crowd.
In the second round, he will now face Juan Pablo Brzezicki, an Argentine Challengers player David has known since junior days but has never played against on the Tour before. The match will take place on Thursday.

Unlike with so many of his other matches, David played well right from the start and didn't have any problems, holding serve early on. Changing directions frequently, especially with his forehand, he kept Starace guessing and trapped well behind his own baseline. And with consistently good returns, David managed to put Starace under growing pressure on serve. It paid off at 4-4 in the first, when Starace double-faulted to set up a first break point for David, which he converted with another great return that drew the error before equally promptly converting his first set point in the following game with one of his many forehand winners in this match. 6-4.

In the second set, David broke Starace's serve again to go up 2-1 but only to follow it up with what easily was his worst service game of the night. After initially saving two break points (the first he faced), David handed back the break with the only double fault he made in this match. But it turned out to be no more than a blip. David quickly regained his focus and broke Starace again for 4-3, successfully applying his strategy of hitting as many balls to the Italians weaker backhand as possible. At 5-4, David served for the match and finally converted his second match point with a couple of big forehands to set up a last drop-shot Starace didn't try to retrieve. 6-4.

After the serve stats David posted in his last couple of matches, it was good to now see him much more solid on serve again. And it's not often that you get to watch David hitting his forehand as well and above all as consistently well as he did in this match. In the early stages of it, he had more trouble with his backhand. But the errors he made with it were mostly the result of his movement and that improved during the match. Still, and although a couple of spectacular points may seem to tell a different story, it was obvious that in general, David was being careful with his movement and that he decided not to try and run down each and every ball.
"I'm at a new stage now but there are still restrictions for me. I can't jump normally, run at the baseline or do slides. My coaches let me do that but with restrictions." (Source.)
The objective is of course to prevent further muscular injuries. But whether David will still remember to be careful, once he faces a greater challenge than in this match - who knows.

Talking on court after the match, David said he was very happy about the way the match turned out and that he thought he played very well. While later, at the press conference, he pointed out once again just how important and special playing this tournament is for him.
"Even though it's not one of the big tournaments, Buenos Aires is one of the toughest events on the Tour because it has very good players. It's totally different, playing here. To walk on court is something spectacular and maybe it generates a little more pressure but in my case - I like it." (Source.)
Let's hope he'll get to experience that special sensation of walking on court at the BALTC a few more times this week.

(Clarin; photo above to the right: DyN)


  1. great post, Ty
    I was just told that David's match was broadcasted yesterday on Aljazeera TV, really killed me, i was suffering watching live streams, and the 42" TV in my next room was switched off. so no more stream problems, at least for me, i get to watch all the matches on TV. now i can hardly think of a tournament this network is not broadcasting, simply the best, specially when it comes to tennis

  2. At least you know now. ;)
    And at least you get tennis on TV. But even if they showed more tennis here, I'd still be watching streams because of the recording etc. Though I did watch the Hewitt match on TV, for old times' sake.

  3. I know its off topic but someone posted on menstennisforum that in the interview after the match Naluy said that after Indian Wells and Miami he will play Madrid,Rome,French open,Queens and Wimbledon.

  4. What about Monte Carlo?

  5. I finally found that FLV player that I liked, where you can fast forward through any FLV file using the right arrow key on your keyboard (that will fast forward about five seconds). It's great because you can do that, and also have absolutely no clue how long a file is so no spoilers. And it's also easy to fast forward through changeovers, or people walking in between points, lol. It looks exactly the same as Applian FLV player that I kept wondering why the functionality was no longer working!

  6. With these FLV players, I would highly recommend going to Settings, then ticking Use video smoothing when scaled, and maintain framerate in full screen mode.

  7. Chris,there was no mention of Monte Carlo,but Im not sure how reliable is the information is...

  8. krystle, just use VLC player, i downloaded the match today, played it with Applian flv player, no forward i know, with flv, u can watch any part u like, simply the best

  9. Noubar, what do you mean watch any part I like?

  10. you can just click with the pointer on the timeline

  11. About the schedule - with IW/Miami and then Madrid/Rome, there'd be four weeks pause in-between. And I'd be very surprised if David skipped MC, one of his usual events. We'll see.