Thursday, June 9, 2011

Farewell, Queen's Club - David bows out to Verdasco... again

Update (11/06)
David will play his first match at the Boodles Challenge next Tuesday. In the second match of the day (play starts 2.30 GMT), his opponent will be Gilles Simon (thanks, joyce63). Apart from that, I've added some photos joyce63 took at the Queen's Club on Tuesday and Wednesday to the Photo Page.

It is a truth universally acknowledged in tennis that if you don't make use of the opportunities you get during a match - you'll end up paying the price. In David's case today, that price was his third-round loss to Fernando Verdasco, who won 7-5, 6-1. After squandering his chances to break, a single, terrible service game cost David the first set. A blow from which he proved unable to recover, only just managing to avoid a bagel in the second.
After saying farewell to the Queen's Club, David will now continue his preparations for Wimbledon by playing The Boodles Challenge at Stoke Park next week (June 14-18). And we'll be able to follow his progress - as there will be a stream.

But back to today's match. (This time as a combination of the scoreboard and Istabraq's impressions.) After David chose to receive, Verdasco began the match with a very shaky service game, which not only included a couple of double faults but also a total of three break points for David. Had he converted one of those, who knows what course this match might have taken. But he didn't. Instead, an even (and good) set of tennis ensued that saw David having it just a little bit harder to get through this service games than Verdasco - until 3-3. After Verdasco had already been up 40-15, David managed to take him back to deuce before getting a fourth chance to break - he also didn't use. But David fought on, easily held for 4-4 and then also for 5-5, though not quite as easily. However, at this point the match was still wide open and 6-5 Verdasco, all was still far from lost. But then it came, the service game that would turn the match into one-way traffic. Serving to stay in the set for the second time, David began with a double fault. And then continued with a series of unforced errors, gifting Verdasco altogether three set points and then finally the first set. With another unforced error.

This service game and the outcome of the first set changed the course of the match completely. While Verdasco now raised his level, with the added confidence of having the first set under his belt, David fell apart. And he did so, completely. What exactly went on in his head - who knows. But he lost track of the match as soon as the second set began and once he found himself down first a break and then a double break it became clear that he wasn't going to find his way back into this match again. Instead, the only, small victory he managed to achieve was holding serve for one more time, before Verdasco served it out easily.
It is, unfortunately, not entirely unusual for David to lose matches this way. Collapsing from one moment to the next. And while it's also usually a mental problem, the exact workings of it (and David's mind) will remain a mystery. As he likes to answer any questions about it by saying how well his opponent played...

So, what to make of David's comeback week at the Queen's Club? Difficult to say, without having seen him play all week and without having been able to have look at his (supposedly improved) movement. But the results speak for themselves and I think they're positive. After three months away from the Tour, winning a couple of rounds was all that could be realistically expected from David and that's what he has accomplished. Apart from that, he finally got to play a few matches, without any physical problems, and match practice really is what he needs now. And I'd like to add that I never thought I'd get to see David and Andy Roddick playing doubles together...
But what's most important - David is back, at last!

(photos by Istabraq)

Finally, I'd like thank Istabraq for a terrific job this week (her final round of photos from the Queen's Club on the Photo Page), for all the great photos and the info about the matches. And I think I'm not the only one who's happy that she'll also be going to Boodles... Thank you so much!


  1. Great Post Julia. And yeah after waking up this morning I realized it wasn't at all a bad week for David, I was afraid he completely lost his track after not playing for more than a 100 days, turned out he was fine, he almost won that 1st set against Verdasco. I hope with a couple of matches under his belt in Boodles, he will go to Wimbly Fresh and energized. I didnt know Istabraq is gonna be in Boodles as well, what a perfect 2 weeks for her, great photos. Plus there is going to be a stream in Boodles, thats good news.

  2. I agree with you Noubar & Julia.
    It has been an interesting week for David, it's not like he lost in the 1st round being completely outplayed. So I'm pretty relieved that he's fine and he just needs some mental adjustments before Wimbledon.

    Istabraq is lucky to be in Boodles as well :) another round of great photos coming soon!
    can't wait to watch David!

    just read on Twitter, tweeted by Newballsplease
    "Watching the BBC setting up cameras on court one. All very exciting. #queens"
    >>> soooo they're putting cameras for Murray on court 1. Same court where David has been put without any camera :(

  3. So they only put tv cameras on Court 1 for today, because Andy Murray was supposed to play? I just watched the televised Ward-Mannarino match from there. (Of course, no-one expected another British player to get this far!)

    What seems really stupid is why they didn't have that as a televised court all along. Then it wouldn't seem such like an insult to David and the other "name" players who've been on there. On Eurosport yesterday there was a comment suggesting that some players had questioned the court allocation, and David's and Delpo's names were mentioned.

    The organisers made a big deal about what a strong field they had at Queen's this year - so why did they only think Centre Court was worth the cameras?

  4. Just seen that David is playing second on Tuesday at Boodles, against Gilles Simon. I so wish I could go! Can't wait to see Istabraq's photos and read her report.

  5. Hi Joyce, thatnks for the news, I hadn't realised the order of play was out already.

    I'm going Tuesday to Thursday - same as I booked last year (ha!) so I'm very pleased to read David will be playing on the first day. I think so far the weather forecast is quite good for that day too. (fingers crossed)

    Great photos, Joyce - especially the close-up where David is sort of diagonally in the corner. Nice expression caught there.

  6. Enjoy yourself at Boodles, I see Novak Djokovic is also participating this year and will be playing a match on Thursday - so you'll certainly have a great time. Looking forward to seeing all your photos and hearing all about it.

    It was lovely to meet you at Queens, if David plays again next year I'll definitely be there!