Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cincy R2 - David vs Andy Murray


(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Update

Before the match, I wrote that David wouldn't get away with serving the way he did in the previous round. What I couldn't foresee, however, was that he'd serve far worse... Managing to hold serve only twice throughout the match, David didn't stand a chance against Andy Murray, who prevailed 6-4, 6-1.
This defeat will cost David another 45 ranking points and somewhere around 11 positions in the rankings.

You can download the match via David on Screen (thanks, Krystle for the recording).

More tomorrow...




(Reuters; montage by VD)

It's time for the second round at Cincy today and with it for David's match against the one player whose current form is perhaps even more of a mystery than his own - fourth seed Andy Murray. Theoretically, they were already bound to meet in the third round at Montréal. However, that this match didn't get to happen last week was not only David's fault. Murray, the defending champion, crashed out in the second round (having had a bye in the first) against Kevin Anderson. It was the third time in a row that Murray lost his first match at a hardcourt Masters this season - a series that he'll want to end today.

Today's match will be the fifth encounter between these two, with the match record tied at 2-2 after four matches that included everything from five-set battle to one-sided beatdown. After David prevailed on the first two occasions (Wimbledon 2005 and Paris 2008, highlights here), Murray convincingly beat him at Toronto last year. In their last match at Paris, also last year, David was dominant at first before Murray successfully changed his tactics.

What their previous matches have shown is that for David, a lot depends on how well Murray is able to serve, how many first serves he gets in. At the same time, against Murray David won't get away with serving the way he did against Nishikori. How well he will be able to keep up with Murray from the back of the court remains to be seen and chances are that he'll have to move more and move better than in his latest matches. In short, unless Murray plays the way he did at Montréal (and I don't think he will) this match is going to be the biggest, toughest test for David since Wimbledon. Let's hope he'll be up to it.

102 comments:

  1. Perfect picture selection for the post Julia, it tells all about not having their best times at the moment.
    Although I hope ill see david's smile again at the end of the match today.

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  2. Yeah - both pics are from the one match each of them got to play at Montréal last week...
    We'll see who smiles in the end today. And if there's a bit of bad blood again like after their last match. I hope not.

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  3. couldnt get what u meant with "bad blood" ?

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  4. Isn´t play supposed to start now?

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  5. David's match is the second match on Grandstand. So it'll start when the WTA match that's on now is over.

    Noubar, I meant the medical timeout and David saying Murray "cries too much" on court.

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  6. i figured lol, wanted 2 make sure.
    well wozniacki is playing terrible, really, hope 1 of them close the match in 2

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  7. McHale just took the 1st set off Wozniacki so you know it's going to be awhile.

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  8. now i rly hopw wozniacki's match will go the distance (i know am the only 1).Because fish ended his match in center, so rafa starts early.
    otherwise am not sure which match they will broadcast if they get played together.

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  9. I am putting my Andy Murray fandom aside for today. David needs this more.

    And David is top of my "favourites" list anyway. :)

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  10. Istabraq, glad to know VD doesn't have traitors, lmao

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  11. Lol Noubar!

    Yay Istabraq, David needs us all today :)

    let me know when the match starts, I'll watch it on stream :/

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  12. Never, never! I hope I proved my dedication with all those photos I took of David this summer.
    No other players got that sort of attention from me. ;)

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  13. Good for you, Istabraq. David does "need this more." I actually like Andy when he's not playing David. Sometimes, though, he's a bit mopey.

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  14. Wow,interesting start.

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  15. What a great start - breaking Andy's serve.
    Now, what's David's serve going to be like?

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  16. yay come on David!!! now hold!

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  17. If David had a solid serve he'd beat players like Murray without breaking a sweat.

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  18. Love that backhand volley after forcing Murray to slice the backhand. He used that play a lot in their 2008 match.

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  19. Can someone explain to me why David tosses the ball so high on serve. It's completely counter productive to a smooth motion.

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  20. Crucial hold by David.
    This gonna be a very tough match, come on!!!!

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  21. 4 doubles,and still win the game...only David Nalbandian.

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  22. I don't know but he keeps serving it into the net even though he tosses it up so high! I guess that is not necessarily to do with the ball toss though, more like something to do with the legs?

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  23. The high toss can be a effective serve,the thing is,it needs a lot of timing,and David doesnt seem to really have it right now.

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  24. I think it has to do with timing maybe?

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  25. Okay, it's time for David to hold serve convincingly for once.

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  26. It ain't pretty, but he's winning.

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  27. It was really only a matter of time.

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  28. I don't see how it's any different than the majority of David's matches.

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  29. His serve wasn't always this bad in the past, though it is one of the weaker aspects of his game.

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  30. It's stupid how he keeps going for aces, and as a result, missing every first serve. Why not kick the ball to Murray's body then control the point with his superior groundstrokes. He doesn't have to do anything special.

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  31. It really looks like he cant hold serve.

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  32. im sorry guys i love and admire nalbandian more than any player in the world but his serve is just pathetic

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  33. You can have 13 break points on your serve in one set and expect to win. Not against Murray, anyway.

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  34. He's not going for aces, he can't just roll the ball in against Murray.

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  35. By now, Murray doesn't need to worry at all that he just got broken.

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  36. I cant believe how pathetic his serve was today.But on the bright side,the groundgame is looking better and better.

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  37. Ground game was pretty good in the first set, then it went downhill after that, hitting a lot of shanks and missing forehands badly.

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  38. im afraid its the end of nalbandian
    the most talented player in history has just lost his serve and his way
    its just frustrating to see how many unforced errors he makes an the serve oh boy the serve my 7 year old brother has a better one not kidding

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  39. i am so sad right now i am considering myself one of his biggest fans and i cant handle the fact is not able to play well anymore and loses to pushers so weak like murray whereas in the past he trolled him with considerable ease

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  40. i dont want to watch tennis anymore

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  41. Dont worry Asis,if he could get his ground game back to a respectable level,I hope he can improve the serve also.

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  42. I don't want to believe it's the end of David. Despite the terrible serve...
    don't know what to say anymore

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  43. you can see flashes of brilliance in the groundstrokes but the problem is if the rally lasts more than 5 strokes without a winner from david than make it an unforced error and another and another
    it not the same player of 2007 not 2008 and not even 2010
    how to ruin a career a new book by david nalbandian

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  44. I think you can blame David's body and his many injuries but hardly David himself.

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  45. i have lost my faith in him to win a grand slam or even an atp masters event
    and he should get a coach quickly if he doesnt want to be ranked 100 in the world

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  46. julia i think that he had his chances
    in 2008 especially in that australian open and he decided to give a gift to carlos ferrero one of the weakest players on the tour
    he has only himself to blame
    injuries arent the reason he has no slams

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  47. in this pic, who is this man? can u tell me? http://www.chelsea4ever.net/upp/uploads/images/c4e573f5170f4.png

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  48. That's one of David's physios and his name is Mariano Seara.

    Isis, David came from another injury when he played the AO 2008. And as I wrote in an earlier post, since hip surgery he has been getting less than ten matches on average between one injury pause and the next. Do you really think that this doesn't affect his game?

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  49. David's comebacks after injuries have always been rampant. This one is different. He is weak and missing easy shots. Obviously, he has physical problems. When serving he doesn't seem to jump with is feet. In the Wawrinka match he foot faulted many times, which is unusual in him. It is doubtful he may regain form in the next few weeks if after one week training his service woes have worsened. More so without a coach. Why would Luis Lobo leave a talented player that can bring him success and money? Maybe it's because due to his injuries there are no high expectations and he is only trying to get to play DC in the best possible way.

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  50. Am I the only one who thinks that except for the WTA serve he played pretty good today?

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  51. Adrian, no, I thought that serve ruined what would otherwise have been quite enjoyable and impressive play to watch, especially early on.

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  52. I confess I didn't watch the whole of the second set. :(

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  53. I also think he played pretty good, he had his chances,but without winning points with the serve, is difficult, he needs to find some way to correct that problem or find somebody to help him.

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  54. It went from being worried about his movement and his serve (Wawrinka match) to now being "only" worried about his serve with this match... I mean, it was good to see him play better today but he can do whatever he wants during the rallies, if he serves like this he's not going to get anywhere.

    Diegoben, Lobo didn't abandon David. He had a contract for a limited amount of time and he fulfilled it.
    And actually, I'm not that surprised that David's impressive series of comebacks didn't last forever. Somehow, I think this had to happen at some point. But to be in this situation now, without a coach and with the USO and DC semi coming up... Not good.

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  55. Nice to see so many appreciative of Nalbandian's abilities.
    Grand Slam opportunities? I've been following Nalbandian for a long time, and I recall him letting a golden opportunity slip in '03 (?), when he blew his US Open semi against Roddick. It happened again at the French a couple of years later (?) against Gaudio.
    I do think that Nalbandian was somewhat complacent then, ranked within the top 5 and probably thinking that time was on his side.
    It's a little late now, with his injuries making any sort of continuity impossible.
    But it's not the end of the world.
    There have been greater talents who've not won a Slam. The mercurial Rios immediately comes to mind. It certainly underscores the significance of the serve in the men's game.

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  56. Not so much RG 2004 where El Gato straight-setted him but the lead he blew against Baghdatis AO SF 2006.

    But - that's the past. What's done is done. So what I want, what I hope for is that he goes on playing for a little longer. Winning DC would be the dream (though he'd probably retire afterwards). But it's not looking good for this year's campaign now.

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  57. Julia,
    Gaudio was the heavy underdog in '04.
    And, yes, the AO 2006 semi-final!
    Tells you how many opportunities he had!
    And you're right, it is spilt milk.
    Now, the mind is willing but the flesh is weak.
    Davis Cup would turn his career around, but
    that is not looking likely, against Serbia
    and Novak at his absolute prime.

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  58. i want nalbandian with a slam and ill never request anything else

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  59. I would've wanted that too but it's not going to happen.

    Tkho, underdog or no, he beat David quite comfortably. ;)
    Anyway, were Argentina to win DC I think it would turn his career towards retirement, having achieved his big dream. But yeah - not looking good now and not just because of David.

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  60. is too much to ask for a player this good and talented
    when nalbandian is on he is the best ive seen ever in any sport
    i just got goosebumps on every acute angle and ground strokes out of this world
    i want nalbandian back
    otherwise for me tennis is dead

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  61. i think with a coach and a renew dedication he can pull it off

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  62. I think my perspective on this is a very different one.

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  63. I think if they win it this year hes not going to retire.29 would be really early,way too early despite all the injury problems.Maybe end of 2013 would be a logical time.Speaking of DC,lets cheer on Djokovic to make the US Open final so he maybe pulls out of the DC.

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  64. Isis, I wanted that always and only since last weeks I can't hardly hope.
    @tkho and FO Semi 2006 when he retired against Federer.

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  65. I agree with what Adrian said earlier about David's game being pretty good , but the serve being WTA caliber. David is not too old to make some adjustments. Djokovic tweaked his serve some from last year and look what it's done for him. It takes some of the pressure off having to be so good from the baseline.

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  66. Adrian, I think the chances of winning DC this year are very slim. But if they were to win it next year, for example - who knows.

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  67. I guess I just hope he gets somebody to help him. Because I don't see how he can sort out these serve problems by himself.

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  68. I mean,it really depends whos gonna be there,whos gonna be playing for either side,I think the DC SF is very important tho to the rest of Davids year.If they progress to the final hes gonna really be motivated to play some good tennis till the end of the season.

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  69. David played in the begin much better what I expected for the whole match before the match started. Despite some errors he was nearly in top form but his serve ruined the match and then in second he also began to do much more UEs.
    Julia, I am only worried about his serve too now :) the rest will be improved automatically when he keeps on working and playing matches.
    I guess for the first time my hopes will be less then ever for David in a Grand Slam in next USO

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  70. Can't agree more Julia about getting a coach. Despite this he was not serving so bad when he had a coach.

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  71. Julia,
    Your point about the comprehensiveness of the Gaudio defeat is well-taken.
    What i'm saying is that Nalbandian has oftentimes throughout his career made it to the business end of Slams, only to "blow" it.
    I don't wish to take anything away from Gaudio but I remember that match to be particularly lacklustre on Nalbandian's part. Hence, the comprehensiveness of the defeat.
    Needless to say, opportunities of such a nature are rare for professional athletes, even the most talented of them. One has to seize them when they come.
    Unfortunately, it seems like it has always been a "mind" thing for David when his body was still holding up. Now there's also the physical challenge to go along with it.

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  72. That's true, Adrian. It's just that Delpo isn't in spectacular form either. Nor Pico, nor Chela. And Schwank is struggling with an injury. All of that adds to my pessimism about the DC SF mission.

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  73. i wish nalbandian takes atp masters paris and dc
    and next years australian
    and retire straight after
    whos with me?

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  74. Ashot, yeah, only one thing now. But still enough to worry about...

    Tkho, I don't think it was always just a mind thing. Or that David is generally unable to keep his nerve in situations like that. His DC record tells a different story.
    But at this stage, the physical problems really overshadow everything else.
    And who knows whether there is something physical behind this serve problem. That he says he's fine doesn't have to mean anything. And I'm not even sure whether that would be "better" or worse.

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  75. Tkho,I dont really think it was that much mental,rather it was kind of Davids serve that held him back and his natural stature,his technique of serving isnt that horrible,but hes a small guy and cant get that much power behind it.I mean look at the whole top 10,even 20,except for Ferrer there pretty much all 185 cm plus and Davids probably like 178,so tack on 10 cm Im sure he would have had a bigger serve,so its not like hes the most gifted player of all time.

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  76. julia lets send an open letter to david regarding our last demands from him

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  77. You can send a message to David via VD's Argentine partner site. The link is on the front page.

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  78. Good point about the serve, Adrian.

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  79. I was just reading Andy Roddicks fb page,so many messages of support for him,one which really hit my eye was a few people wrote he will always be number 1. in their hearts and I can say the same thing for Nalby,lets just enjoy what he has to give us in the upcoming years.When it comes to his carer,hes got 2 Masters events,1 World tour final(who knows maybe in 50 years that will be a bigger achievement than a Grand Slam :) ).

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  80. The problems with Davids serve aren't physical or technical, they are just mental

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  81. If it's mental then why is it only his serve that's affected?

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  82. WTA serve are u kidding me? Serena is a wta player, david only wishes to serve like her. It's not the anger speaking really, but if David doesnt do something about his serve, i can't even see him climbing inside the top 40 once more. Everything was terrible today, who cares if he played a good 1st set, he lost it didnt he?it was so obvious, when murray broke to 4-4 i was 100% sure the set was gone, just the way he choked when he meet him last year, twice he couldnt serve to stay in the set, same happened here.
    not to mention the 2nd set, a complete disaster, missing easy forehands, when rallies more than 5 shots, point murray. Its just pretty clear what the problem is, he cant cover the court like in the past, he tries to play "1st strike tennis" like federer said, and that puts a lot of pressure, he goes 4 impossible winners, high margin for errors.
    is it mental? Yes
    is it physical? yes
    can he improve? hope so

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  83. Serve is sometimes mental problem too (serve to stay in the set or to win the set) but in general it's not a mental problem. I think it's physical problem because he doesn't move his body so like others when serving, it's like a senior serve

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  84. Noubar, I don't think that everything was terrible today. And I also don't think that he played first-strike tennis. On the contrary, I thought he constructed the points a lot better than in his last matches, even if he made too many UEs. But it's not like you could expect him to play a great match out of nowhere.
    I just don't think that the rallies were the problem. It was his serve - once again. It's been far from good, even by his standards, these last few matches. And against Murray it's bound to be even more obvious.
    The thing is, he came back playing poorly after the latest pause. But while the rest of his game has improved again, his serve hasn't. And it's not something that's just limited to the important moments. It's simply always bad. And that makes me think it's not mental. Instead, it seems like he has completely lost his "serve rhythm", as in the physical ability to serve at least halfway okay. And I hope he's going to get someone to help him sort it out.

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  85. Well, there's often alot of pressure when you're serving, he just really lacks confidence serving. That's at least how I see it when I'm watching him serve, I know the feeling of having no confidence on serve.

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  86. Often, maybe. But all of the time? As I've said, if it was worse in the important moments, okay. If his whole game was affected by nerves, okay. But that's not what I saw today.

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  87. @Julia, I was talking only about the 2nd set in my explanations, yes the 1st set was pretty good, especially on return, but again the serve coasted him the set at the end of it.
    what worries me the most is that the ability to serve well does not have to do much with lack of match practice, its simply about the body motions, ya, he doesn't jump or use his body, there must be some1 to help him with that, he must hire a coach asap. I mean not a single normal serve, every single time he goes down 0-30 or 15-40 and yes defend some BPs with brilliance, but y he makes life harder at the 1st place.

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  88. I think he should play on challanger tours for a while to find his serve again and to be more stable from the ground.it would be helpful for him because at the atp tour level he can't really win a single match with that kind of service game.i havent seen anyone hitting 3-4 double faults in a service game! Recently david's game reminds me Anna Kournikova She also played kind of well in her return game but she always gave the break back due to her terible service game.

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  89. I have never seen Kournikova but yesterday he reminded me Dementieva in her "bad" days lol
    ok, at least there was no "dirty blood" yesterday :)
    I have hardly watch the second set yesterday. After he was broken in first I had the bad feeling it won't be better with his serve today.
    Everybody instead him won't do better with the serve he has.
    I wish that he plays next week too, but he must know himself what's better to do to improve his serve, a coach is needed asap to help him.

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  90. point of the match
    http://youtu.be/NLq15JZ-Z3s

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  91. Guys, David is actually playing great... Im analyzed the match and his in-play game is improving very very quickly... Imagine, he was able to hold his serve, than all good really.. Murray would have been toast easy.. The SERVE is the issue, it has always been the issue, but since his recovery he has lost his ability to serve consistently., I mean 4 doubles in one service game, there is clearly something wrong... If they can address this problem in the coming weeks... I think he can be as good as ever, even better because now he has no hip problems,.,, and no what you guys might say,.., he is still very young.,.. and looks trim... It has always been mental weakness his problem... so cmon./... keep your chin up King, you will show all them soon....

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  92. While he has a minor technical problem on his serve - he doesn't quite get up - i think it is overshadowed by (i) his mental state, and (ii) his physical mobility.
    It is of course not possible to say definitively which is more problematic, but I believe that at this level, much of it is mental.
    After all, he's had this particular technical problem on his serve for years - hence, his inability to generate the sort of pace of most of his peers - but it didn't stop him from reaching all those Grand Slam semi-finals.
    Of course, not having a big serve meant that he had to counterpunch, which was alright until he was beset with injuries.
    You can only imagine what goes through his head now, with neither much of a serve nor the mobility to defend. He’s under tremendous pressure when he steps up to that line to serve.
    On that note, some of you might want to see some clips of David in his first couple of years on the tour. I was struck by how different his serve was then - he seemed to get up a lot more. Also, he actually could move!

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  93. But that he's slower now and also being under pressure isn't new. His hip problems (which severely affected both his mobility and his serve) already began at IW 2008. Since then his movement has never been what it was before.
    What's worrying not only for me I guess is that until now he was able to deal with it, with being slower now as well as with the frequent injuries and pauses since hip surgery. But not this time, it seems. The point for me is not what used to be at the start of his career but the situation as it is now, with all its implications.

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