Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mission Impossible... David bows out to Blake

This match was supposed to be the start of David's "mission" of trying to defend his Washington title. Now it has not only become the first comeback match after an injury that David has lost since hip surgery. This match and his defeat will also see David drop out of the Top 50 and practically lose his chance of being seeded at the US Open.
In other words, it was a painful defeat that David suffered last night. And a costly one.

After having held serve easily in the opening game, David had the chance to break serve at 1-0. But James Blake held serve for 1-1 - and then, seemingly from out of nowhere, David's game and especially his serve simply collapsed. Making only 31% first serves in this set and winning only 33% of his second serves (on which he had to almost exclusively rely in the important moments), David got broken twice and eventually lost the first set 6-2.
In the opening game of the second, David immediately lost his serve again and although he managed to make the match more competitive in this set and also managed to stabilise his serve, he was unable to retrieve the early break. And in the end, this one break was enough for Blake to take the second set 6-4, putting a premature end to David's Washington campaign.
That's my very brief summary of this match. Here is David's, it's the only quote from him that I've been able to find:
My serve didn't work very good in the beginning. It was tough. Second set I served better but a little late. I was OK. I just need matches to be in good shape again.
There was a lot at stake in this match, most of all those 500 ranking points from winning the title last year. Now that those 500 points will be gone on Monday, there's going to be a lot at stake in each and every match that David will play in the coming weeks. Even if it'll mostly be about trying to cut his losses.
Next week, David will be ranked in the mid-50s. But even to just stay there, in the mid-50s, he'll have to match his results from last year. Therefore anything less than a quarterfinal and a third round at Montréal and Cincy will see David lose further points - and even more ground in the rankings. Here it should be noted that David won't be seeded, neither at Montréal, nor at Cincy. - And almost certainly also not at the US Open, which would require a ranking in the upper or mid-30s.
Before the start of the US hardcourt swing, David said that his main focus would be on getting in shape. For the US Open and for the Davis Cup semifinal. Whether last night's match has been indicative of his current shape or whether it was simply a bad day that David had on court - we'll have to wait and see.
(photo: Matthew Stockman/AFP/Getty Images)


  1. I watched a little of the match between Blake and Delpo at Los Angeles. Blake was in fine form and Delpo only just scraped in with a tie break in the second. It was clearly a struggle and perhaps he lost a little confidence before falling to Gulbis in the following match. With no recent match practice I didn't think David had a chance against Blake. It's just one of those things in tennis. The seeding simply didn't reflect the actual and current player capabilities. David will have to work hard and stay brave. I'm sure he knows about this blog and is encouraged by it. So keep up the good work, guys!

  2. Hi there, it's been a while since I've seen you here.
    Well, for my part I did think David had a chance, also without match practice. And that Blake's L.A. match against Delpo says more about Delpo's current form than his. After all, there's a reason why Blake is where he is now.
    But David played a poor match. And the question now is whether it was one poor match or more than that.
    As for VD, nope, I don't think he does. But he's not my 'target group' anyway. ;)

  3. At least we wont have to wait long to see him,I suspect he could be in action on Monday.

  4. And on Friday we'll know what his draw for Montréal will look like.

  5. I don't know but I got a bad vibe looking at the photos of David at the players' party before the tournament started. I don't think he's looking so great at the moment - too thin and just not quite right. Possibly lack of match practise, and maybe still a distance to go to get his muscle mass back up after the virus earlier in the year. Or maybe I'm just talking rubbish, I'd be interested to hear what everyone else thinks ;-)

    I hope he can get a few wins under his belt in the next couple of weeks, more for confidence than ranking points. And he needs to stay injury free - if not I would not be surprised if this is the beginning of the end :-(

    I also hope he gets a few day matches in Montreal and Cincy so I can watch him, this working malarky is seriously impeding on my David watching lol.

  6. I think he looked very good in the practice photos and clips. And he looked thin by his standards but fine in the pics/vid from last night. I wouldn't read too much in those players party pics.

    But yeah, he'll need to win matches. And not just for his confidence, I'm afraid. He needs to keep a decent ranking. And that makes for a situation that's very different from last year, where it was more like a game - how far up can he go until the USO? Now it's the other way around...

  7. looking at the video, david played terrible... so many UE's.

  8. On a lighter note: David's exho match against Rafa is now pretty much confirmed (organised by Martin Jaite's company Alma Producciones, by the way). Another exho match in Buenos Aires that's in the making: Delpo vs Nole.

    And I'd like to thank Danny Miche for the laugh I had at his tweet: "3 years later, Spain finally play DC in Cordoba, in this case against France in the semifinal. A shame that David can't play."
    Good one.

    that stole the thunder of ur exhibition news

  10. Does anybody know at what time is the draw tomorrow?

  11. Noubar, depends on which exho you find more interesting. ;) Though it's not clear yet if the Delpo/Nole one will happen.

    Adrian, the draw will take place at 4pm EST.

  12. what a shame, we could be watching nalby vs isner right now.

    it seems david's best days are gone, after what he showed in 07 masters he could have achieved so much more and won some slams. maybe he still has another good run in him, ivanesevic won wimbledon at the end of his career although he had a huge serve.

  13. Every thing is possible with David, Anonymous.

  14. First off, love the site. Keep up the great work. Second, shame he lost, but will still watch the tournament till the end. See who the new -- unfortunate -- champ will be.

  15. Thanks and welcome to the comments.
    Well, I'm no longer paying attention to Washington, I'm already thinking about Montréal. A tournament that I like.
    Speaking of which, two of David's opponents last year have withdrawn, Ferrer and Söderling, plus Roddick.

  16. expect the unexpected. david might have a rly good run in canada.
    Julia even though he lost to blake, 2 things i noticed yesterday, i watched blake vs isner on tv, and i assure you blake was playing an incredible tennis, he hit backhand inners that federer can only dream abt, second thind, when u watch the blake nalbandian highlights, yes david makes tons on UEs, but notice his movements, really perfect it was, moving around the court very well, full rotation before striking the balls, thats y am a bit relieved.lets wait n c

  17. I think I figured it out, he lost to blake so that his ranking would drop just so I would have a better chance of seeing him on one of the opening day of Cincinnati while i'm there! Mr. Nalbandian is such a smart guy!

  18. He wouldn't have been seeded anyway. ;) Well, I hope you'll get to see him - and that it's going to be a good match.

    Noubar, I don't doubt that Blake played a very good match against David. But still, David played a rather poor one. If he wants to get anywhere next week he'll have to beat tougher opponents than Blake. But if he plays and especially serves like that, well...