Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Washington R2 - David vs James Blake


(Nick Wass/AP Photo)

Update II
David's quest to defend his Washington title has ended before it really began - with a defeat at the hands of James Blake, who won 6-2, 6-4. In a match that only took 72 minutes, David's game and especially his serve fell apart completely from 1-1 on in the first set. And while in the second set, David apparently managed to consolidate his game at least a little bit, the break that James Blake secured early on in the second proved to be enough to win the match.

This defeat and the resulting loss of those 500 ranking points from last year will see David drop down to around #55 next week.

Some photos from the match now on the Photo Page.

More tomorrow...



(Getty Images; montage by VD)

38 days after his last match in the third round at Wimbledon, and after missing out on the Davis Cup quarterfinal tie because of the adductor problems he picked up during that match, today it's time for David to make another comeback. And not surprisingly, this comeback match will be against James Blake, who didn't have any difficulties, beating Tatsuma Ito 6-3, 6-3 in the first round yesterday.

Question - what do David and James Blake have in common? First of all, they've both won this tournament before, even though it's almost a decade that lies between David's victory last year and Blake's back in 2002 (his first title on the Tour). But that's not where the similarities end.
Just like David, James Blake, aged 31 by now, has had his share of injury problems and pauses recently. And therefore, when the two of them walk on court tonight, for both of them it'll only be the 20th ATP match they get to play this season.
But whereas David has a quarterfinal and a final to his name this year, Blake, currently ranked #90, hasn't made it past the third round at any of the ATP-level tournaments he has played (with his best results having come at Challenger events).

The only previous encounter between David and James Blake took place almost five years ago, in the semifinal of the Masters Cup in Shanghai, 2006 (Andvari's highlights of that match you can watch here). Back then, David was also the defending champion and back then he ended up losing convincingly to Blake, who managed to to control the rallies with very aggressive play from the baseline and also punished David for his weak serving. Still - that was almost five years ago. Five years that seem to have taken an even bigger toll on James Blake than they have on David. And apart from that, there's David's special record: Ever since hip surgery he has never lost any of his (by now several) comeback matches.

But whatever today's match will look like - we won't get to see it. As once more it's: no coverage, only the scoreboard.

Update
Here are some photos of David, training.
Edit: The AAT has now confirmed that the Davis Cup semifinal (September 16-18) will be held at the Belgrade Arena, on an "acrylic" surface, similar to the one that was used at Mar del Plata.

60 comments:

  1. It hadn't really registered with me about David winning all his comeback matches so far - of course I followed them all carefully, just hadn't made the connection. :)

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  2. ya, the case was same with me istabraq.
    and i was surprised they only met once, hope david takes revenge today.

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  3. Now we know, let's hope nothing changes there! :0

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  4. Interesting about David winning all his comeback matches. Must mean he doesn't comeback until he's really ready. That's a good thing. Whenever I've seen Blake play over the past year or so, I've found him to be very streaky. Patches of brilliance followed by walkabouts. I think David just needs to play steady. Yeah, Julia, Gulbis is a bit of a head case. Of course carousing with Marat certainly isn't going to help your training. Hope Cañas can knock some sense into Ernie.

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  5. I expect david to train with gulbis in the coming days. Canas being his coach will certainly help effect david relation to ernie. and they did train together in the past when gulbis went to argentina, i still dont know who organised that

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  6. I guess his previous coach did, who was also from Argentina. And yeah, maybe they'll train together again in the coming weeks.

    John, hanging out with Marat didn't do any harm to Nole's progress on the Tour. ;) I mean, Ernie is a bit of a wild (and occasionally naughty) child but he's still a couple of light years away from Marat.

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  7. I hope Gulbis is not wasting his talent and the expectations tennis fans had when he turned up in the Tour...

    David has to continue this special record yay :)

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  8. Yeah, Julia, I don't think hanging out with Marat will do Ernie any real harm. My comment was rather tongue in cheek. Working with Cañas could be the best thing for Ernie. He definitely has Top 10 potential, maybe even Top 5. He and David have two of the best backhands in the business. Too bad we have to follow on the scoreboard tonight.

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  9. Gonzalez is not gonna play. Does that mean David will play at his time?

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  10. Amer Delic replaces him.
    Poor Feña...

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  11. I see, thanks. There goes my hope 'seeing' David sooner lol.

    Poor Feña indeed

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  12. ya whenever thy pull out in 1st round, always LL takes his place. Anyway ive always liked haas as well, hope he pulls out a victory in 2 sets

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  13. Feña's complete demolition of Haas in the AO SF 2007 is one of my favourite matches of all time. ;)

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  14. And John, I've just read an interview with Cañas. Seems like the whole image is true: "He doesn't like to practice much, he doesn't like to go to the gym but he has to and he knows that."
    Somehow the thought of an exasperated Willy Cañas, trying to drag Ernie to the gym does have its charm.

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  15. Haha! no wonder people are calling him "scruffy"!
    also, he needs to mature, same age as a guy like Del Potro but obviously not the same maturation lol.

    1:22am here, I can't believe I'm still up... for a scoreboard! :)

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  16. Yep, it's going to be another long night...

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  17. tommy is a good boy, he didnt let me down, 2 games away from victory. Time for david now :)

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  18. Thanks, Julia, for the tidbit. Despite the difficulty of trying to tame this wild boy, I'm sure Willy is paid well. Ernie is undoubtedly the the wealthiest player on tour sans earnings and endorsements. That's unless Pops keeps him on an allowance. Let the games begin.

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  19. Pretty comfortable 1st service game!! And a... footfault! haha

    Vamos David!

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  20. "foot fault lol"

    Oops!

    Okay, first game in the bag.

    And...b-r-e-a-t-h-e.

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  21. david got broken ? 2-1 for blake says atpworldtour.com upper bar livescore

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  22. 3-1 Blake. :(

    And another foot fault!

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  23. 0-30, what the hell is happening ??????

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  24. it's getting worse. Double break. Blake up 4-1 :(

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  25. something must be wrong, david not winning points

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  26. Geez, this is bad. David never gets blown out.

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  27. God tell me i didnt wait until 3 am for this. we dont deserve this

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  28. same here Noubar. It's a disaster...

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  29. the picture is clear. Blake has nothing to lose plus playing in front of home crowd, am sure its the old james blake out there, sharp backhand and strong serve and fh as well, might be tough to handle

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  30. David's serve is a catastrophe.

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  31. for the love of GOD converttttttt

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  32. To hell Nalby .. what do u do?

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  33. If David could only get his first serve in. When he does he's winning the point 82% of the time. This is dreadful.

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  34. half a chance 30 all, cmmon man

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  35. obviously playing a bit better, hope its not too late

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  36. 40-0, definitely not the break time, shit.
    cmmon make a comebackkkk

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  37. 40-0 >Deuce. u dont deserve the win dave, comma

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  38. I don't like this at all..

    But when I saw the picture with his orange shirt it made me a bit happier :)

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  39. Ummm, no. ;)

    Well, so much for the perfect streak of winning his comeback matches... Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it. But the question is of course - what the hell happened out there tonight?

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  40. This is a very tough loss,if he doesnt find some form fast,David will be on his way out of the top 100.

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  41. Only if he loses all of his points, all the way from Washington to and including the US Open. I've calculated it.

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  42. Im really scared right now,pretty much hes not gained any points all year and now while not being in tip top shape hes defending almost everything.I really hope he can get something going at Montreal or Cincy,well see what happens next week in Montreal and see if this is just a bad match up or day,or hes just not got anything going for him.

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  43. Yeah, right now it's not clear if this was just one of those bad matches he plays from time to time or whether there's more behind it.
    I'll try and find out more.
    Still, I guess that hope now rests most of all on Montréal, given David's not exactly great record at Cincy. Though at Montréal he has twice the amount of points to defend.

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  44. Coincidentally, #55 is where Ernie is ranked at the moment...

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  45. Hopefully he does at Cincy this year because I will be there......

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  46. Yesterday I went to sleep a minute before the match started and today when I woke up I decided to see the results on TV teletext which I hardly do any more but I had a bad feeling because mostly when I see the results in teletext I see clear 2 set defeats from David instead of clear 2 set wins (for example the final in Acapulco 2008). And today happened the same again but I hoped that the results were false and turnt my computer immediately on and visited Vamos David to see the real results.
    Tough I know that with David everything is possible but I can't understand how he could lose a set against someone who hardly won matches this year, but he did it worth with 2 clear set defeats.
    I wait excited for the interview from David to hear how he explains this. I know only that he has trained hard in last month.

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  47. After sleeping on this loss, it doesn't look any better than the scoreboard showed last night. Hopefully, it's just one of those bad matches David has from time to time, only this time it happened in the opening round. I saw Olivier Rochus play John Isner a few weeks ago at Newport and he serves better than David. Rochus is 5-foot-5, maybe 5-foot-6. I mean, c'mon.

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  48. Juan Carballo made like last year a vid of the match: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjpv_5qff60

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  49. Blake is always unpredictable - at his best, he can outplay absolutely anyone (although usually not for a whole match). I wouldn't be surprised to see him shove Djokovic off the court for a set or so, if he really got his timing right. The other day he gave Del Potro a hard time in Los Angeles.

    Speaking of which, the big Davis Cup bid is looking a bit hopeless right now.Del Potro, who was supposed to be the virtual world #5 or something, got trounced by Gulbis; and now David shows that he is way out of form. It will take something close to a miracle for them to get in shape to challenge Serbia.

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  50. Andvari, I know and the clip will be in my post. I saw last weekend that Juan would be there again. Now he's going to do "reduced coverage" after David's exit...

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  51. Blake from what I saw didnt play anything special,David was horrible,dont think Ive ever seen the backhand look so bad in a very long time,if anybody from the top 150 was his opponent I think he would have lost.I hope he gets things together for Montreal.

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  52. There goes the ranking points...
    Hopefully David will play better next week when I can follow. :)

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  53. David had maybe no mood to play without a Vamos Davider near him :)

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