Monday, September 5, 2011

US Open R3: Defeated but on the Right Track - David's Loss to Nadal



Before the match, David said that playing against Rafael Nadal means long rallies and a lot of rhythm, things that he likes. And it was a match with plenty of long rallies, spectacular and entertaining ones, especially the first set (thanks, Noubar for the highlights). Still, in the end, it was a single shot that proved decisive in the important moments of this match. And it wasn't Nadal's forehand or David's backhand but - the double fault.

In the first set, David demonstrated how effective his game can be against Nadal. Taking the ball early, playing aggressively and controlling the rallies especially with his backhand, he was the better player on court. And the break that he managed to get (for 3-2) only seemed like the logical consequence, even if it was brought about by a double fault from Nadal. But David also served well in this first set, gaining a fair amount of cheap points and never really getting himself into trouble - until he served for it at 5-4. Until then it had been a fine line he had been treading, with his risky, aggressive play paying off. But now, under pressure, the balance shifted. A couple of loose shots set up the first break points he faced in this match and then came - the double fault.
In the eventual tiebreaker, David got unlucky when he slipped on court at 5-5, granting Nadal a set point on his own serve, which the Spaniard took.

After this unfortunate turn of events, the timing of David's shots, their precision and with it his dominance during the rallies were gone. Still struggling to come to terms with the loss of the first set, he immediately went down a double break and only just managed to avoid getting bagelled. At this stage, it wasn't clear whether David had run out of gas after the first set and was perhaps physically no longer able to keep up with Nadal.

The third set, however, began on a different note, with David breaking Nadal's serve. And even though he wasn't able to consolidate the break afterwards, it was the first sign that David had not given up on himself. And that he still had enough left in the tank to put up a fight. After losing his serve again and finding himself down 5-2, David fought back and took the next three games, including a break against Nadal as he was serving for the match. Serving to stay in it at 5-6, however, David faced match points and after having saved the first one came - the double fault.

A somewhat inappropriate ending for a, for the most part, highly competitive and entertaining match. And the first set has to be among the best David has played since hip surgery. He knew that he had to take risks and though this aggressive strategy worked well, it also had its price: 60 unforced errors for the match, compared to 36 winners (Nadal: 18/22). And once more, it was also David's serve that cost him, or rather his inability to hold serve at crucial stages of the match. Including those untimely double faults.
Still, the level of play that he was able to produce during the first set, as well as his comeback in the third are the positive things that can be taken from this match.

After the match, Rafael Nadal made headlines of a different kind when he collapsed during his presser, plagued by cramps. During the English part of his (slightly less eventful) press conference, David mostly had to answer questions about Nadal. But he also talked to Spanish-speaking press and here's a couple of quotes.
It gets more difficult for me every year to win a Grand Slam. I think that the Davis Cup is a more real goal and one I can pursue. (Source.)
If I can play well for one set I can also do it for two or three. I didn't feel tired today, I think I won't have problems playing five sets in Davis Cup. (Source.)
However, according to Fue Buena, David also said that his "adductor bothered him a little". Which brings back some bad memories of the Federer match at Wimbledon and the price at which it came. Whether it's bad and if so how bad, I'll try to find out.
In any case, David will now travel to Miami where he's going to train and prepare for the upcoming Davis Cup semifinal. And then, next Friday he'll be on his way to Belgrade (source).


UpdateII (07/09)
News from David's training camp in Miami. Apparently his adductor still hurt on Monday but on Tuesday he "trained in double shifts with a lot less pain than the day before" (via Danny Miche).


Update
As Danny Miche reports, Martin Jaite announced today that the exhibition match between David and Rafael Nadal, planned to take place at the Parque Roca in December, has been cancelled.

(photos: Reuters, Matthew Stockman/Getty Images & Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

37 comments:

  1. Rafa is taller then David :O

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  2. i have a feeling david will do damage in paris masters
    if he plays in this level minus the rustiness he is among the elite

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  3. he could do it already last year :) but we know what his problems are/were :)
    Paris is the only Masters for the rest of the season, right?

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  4. both indoors.
    thnx 4 d post. any news from david regarding the pain ?

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  5. No news so far. I guess it'll be a couple of days.
    Shanghai counts as an outdoor event, though.

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  6. oh, I had already forgotten because David didn't play there for long lol

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  7. The audio is way off on that video clip.

    And I recorded these last few points in the match because I wanted to see how they shook hands or w/e at the end of the match. It put a big smile on my face to see the great sportsmanship of both these two great champions. They're such good friends.

    I was talking about this earlier when watching early into the Tsonga/Fish match saying that Fish would have been a better opponent for Nalbandian and Tsonga for Nadal. It just wasn't fair for Nalby to play Nadal. Nadal is much more fit, more agile, etc. (most new players are).

    But it's the love for the sport, and the fans who keep cheering him on. I'm glad the audience and even Rafa gave him an big applause when he was leaving the court. He deserved it.

    Looking forward to downloading this match at some point in the near future.

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  8. You can download it right now. You'll find the links on the David on Screen page.

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  9. i want david to take martin jaiti as coach again
    he had a good affect on davids game and mindset

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  10. Jaite didn't want to travel on the Tour anymore. And apparently he's happy, organising tournaments/exhos. (Though he might become DC captain one day, who knows.)

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  11. Im pretty sure one day David will be the captain.

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  12. I'm having a look at MTF right now on the entry lists thread, and Thomas Johansson posted on his Twitter only three days ago that David is playing Stockholm. See here. Perhaps he will get a wildcard then. He didn't make it into the cut-off for the entry list.

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  13. Thanks for the tip. He's on the entry list as an alternate but I guess they'll give him a WC then.

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  14. looks like our guy is getting WCs everywhere, its a luxury for them to have a player like him in the draw, the man of surprises, and they surely like surprises

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  15. Well, he's a former champion at Stockholm. And even if it's a different event in Shanghai now, I've read a few times on forums etc how his TMC victory 2005 made David quite popular there.

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  16. i realized he has many Chinese fans actually .
    He wants to make the most of the indoor season apparently

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  17. Let's hope he can make the most of it. :)
    But yeah, I remember the posters people had at Qi Zhong Arena, especially in 2007. "David we miss you" and things like that. It was very sweet. Will be his first Shanghai Masters, by the way. If he gets there this time.

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  18. yea, he must like that city as well, winning his biggest title there,David really does well indoors, even last year the results were good.right now, am starting to get excited for the DC really. I'll be in beirut at that time and will do the full highlights hopefully, no internet problems there at least.Shwank was somehow important though for the doubles.

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  19. And now Schwank is the only one who's still in the draw at the USO - but in mixed doubles. ;)
    The DC weekend will be complete chaos for me, due to other obligations. I've already warned Krystle... lol

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  20. Tipsarovic is in bestform at the moment, Monaco maybe too but only David and Juan can have a chance against him if he plays so good in Davis Cup too, "if". But for Serbia is DC also important now especially after their victory and they will do their best too in semi, so the chances are less now. Del Potro und Nalbandian must do their best to have a chance.

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  21. It's going to be a hell of a tie. But that was clear from the start, I think.

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  22. it will. and so happy about the news, that he felt less pain yesterday, it means nothing serious, maybe too much pressure from the running against rafa, although he was the one who made rafa run all over, he had cramps in the Press c.lol

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  23. They asked Roddick about this and he said it's something that happens to everybody now and then, just usually not during the press conference.
    But David did make Rafa work, that's true.

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  24. Julia, i think david is really back this time, i finally saw the level i wanted for him, of course there are some gaps to work on still, serve etc..
    but i think he was like nalbandian 2008 that day, not yet 2007, but little slower, but he really did move well, commentators said, for a guy who supposed to not move well, chased down every drop shot and lobbed it. super stuff.
    Just injuries must stay away from him, and his there

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  25. I think he plays better against the top players. He seems to put more into those matches (and it will be the same in DC). But they're also more likely to result in physical problems. So I'm glad that this time it's apparently not as bad as it was after the Fed match.
    It was great to see him play the way he did in the first set. Now I hope that he'll be able to do it more consistently. And that he stays healthy, of course.

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  26. good said Julia
    He move well 3 times this season, against Hewitt, Federer and Nadal. And after each time I was afraid that he gets injured. I am still not sure if it's not so bad when they said he had much less pain yesterday. The same was before DC against Romania where he had less pain before the match when he trained.

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  27. Before the tie against Romania he was only able to do some light hitting, couldn't train properly.
    So I think it's different this time.

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  28. Noubar, I agree with you that "David is really back this time." All the other times there were hints that he might be back, but his play never resembled the way he played against Nadal on Sunday. He really ran Nadal ragged. And yeah, Julia, he does play better against the better players. Wish he could put the hammer down when he plays lesser players. He makes life so difficult for himself sometimes by playing to their level. Glad to know the strain, which I assume it is, isn't bad.

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  29. he needs to make afinal push to his career
    give his very best and be as fit as he can in order to get back to the top ten or more importantly take masters and than the grand slam we have been waiting for

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  30. he has to retire with a grand slam otherwise its robbery

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  31. my only problem was that he seems to have given up on this dream when he spoke to mats wilander
    thats sad

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  32. He's being realistic.
    DC is the big one for him, anyway.

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  33. realistic is to believe in yourself and not limiting your goals

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  34. His body creates those limitations for him.

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  35. isis, I don't think that's the definition of realistic, lol. Maybe ambitious would be a more appropriate word.

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