Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stockholm R2 - David Saves Match Points to Overcome Malisse


(Highlights by Andvari - thanks)

It’s been a few years since David last appeared in Stockholm. Back then, I remember David showing a masterclass of fine ballstriking on a fast indoor court. Awesome reflexes taking the ball early on the baseline, and showing a great ability to change directions with ease. Returning to the scene of glory, one would have thought that David might have come back with good memories, but instead he played a match much unlike that run in 2008. David needed to save two match points, before overcoming Xavier Malisse 4-6 7-6(8) 7-6(3).

Statistically David had about double the unforced errors that Malisse did for most of the match, only finally improving towards the end. Regardless of whether the ball was going in or not, he didn’t seem to have much control over the timing of his shots or where he was hitting the ball. He often caught the ball a fraction late, and he was rarely able to raise his level in the first two sets.

He handed over his first service game of the match with a double fault, and three errors. Malisse started the match poorly himself, handing back the break at 2-1. There was speculation that the standard of tennis, was because of all the distracting background noise going on in the crowd. I’m not sure whether that was the case. But Malisse ended up breaking David’s serve from 40-0 up, with a half-hearted dropshot return. Then out of nowhere, he hit a few flashy winners.


(Photo taken by Denise Yoko Berndt - thanks)

Considering that David was struggling with returning Malisse’s serve quite frequently, this was enough for Malisse to hold onto the set. There was one game in the match where Malisse served 4 straight aces to win a service game! Though David’s average baseline play also contributed to the difficulty which he faced this match. The one bright area in David’s game today were his volleys, in particular the backhand volleys. I guess they probably made up most of the highlight reel material.

The longer the match went on, the more he became frustrated, signaling at himself and talking to himself, perhaps giving mental pointers to himself on what he could do better, except never really being able to pull it off. It became a running dialogue. Hopefully, in the next round, he is able to make more of an adjustment to the speed of the court.

David briefly went up a break in the second set to go up 4-2, before playing horribly and handing it straight back in the next service game. It’s a bit hard to describe the majority of this match, because there were a lot of uninspiring rallies, where each point looked relatively similar to the eye.

David had a set point at 6-5 in the second set. It seemed like the perfect opportunity, considering that Malisse was losing his temper, but he put it to good use on serve with a service winner and two aces to take the set into a tie-break. In the tie-break, Malisse got up to a 5-2 lead (and somewhere before that, David threw his racquet for the first time in ages). David hadn’t strung many points together, but match points down, David struck the ball cleanly and refused to give Malisse a cheap point. It sure was good timing for David to come up with his best tennis in the match, on those match points down.

He then went on to play a few excellent games to get up an early break. Suddenly his forehand was much more aggressive and working better. Still, after a brief hot streak, the match went back to more of both players slapping away at the ball again, also showing some signs of tiredness. David couldn’t close it out serving for the match. In fact, he played quite poorly. But fortunately, just like the second set, he had a few good points in him in the tie-break and that was the crucial difference.

20 comments:

  1. I actually found this match to be very entertaining especially towards the end of the 2nd set and beginning of the 3rd.There were some points and stuff you rarely see on a tennis court like 4 aces in a row,drop shots off serves,amazing volleys,true there were countless UEs from both players but in my book it will go down as one of his more memorable matches this year,even no.2 after the Hewitt one.

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  2. No. 2 would be the DC match against Troicki for me. He played really well in that one and it never fails to amaze me when he stays as calm as that, faced with a huge crowd that's against him. :)

    By the way, Denise has also posted two brief clips from yesterday's match. Of David serving an ace and of his match point. Thanks again - also for the photos (and for those to come). :)

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  3. Yeah, there were a few of those points, but really very few and far between!

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  4. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.I really enjoyed the match,anyways funny how we were talking about him not throwing a raquet for a long time then he did it yesterday haha.Also will be sad for me to have one of my two favorates go at it tomorrow.Also,I was watching a little bit of Stockholm because its on TV and Haas was playing and they had the little German flag next to his name,but I remember hearing he switched to USA,maybe you know something more about this Julia?

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  5. As far as I know he has two passports now, American and German. Which makes sense as he's been living in the US for ages. But he obviously still plays for Germany.

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  6. wow thanks for the highlights on the post :)
    David serving aces is so beautiful to watch, not powerful, just beautiful. He should do it more often! :(

    can't wait to watch the re-match vs. Dodig!!!

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  7. am gna watch blake vs delpo today, and right now am not sure who i wanna cheer for. If david defeats dodig, who do i want to see him against. losing head 2 head with blake, but an easier match on paper. winning h2h with delpo and probably a strong desire to beat him again and a very interesting match as well.

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  8. To Anonymous - it's called being realistic.

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  9. Del Potro also complaining about the noise in the arena.

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  10. David in prime time tomorrow night,last match on center court.

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  11. that sounds perfect to me :)
    David will have the "prime time" hour he needs to be boosted by the crowd, hopefully.

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  12. Blake just beat Delpo 4 an 4 pretty easily.

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  13. All David needs to do now is beat Dodig and he gets Blake. I think David has a little business to take care of with James.

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  14. True,but the shot making from Blake today was supreme.If he continues Im not sure if David will be able to do anything about it.Also he has to beat Dodig first haha.

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  15. agree with John, David will be motivated to beat dodig just to take care of some old issues with Blake.

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  16. I know hes gonna give it his all if he passes by Dodig but I watched the highlights of the two matches hes played with Blake and James really smoked him well both times.The biggest problem is that Blake eats up Davids serve so well,not just by hitting deep balls but outright winners of the return.

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  17. Didn't see those two matches, Adrian, but I have seen Blake play with patches of brilliance that defies reason. Sounds like he was in that mode against Delpo today. The guy certainly doesn't hold anything back. Maybe he'll come back to Earth if he plays David. Assuming of course David beats Dodig.

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  18. I remember david was playing against blake in Shanghai.It realy was easy match for blake.david played the ball to blake's forehand all the time.He has to change his tactic this time.By the way I have never seen blake playing well on a fast court.It is a big surpris he was able to beat delpo even if del potro has also a bad indoor record.

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  19. I think the same match you mentioned before(David vs Blake) was indoor...

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