I thought this match would go the distance and that it would turn into a huge, long battle. But today, David found the balance between playing aggressively and not making too many unforced errors. And after just under one and half hours, he prevailed 6-3, 6-1.
In tomorrow's quarterfinal, David will now meet Carlos Berlocq (who beat Gilles Simon).
Apart from that, David will receive a wildcard for Miami (thanks, Mira).
Report and photos tomorrow.
|(Getty Images/Reuters; montage by VD)|
Less than two weeks have passed since David and Juan Monaco played and fought side by side for Argentina in the first round of Davis Cup. And from what I saw they also had a pretty good time, hanging out together on the third day, during the dead rubbers. Today, however, they meet as opponents in what's the match of the day at the Copa Claro.
Juan "Pico" Monaco, ranked #20 as of this week, began the season with a first-round exit at the Australian Open but then went on to win the title at Viña del Mar, his fourth career title and the fourth one on clay. From Chile, Pico came directly to Bamberg, where he won the first point for Argentina. With his easy victory over Filippo Volandri (who retired) in the first round as the only match he has played since then.
It's the fourth time that David and Pico play an official match against each other and in terms of the match record, David leads 2-1. But those two victories date back to the year 2005. Their most recent encounter took place at this very event (when it was still called Copa Telmex), in the semifinal 2009. Back then, David served for the match in the second set and was two points away from victory before eventually losing in a third-set tiebreak. A match that took place during David's months with the hip injury (as became known much later), a time when he struggled even more with closing out sets and matches.
Today, a lot will depend on whether David can find the balance between playing aggressively in order to keep the points short and not making too many unforced errors. Pico's defensive skills will force him to take risks, to go close to the lines and advance to the net whenever possible. Otherwise David will find himself getting entangled in those long, gruelling baseline rallies that will take their toll, and more so on him than on Pico. In short, it'll be David's offense against Pico's defense and chances are it's going to be a battle...