For the first twenty minutes or so, it looked like this would be a very easy victory for David. And it ended with a victory for him but it wasn't an easy one. After an hour an 39 minutes, after having been up 5-1 in the first set and then failed to convert altogether 9 set points, and after having been down a break in the second set, David eventually prevailed. How much of a toll this match has taken on him we'll find out when he gets to face Gilles Simon in the second round tomorrow.
Report and photos coming tomorrow.
|(Getty Images; montage by VD)|
Today, it's back to playing on the Tour for David - at an event that's new and unusual, and not only for him. After eleven years in Costa do Sauipe, the Brasil Open have been relocated to São Paulo. And this new version is now the only tournament on the whole ATP Tour to be held on indoor clay. Also new for David will be his opponent in his first-round match today.
This opponent is 22-year-old Benoit Paire, who's currently ranked #98 (with his best ranking so far having been #84 earlier this year - exactly where David is ranked now). Paire mostly plays Challengers, occasionally qualifying for ATP-level events, with his best result having come at the start of this season when he made his way from qualifying through to the quarterfinal at Auckland. In general, Paire seems to prefer playing on hardcourt and the stats show him to be a fairly strong (though inconsistent) server, which is not really a surprise, given that he's 6'5"/1.96m tall.
As Krystle has mentioned before, Benoit Paire enjoys a kind of double-edged reputation, for being able to play very entertaining tennis but at the same time also for being highly inconsistent and erratic. As David has never played against him before he'll probably need a while to see who and what he's dealing with, as well as to get used to the conditions and the surface. But David is optimistic:
He's a tough opponent but I have to focus on my game. I think that if I feel good I'll have a good chance to win. (Source.)