Catching a better start than his opponent, David broke Tsonga's serve in the first game of the match. But the break and David's lead turned out to be short-lived as Tsonga broke back to level the score at 2-2. At 4-3, David then threw in one of his poor service games, granting Tsonga break points with a series of unforced errrors and then finally dropping his serve on a double fault. Up 5-3 now, Tsonga served for the set and although David hit an amazing forehand winner during that game (see clip above), on set point he failed to make a second-serve return, Tsonga took the first set 6-3 and David fired his racquet into one of the ad banners.
|(Harry How/Getty Images)|
Having been on the brink of defeat, in the third set David now managed to clean up his game and execute the game plan he had from the start but that often fell victim to those many unforced errors he initially produced. Keeping Tsonga mostly on his much weaker backhand side, David also threw in the occasional slice to his forehand, making it difficult for Tsonga to unleash the kind of forehand winners he had been able to hit earlier in the match. At 2-1, David broke serve with a great backhand passing shot (also to be seen above) and this time, unlike in the previous sets, he held on to the break and didn't face another break point until the end. At 4-2, David missed the chance to go up a double break but then at 5-3 he served for the match - and he served it out to love.
I think that I didn't serve well at times. At times I served a little better. I think that I didn't play a great match. But the result is great for me. I played well in the important moments and that makes a big difference in a match.It wasn't the prettiest of matches, with a total of 104 unforced errors for both players (45 of those from David). And it has to be said that Tsonga didn't serve anywhere near as well as he's able to. But still, this doesn't take anything away from the amazing comeback that David pulled off in this match. One that was reminiscent of the good old days. After he spent much of the first two sets being half a step slow and making errors and then berating himself or throwing his racquet in various directions, David not just hung in there but managed to turn around the match completely and get his game back on track. All of which made possible by something that's different this year, compared to the previous two:
I've been getting better. I had a very difficult year, many pauses, surgeries and the truth is that this made me lose ground, physically. Now I'm gaining confidence, also in my physical fitness. Now I feel pretty good and hopefully I can continue playing more matches. (David's quotes via Fue Buena)Or in the words of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga:
The problem with Nalbandian is... that he's good! Very good!
|(Harry How/Getty Images)|