You never like to lose. It's something that leaves you with a bad feeling. But I think that I played a good match, it was tough. I had many chances and couldn't convert them in some moments.Seconds after he had defeated David 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in yesterday's quarterfinal, Rafael Nadal went over to David, put a hand on his shoulder and said a few words to him, in an attempt to comfort his friend. It was a well-meant gesture but it didn't seem to help much in that moment. For that, David had been too close to victory, himself. But once he gets over the intial disappointment, and according to his team that never takes more than a couple of hours, he can look back at this match and be proud of himself. Not just because he had Nadal on the brink of defeat. This time, he didn't break down physically towards the end.
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Early on in the second set, David had the chance to go up a break but Nadal managed to save both break points David had at 1-0. A similar situation occurred when they met at Miami 2010 and back then, David fell apart, afterwards. He didn't, this time around and he remained solid on serve. But during the rallies, David was now starting to find it more difficult to stay in control. It was only a slight shift but it was noticeable, also in the way that David now tried to finish points earlier but not always selecting the best shot to do so. Still, after a great service game from David to go up 5-4, Nadal served to stay in the match and at 30-30, David was two points away from victory. But Nadal won the next two points easily and made it to 5-5. Until that point, David still hadn't played one of his poor service games in this match - but this was the moment he chose for the first. Setting up a break point with a drop-shot into the net and then making the double-fault to grant Nadal the break. A turn of events that Nadal took advantage of, of course, winning the the second set 7-5.
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it looked like this match might go down the same road as their previous encounter at Indian Wells, back in 2009, with Nadal now taking control of proceedings and with David no longer able to
keep him from dictating with his forehand. But
this time, David saved those break points, showing that he was still willing and above all
able to fight. And he did, even after he lost his serve again to grant Nadal a 5-2 lead. Although the match was virtually over at this stage, David managed to break Nadal as he served for the match in the following game. And when Nadal tried to close it out once more at 5-4, David again held break points. But the shot that earned him the set point in the first set, the drop-shot, didn't work this time, Nadal saved the second break point as well and then closed it out, after all.
It's most of all the third set that sets this match apart from the other ones that David has lost to Rafael Nadal. At a stage of the match where all seemed lost, David was still able to make a final stand. And even if in the end it wasn't enough to turn things around, this time at least he had the chance to try, without his body making it impossible for him. Last season, his body made all kinds of things impossible for David. Now, he's finally able to concentrate on his game again and on playing matches.
I think I played well. I've been improving my game step by step throughout the week. I think that I attacked and played aggressively rather well at times.So that was it, David's run at Indian Wells. With four victories, including back-to-back wins over two Top10 players. On Monday, those 180 ranking points for making the quarterfinal will see David moving up what should be 24 positions to #50. Inside the cut for the Olympics, though at the moment, there are still four other Argentines ahead of him in the rankings.
(Quotes via Fue Buena.)
Also on Monday, Martin Jaite is going to officially announce the Argentine team for the Davis Cup quarterfinal tie against Croatia (April 6-8). And last but not least, Monday is also the day that the draw will be made for Miami, with David once again in the main draw without needing a wildcard. Will he be able to pull off another surprise run at Miami, where he usually doesn't do that well? Who knows, but at least, he'll have the chance to try.
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