Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Tale of Two (Very Different) Sets - David Beats Starace

(Enrique Carrión)



















It's always very difficult, if not to say impossible, to know what a match was really like, having followed it on the scoreboard. But in the case of David's first-round victory over Potito Starace, at least one thing is clear - it was a match that consisted of two completely different sets, as the scoreline already suggests: 7-6(4), 6-0. After a dramatic first set that took over an hour and was full of missed chances, David went on to steamroll Starace in the second in what can't have been more than twenty minutes.
This victory grants David a place in the second round where he'll meet 24th seed Marin Cilic on Sunday. A match of special importance for him because of the upcoming Davis Cup quarterfinal against Croatia (April 6-8).

(Enrique Carrión)
David caught a good start in this match, making more first serves than usual in those early stages and generally seeming more solid on serve than his opponent. At 1-0 he took Starace to deuce and when at 2-1 he had his first two break points it looked like this might be an easy set for David. But he not only missed the chance to go up an early break - afterwards he lost his serve to love, a break that seemed to come out of nowhere. Starace extended his lead to 4-2 and when David went down 0-30 in the following game things looked grim for a moment. But it was in that exact moment that David got back on track again. After winning the next four points to hold serve he went on to also win the following four on Starace's serve, breaking back to love and levelling the score at 4-4. Holding serve now easily again, David went up 5-4 and with Starace serving to stay in the set David held three set points. But whether Starace saved them with good play or David squandered them, the Italian managed to scrape through in the end. And he did so again at 6-5 when David couldn't convert three further set points. In the eventual tiebreak, after trading mini-breaks early on, at 5-4 another, timely mini-break earned David two further set points. And this time, he finally took his chance, converting set point #7 to take the first set 7-6(4).

At the start of the second set, David immediately broke Starace again to love but then struggled to consolidate his break and found himself facing another break point. And for a moment it seemed like the second set might become as close as the first. But David saved the break point, consolidated his break with an ace - and from that moment on, Starace only won four more points. Up a triple break and 5-0, David served for the match, began with two aces in a row and then closed out the match on his first match point, 6-0.

What exactly happened on those six set points that David didn't manage to convert in the first set - we'll probably never get to know. But the most important things is that he still found a way of winning that first set, once more displaying what's still a relatively new strength of his - tiebreaks. Apart from that, David posted some very solid numbers on serve, making 61% first serves and winning a healthy 64% of his second serves. Overall, a very good start for David at Indian Wells. Despite the drama...

8 comments:

  1. In other news, Delpo will decide in the coming days whether he'll play the DC QF tie against Croatia and according to Jorge Viale, for the moment David doesn't consider playing doubles or mixed at the Olympics.

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  2. Argentina will probably decide to play on clay, is someone from Croatia good on it?

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  3. They always play their home ties on clay at the Parque Roca, unless it's against Spain. ;)
    And it would be the obvious choice in this case, anyway. As clay really isn't the surface the Croatian players prefer.

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  4. So Del Potro may skip this tie too. But I hope he doesn't take a risk again, not every time it can have a happy end. By bad luck someone could get injured during the training shortly before the match.

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  5. I hope Del Potro won't skip this tie, though we know he has some personal goals to achieve this season. But still, we need the best team aligned against Croatia!

    I saw the score after David's victory, not really surprised, he always need some time to get into the match, good thing he didn't have to lose a set for that :D

    and.... the rainbow-t-shirt is back, looking good in California haha!

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  6. The rainbow shirt was never really gone... Unfortunately. ;)

    As for Delpo, everybody hopes he'll play (except the Croatian team and its supporters). Rumour has it that he won't. But so far, that's just a rumour and we'll have to wait and see what he decides.

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  7. Is he even gonna provide a reason or its just he doesnt feel like it.David and Monaco tho should really win all the singles so I still predict a easy Argentina victory.

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  8. thanks for the order of play update, David playing 4th match inevitably means = late night/early morning match for us, think I'll sleep early and set the alarm :D

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