Saturday, June 16, 2012

David Makes the Queen's Club Final

(Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

There was a little scene that repeated itself a number of times during the match today, becoming almost something like its trademark: David getting ready to serve, tossing the ball
- only to catch it and then start all over again. But not even the extremely windy conditions could stop David today. After ninety stormy minutes on Centre Court, he defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4 for a place in the Queen's Club final tomorrow, his first final since Auckland 2011. And his second on grass, after the Wimbledon final, ten years ago. In it, he'll face someone he has already met twice this year, Marin Cilic.

From the start, it was clear that the blustery conditions would play a big part in this match. And that whoever would find the better way of dealing with them would be the winner in the end. Difficult conditions usually favour the more experienced player. Still, wind usually is just about the worst thing that can happen to David. Most of all because of his very high ball toss on serve. And I've seen some really terrible matches from David in conditions like these...
But not today. Today, David didn't let the wind keep him from playing his game.

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Especially during the first set, still trying to adapt to the wind, David and Dimitrov both had their problems on serve. David began with an immediate break but then dropped his serve in the following game. A scenario that repeated itself when David broke for 3-2 and then got broken for 3-3. Only that this time he went on to break Dimitrov again and that break for 4-3 turned out to be decisive, as it allowed David to serve for the set at 5-4, and he serve it out to love.
In the second set, it was once again David who got the first break for 2-1. And this time, he held on to it but only until Dimitrov managed to break back and draw level at 3-3. The game that would decide this match took place at 4-4. David saved four game points before some of his best points in this match earned him the decisive break. And then he served out the match without difficulties, converting his first match point.

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
It was a very clever match that David played today. Faced with an unknown opponent and tricky conditions, he not just neutralised Dimitrov's serve and worked out the best way of drawing errors from him (playing to his backhand, preferably with slice). He also figured out what was working best for him, rallying mostly with his forehand, which seemed more stable than his backhand. But most of all, and that's where his experience came in, David waited for the right moment to take risks. He kept the ball in play when he had to, when the wind made more adventurous shots impossible. And when a chance presented itself, to play combinations of shots or advance to the net - he took advantage of it.
Of course he also made a ton of errors. Of course he also got caught off-guard, with the wind changing the direction of the ball. And he swore a lot and hit a ball out of the stadium. But he never lost his focus.
- And was rewarded in the end.

During this week, the tournament website and the British media first made a huge fuss about Murray and the British players, then about Tsonga and when they were all gone they focused on Grigor Dimitrov. While David, without any interviews and without videos or a fuss being made about him, just played and won his matches, also two of them in one day, over on Court 1. Well, he probably liked being left in peace. But by now, there's no longer any way around David. And by now, his picture is right there at the top of the tournament website.
I've already said it before this match, whatever happens from now on, this has been a great tournament from him. And now, it's only more true.

Last but not least:
18 days ago, a crestfallen and resigned David had to face the press at Roland Garros.
Today, a sweaty but very happy David got interviewed directly after the match. Here's the clip:

6 comments:

  1. Just read a interview where Cilic supposedly said that he expects David to have some tricks up his sleeve and that he was pretty intimidating in 2006 in their first match buy hitting the ball a little harder than normal during the warm up haha.I would really like David to keep up this crafty veteran phase adjusting to opponents and not just winning matches by playing top level tennis every match but sometimes finding different ways to get the job done.

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    1. Yeah, it was mentioned in the article I took the quotes for the final post from. David playing mind games with little Marin... lol

      Well, I simply hope that this week will increase the chances of David playing another season.

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  2. nice report, the fact that David never lost his focus made things a lot easier than expected despite windy conditions. Everytime he was on serve and we saw him tossing the ball, catching it, tossing again, I was really afraid I'd lose his patience...

    I'm confident that he'll play a good match against Cilic, it'd be great to see him come more often to the net like he did yesterday. I can't wait!!

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    1. Yeah, he did get a bit angry here and there, hitting a ball out of the stadium, smashing his racquet against one of the microphones... But how could he not be frustrated? I think you have to get it out to be able to focus again. And that worked pretty well for him. :)

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  3. Excellent report, thank you Julia. Would you believe yesterday was the first time I saw David play, Eurosport concentrated on centre with no stream for the other court so I had to rely on the scoreboard and scant highlights the following day. It also happens to other players I like to watch and infuriating to say the least. I'm delighted David has reached the final playing a young dangerous opponent in very tough conditions and in straights too. The weather in London is looking more settled [Sunday] so far, no blustery wind - fingers crossed it remains that way, although the odd shower is predicted.

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  4. Well, coverage started yesterday for everyone except for those, fortunate enough to see David live at the Queen's Club. ;)
    But well, David in the final - that makes up for the rain, the schedule, the scoreboard... :)

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