Friday, June 15, 2012

Queen's Club: David Strikes Twice to Reach the Semifinal

(Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

Around an hour into the first match today, his third-round encounter with Edouard Roger-Vasselin, it didn't really look like this was going to be a long day on court for David. He was trailing by a set and a break at 4-2, he was furious about the slippery court, and he had already received first a code violation and then a point penalty (for ball and racquet abuse).
At that moment, it would've been easy to give up. But David didn't give up - he fought back. And in the end, he didn't just win that match 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. He also won his second match, the quarterfinal against Xavier Malisse, and again after dropping the first set, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4.
These two victories grant David a place in the semifinal, where he'll face Grigor Dimitrov (#72) tomorrow. For David, it's the second semifinal at the Queen's Club (after 2008).

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
I.) R3: David vs Edouard Roger-Vasselin
David began this first match by losing his serve but was able to recover the break for 2-2. And he just seemed to be finding his rhythm when at 3-3, the rain came and stopped play for about an hour. When play resumed, David scraped through to 4-3 after saving three break points but then lost his serve to grant Roger-Vasselin a 5-4 lead, and the Frenchman served out the first set.
Early on in the second, David dropped his serve again (for 2-1). And leading 4-2, Roger-Vasselin was two games away from victory. But David broke back for 4-4 and saved two break points to get to 5-4 before in the follwing game Roger-Vasselin double-faulted to surrender his serve - and the second set.
And David carried the momentum over into the third. He broke Roger-Vasselin to go up 2-0 and after saving another break point in the next game he now grew more solid on serve. At 5-2, with the Frenchman serving to stay in the match, there was another, much shorter rain delay and when play resumed once again, David held a first match point but Roger-Vasselin snuffed it out with an ace. So David had to serve it out and he did, eventually converting his third match point.

As mentioned above, David was at odds with himself and with the conditions for much of this match. And for my part, I can't recall the last time I saw him get a point penalty. But the bigger concern during this match were those altogether 14 double faults that he committed. As well as the two hours and 14 minutes he had already spent on court, going into his second match of the day...

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
II.) QF: David vs Xavier Malisse
In this match, David was off to better start, holding serve fairly comfortably and then getting the first break to go up 4-2. What exactly happened after that is impossible to say without having seen the match. But in any case, David lost the next four games in a row and consequently the first set.
At this stage, I thought that he was probably getting tired, which would've only been understandable. But David battled on and now began to cruise through his service games. At 2-1, he had three break points but couldn't convert any of them. After that the remained on serve (with David dropping only 3 points on serve) until the set went to a tiebreak - David's specialty, these days. He raced to a 6-2 lead and then immediately took his first set point.
Early on in the third set, David struggled a bit more with holding serve again and had to fend off a break point to get to 1-1. After that they remained on serve without further break points on either side until at 4-4, pretty much out of nowhere, Malisse went down 15-40. The first break point he saved with an ace but David took the second and then served out the match - to love.

I honestly don't know how he did it. It's not just that he won both of his matches. It's also that in the second one, he apparently played and served much better than in the first. Posting the kind of numbers on serve you don't get to see from him every day (including only 2 double faults but 10 aces). By all rights, he should've been tired. Physically and maybe also emotionally, after the drama of the first match. But instead, David played what he afterwards called his best match of the week against Malisse (source). - An amazing day with two amazing victories for David. Who told Jorge Viale from Fue Buena that he's tired now of course but ready for the match tomorrow.
And that match, the semifinal against Grigor Dimitrov, will see David playing on Centre Court. - At last! When so far, David's "appearance" on the streams from the Queen's Club was limited to this. But tomorrow, we'll finally get to see him play. And whatever happens in that match, this has already been a great tournament from David. A difficult one (for him and for us) but a great one.

7 comments:

  1. Happy Anniversary VD. Kudos, Julia. Stuck at work today with no access to David's matches. Was hoping he would win the first one and then the second one would be rained out so I could see him tomorrow. What a great day it must have been. Now I get to see him anyway. One hundred twenty three comments for scoreboard watching. Amazing. Julia, you've created a monster. Hope David has a good rest tonight. Noubar, it's great to know you're OK. Can't wai for Saturday.

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    1. The monster here is David... ;)
      Thanks and yeah, it was a crazy day, yesterday. The shades of Washington, seeing David do great things - on the scoreboard. But the VD comments record still stands - also for a match that wasn't streamed. :)

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  2. Happy Anniversary VD! Thanks Julia for all these posts and constant updates throughout the years, you must be delighted right now to be so busy writing about good news for us fans :)
    Such an unbelievable outcome yesterday and getting to finally watch David on TV today, nice gift!
    This semifinal against Dimitrov should be very entertaining to watch, no matter what is the outcome, but I can feel David will do his best to keep up the momentum, as long as his body allows it.

    I'm so proud of him, we've been waiting for some good results after the 1st round exit in Paris, so we got them this week.
    VAMOS EL REY!!!!

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  3. Julia, good thing you put a very big red arrow on the screencapture lol :)

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    1. You're welcome, Mira. :)
      And yeah, I am very happy that David is keeping me busy now. After those two, far too quiet weeks... This is exactly what he needed to get his spirits up again. :)

      Oh, and yeah, the tiny little white spot that huge arrow is pointing at - that's really David... lol

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  4. Happy Anniversary VD, really updated and very reliable. Thank you Julia :) Takes up so much of ur time, but top work! ;)

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  5. You're welcome and thanks. :)
    Yeah, it does take a lot of time and I don't have as much of that anymore as I used to. Not really enough, sometimes. But well, somehow we've always managed, so far. ;)

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