It took an hour longer than last week, there were two tiebreak sets this time and up 6-5 in the second set David had a match point. But in the end, after almost three and a half hours, it was once more Tommy Haas, who prevailed 6-7(0), 7-6(4), 6-3. The streak continues.
The next tournament for David will now be the US Open, which start in 13 days.
|(AP Photo; montage by VD)|
Usually, I try to find photos that are visually as similar as possible. But these two are closely related for a different reason: They show David and Tommy Haas during their most recent encounter. And "recent" is the right word in this context - a week ago to the day they met in the first round at Toronto. Haas overcame David in three sets, improving his match record against him to 4-0, and then went on to win two more matches at Toronto (against Gilles Simon and Radek Stepanek) before losing to the eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinal, though not without taking a set off him.
At now 34 years of age and the survivor of more injuries and surgeries than David, Tommy Haas (ranked #23 this week) is in excellent shape at the moment and has been, these last few months. Against David last week, he played well, though not spectacularly so - and he didn't need to. David made things fairly easy for him by committing way too many unforced errors and also by not serving too well. The only exception was the second set, where David went for a more varied approach, including attacks at the net and drop-shots, and perhaps we'll see more of that, today. But most of all the question is whether this time, the timing on his shots will be better than it was last week.
I'm no statistician but the odds of David, drawing the same difficult opponent twice in the first round, two times in a row must have been rather slim. Now this scenario has come to pass, and it will be a crucial match for David. Winning it would mean to break the losing streak he's been on since the Queen's Club final. It could signify a new start. Another loss on the other hand would not only mean no further matches ahead of the US Open but also going there with what certainly wouldn't be much confidence and probably thinking that everything continues to work against him. - A crucial match. Let's hope he'll be ready (and awake) for it.