Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Waiting Game (continued): Paris Memories

Another week without any news from David. And another tournament that takes place without him. A situation that's not exactly new, as it happened way too often during the last couple of years. But while it's never great when David can't play there are certain occasions when it's even more frustrating than usual. And this week has to count as one of those - as the tournament that's taking place without him is the Paris Masters.
David has played this event only five times in his career. And three out of those five times he didn't make it past the second round. That this is so very easy to forget has a lot to do of course with his other two appearances.

(Getty Images)
In 2008, David came to Paris-Bercy as the defending champion, at the end of a pretty successful indoor swing. He had won the title at Stockholm and reached the final at Basel (with an early exit at Madrid in-between). At Paris, he didn't catch the best of starts against Nicolas Kiefer but then went on to make short work of Delpo in the next round. Their third meeting in as many weeks only lasted about an hour and the first thing David did afterwards was to ask Delpo if he was okay (that was before Mar del Plata). The first real test David faced in the quarterfinal against Andy Murray and it turned out to be the best match he played that week (highlights here). The semifinal match against Nikolay Davydenko proved to be much more of a challenge. After dominating the first set David seemingly lost the plot and barely managed to win the match in three sets. Back then, nobody knew about his hip injury. Or that he almost withdrew before the final. Looking back at it now, it was a great account that David gave of himself, under the circumstances. Even though he lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, continuing the tradition that no Paris champion has defended his title since the 70s .

(Getty Images)
In 2007, David came to Paris-Bercy at the end of a horrible season but also after his surprise run at the Madrid Masters (and the first-round exit at Basel against Stanislas Wawrinka that followed). And it would turn out to be a week to remember. A week that David began with a straightforward win over Nicolas Almagro, followed by an equally uncomplicated victory over Carlos Moya. In the third round, however, David found himself up against the number one player in the world, Roger Federer
- again. Less than two weeks had passed since they met in the final at Madrid and just about everybody thought that Federer would take revenge. In the end, it was a little bit closer than it would've needed to be. But it was David, who prevailed again and this time, he did so in straights. The only set he dropped during that week he dropped in the quarterfinal, where it was time for another Battle of the Davids. After splitting the first two tiebreak sets it was "our" David, and not David Ferrer, who held up better and won. The semifinal, however, was anything but a battle. It took David little more than an hour to beat Richard Gasquet in what can only be described as a true masterclass (highlights here). The final was another repeat of a match that had taken place at Madrid, two weeks before: David against Rafa Nadal. It was a relatively even match - until 4-4. From then on, Nadal didn't get another game (highlights here; all highlights by Andvari). Those were the days at Paris-Bercy...

Last but not least, and as a cure for withdrawal symptoms, here's a look back at what's still my favourite out of all the great matches that David has played at Paris:

6 comments:

  1. Aaaah good ol' days, thanks for the memories Julia :) I really loved that week in Paris 2007, definitely one of the best weeks he's had in his career. The match against Gasquet (haha poor guy lol), the one against Rafa (yaaay), and David's backhand during his match vs Fed, I can't get enough of the highlights :)
    I miss those days and I can't wait to watch David during Copa Argentina, it's been a while now!

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  2. You're welcome. :) I mean, I would've liked being able to post some actual news but there's none and I always get a bit nostalgic when it's time for the Paris Masters again. ;)
    Yeah, it's been a while. Since Paris 2007/8 but also since David's last match...

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  3. i get goosebumps each time i see the match against gasquet or federer especially when jason goodall says after an amazing return by david "ohhhh this is unplayableeeeeee" it sure issss!

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  4. Yes I absolutelylove that fed match. Ive watched it about 20 times lol and yes adam the commentator says all sorts he once goes "Magic, from nalbandian" lool. Anw yehnot long left just a month to see him!

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  5. These were the greatest weeks for me as a tennis fan, I remember how happy and optimistic then I was about his future and couldn't wait to see him to dominate the ATP tour in the following years, but well, that was the begin and at the same time the end of a dreamlike time. Before his success in that 2 Masters I always wished him a good service and that would make him unbeatable I thought, and during that 2 weeks he served very good, he was 100% in top form, and I hoped it would remain so.

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  6. I think that everything worked extremely well during those weeks, once he got past the initial difficulties. The first two matches at Madrid were pure chaos but the win over Berdych from a set and a double break down was the starting point for the confidence he played with during those weeks.
    It just all came together, confidence, top form, favourite conditions.
    But he was still David, still making less than 50% first serves in some of his matches, still squandering leads, getting re-breaks and occasionally struggling with closing it out. And losing to Wawrinka at Basel, though I believe that was understandable.
    I thought he'd go on to play a great season in 2008. Perhaps with a shot at winning a Slam. Well, things turned out differently. But I'll always remember those two fabulous weeks.

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