It was David's comeback after nearly six months, it was more difficult than expected, and it was a match that basically consisted of three different parts - the horrible start, the great middle part and the not quite as great but still successful end. And after over two hours on court that contained everything from masterful play to the most gruesome of errors, David beat Jorge Aguilar 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
In the second round today (on Court 2 without streams) David's opponent will be Guido Pella, a fellow Argentine but at 22 years of age from a different generation of players. It'll be their first official encounter but they know each other.
While David is often a bit of a slow starter, the early stages of yesterday's match looked more like a catastrophe in the making. After fifteen minutes on court, he was down a double break, moving badly
and making errors left and right. But there was a simple explanation for it, according to David:
And the tables began to turn as soon as David had managed to win his first game. Finding his stride now and playing his best tennis of the match at this stage David recovered both breaks and eventually took the first set 7-5.
The conditions are very difficult. The court and the ball are very difficult to control. I began the match experiencing sensations that were not very good. That made it hard for me in the first four games but then I adapted. (Source.)
At this point, he seemed in complete control of the match and likely to breeze through the second set in no time. But the momentum from the first set was gone. At 3-3 David barely managed to hold serve, at 5-5 he got broken, allowing Jorge Aguilar to take the second set 7-5.
In the third, Aguilar basically gifted David the decisive break to go up 4-2 before David eventually served out the match without difficulty, converting his first match point (the last two points you can watch in the clip above).
A positive surprise in this match was David's serve and the very respectable numbers that he posted on it (a solid 61% first serves, 11 aces and 5 double faults). Though with David, these stats always look better when he gets to play indoors.
Speaking of the conditions, they are difficult at São Paulo, David is not the only player to have complained about the balls and above all about the surface (which claimed its first victim yesterday in Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo). So David can probably only be blamed for some of the many unforced errors (and especially return errors) that he made yesterday.
The question mark remains to be his fitness. To me, he looked tired, already in the early stages of the second set. Right now, he still lacks match practice and toughness, mentally as well as physically.
But playing matches will take care of that - now that David is back.