In the end, it was not the trophy but the runner-up plate for David. After merely 78 minutes on court, Rafael Nadal prevailed 6-2, 6-3. Not the end that David will have had in mind but it's still been a great comeback week for him.
Next up is now the Copa Claro, David's home tournament.
Wrap-up post about the final and the week at São Paulo coming tomorrow.
|(Inovaphoto; montage by VD)|
On Tuesday, they practiced together and then played and won a doubles match together. Now, five days later, the two of them will walk onto the centre court at São Paulo again (on Tuesday it looked like this) but this time as opponents in the final - David no longer with but now against Rafael Nadal.
Few could have foreseen - and I certainly didn't - that David's first tournament would end this way, with an appearance in the final. A great comeback after a long absence and an amazing return to form during this week. And no matter what happens today, David has already exceeded the expectations.
Still, now the title is within his reach and even though he'll face the King of Clay today, there's probably never been a better time for playing against Nadal on clay than right now. On the comeback trail himself after a seven-month pause, Nadal lost the final at Viña del Mar to Horacio Zeballos last week. He dropped sets against Charly Berlocq and also against Martin Alund yesterday. In short, Nadal seems vulnerable and he has a problem with the conditions, which are too fast for his taste.
So far, David and Rafa Nadal have only met on hardcourt. David won at Madrid and Paris 2007, indoors. Since then it's been four wins in a row for Nadal, all of them outdoors, most recently in the quarterfinal at Indian Wells, last year. And as is usually the case if he plays against Nadal, David had his chances.
Today, indoors and on a fast-playing court against a vulnerable Nadal - anything seems possible.
Finally (and thanks to Andvari for alerting me to it) - there's been a time change in Brazil last night.
And that means the starting time is still 1pm local but 4pm GMT and 11am EST.