Sunday, March 10, 2013

Goodbye Indian Wells... David's Loss to Janowicz



It was a battle of the generations, a battle of force (and drop-shots) against tactics and finesse that took two and a half hours. And you can say what you want about David's performance in this match but not that he didn't put up a fight. Still, in the end it simply wasn't enough to beat 24th seed Jerzy Janowicz, who won 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3. I've tried to find some quotes but apparently, David didn't talk to the media.

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
After once more losing his serve early on in the first set David managed to recover the break and draw level at 4-4. At 5-5 he dropped his serve for a second time but serving for the set at 6-5, Janowicz handed the break straight back on a double fault. In the eventual tiebreak they remained on serve until Janowicz got the mini-break to go up 5-4 and then won the next two points to take the first set 7-6(4).
Early on the second set David came back from 0-40 to hold serve for 2-2. From 3-3 on, there were three breaks in a row, with David getting two of them, the second of which for a 5-4 lead and the chance to serve out the set. And he did, winning it 6-4.
In th third set Janowicz quickly went up a double break and 5-1. David retrieved one of the breaks and held for 5-3 but in the end, he couldn't keep Janowicz from serving out the match, the second time around, taking the final set 6-3.

It wasn't that David couldn't do anything against Janowicz's serve or against his the force of his groundstrokes. Or against the drop-shots that Janowicz likes so much. I thought David did a good job of keeping him busy, moving him around the court and constantly changing not only directions but also spins and the speed of the ball. He found a way of blocking Janowicz's serve, often getting it back with good depth. And during the match, David got better at guessing when Janowicz would play another drop-shot. In short, there were enough things that David did well in this match, and there were some truly spectacular points that he played.
But at the same time the match also showed the basic problem David has. He's still able to play great tennis but it seems he's no longer able to do it consistently. In this case, the downward spiral wasn't quite as dramatic as it was in the match against Ferrer at the Copa Claro. Still, towards the end of the second set David visibly began to try shortening the points, rushing to the net behind bad approach shots and getting passed time and time again. At that point it was clear that he was running out of gas again. And that though Janowicz practically handed him that set on a plate he wouldn't have it in him to win the third.
In short, David still has the game to trouble players ranked much higher than he is. He still has the game though not necessarily the serve and he doesn't have the stamina or the fitness. The one exception so far this year has been the match against Almagro. But I think it was exactly that - an exception.

So no great run at Indian Wells this time but instead a defeat and one that will have consequences.
Going out in the second round with quarterfinal points to defend is going to cost David 155 ranking points. So when the new rankings come out after Indian Wells, David will no longer be inside the Top100. He'll be ranked around #122. And with this kind of ranking it's either wildcards or playing qualies if he wants to get into main draws (as he doesn't want to play Challengers to impove his ranking again).
Two weeks ago at the Copa Claro, David said that from now on, he wants to play fewer events in general. Right now, I still can't say what his schedule will look like in the weeks and months after the Davis Cup quarterfinal. But for the time being, which tournaments he'll play will depend on where he gets a wildcard.
- Just like at our next stop, Miami.

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for the video. There were some GREAT shots from David. It wasn't enough though. This young guy can make some upsets this tournament. I hope David doesn't get demoralized. He can still play very well. And from now on... he can get only up in the rankings. Doesn't have many points left to defend this year :) Vamos David!

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  2. David can still play very well, he just can't do it consistently, and that's the problem. He'll hardly have anything to defend after his points from Belgrade (90) and Rome (45) are gone. But unless he pulls off a surprise run at Miami he'll need a WC if he wants to play RG.

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  3. Let's hope for the surprise run at Miami then :) okay, easier said than done, and it's definitely not about his ability to play well. Just as you said Julia, it's all about stamina and fitness, and the more he'll play long matches, the more he'll have difficulties to win big matches, especially in 3 sets, let alone best of five matches in GS.
    I usually don't worry about his rankings but this time it's crucial, and David can't always count on wildcards in every tourney... so I'm afraid we won't see him very much for the rest of the year if he doesn't improve his rankings like... next week in Miami! (again, easier said than done). And a WC at RG is unlikely, do you guys think David has a chance to get one? :(

    Thanks for the match report Julia. too bad for the great run :(

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  4. You're welcome. :) As for not seeing much of David, he said he's planning to play less in general. I mean, so far, he never really had any problems, getting WCs when he needed them. Whether that's also going to be the case at RG - I don't know. David could try to gain points by playing the first week of the European clay swing but I don't think he will. And a surprise run at Miami... would be a huge surprise indeed.

    Unless he says which tournaments he's planning to play it'll be really difficult to keep track of his schedule because his name won't be on any of the entry lists if he'll enter with a WC. I'll try to find out more but right now, I have no idea what's going to happen after the DC QF.

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  5. these exceptions were in the first weeks he played on ATP after the pre season training in last 3 years, I already noticed it last year that after the pre season training he fitness is full enough only for one tournament, don't know how it would look like in AO if he had won these long matches against Hewitt and Isner in 3 or 4 sets.

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  6. What about his run at Indian Wells, last year? Or the week he had at the Queen's Club up until the accident? It's not just a linear curve from great to terrible after the first event, or the first few weeks.
    As for the AO, I think the victory over Hewitt is one of the matches David will still like to recall, years from now. As for Isner, that could've been his last match at the AO. I don't think about the past or what could've/should've been but I still hope that David will play the AO one more time. Not because I expect him to go deep, just to say goodbye.

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  7. If he wins 2 matches and reaches R3 in Miami, he could be back in the top 100?

    I still thinks he might play Australian Open one more time, because I guess he would retire by playing in front of the home crowd in February (assuming it happens in 2014).

    It is difficult to expect him to do well in a best-of-5-set grand slam situation, but I hope he will post 1 final upset in an indoor tournament over Nadal or Federer...

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  8. Going by the current live rankings, at #122 he's 110 points away from the Top100. So he'd have to reach QF to get there. Apart from that, Miami isn't really David's best Masters event.
    And retiring at the Copa Claro won't mean he'd have to play the AO. But I hope that he will.

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  9. Julia,

    I watched David's match.

    Positive aspects:
    1) Some great and beautiful shots from David. It shows that David's game is intact.
    2) He fought to the end. It shows motivation.

    Negative aspects:
    1) Some bad unforced errors.
    2) Some lack of consistency (regularity).

    Overall, David played well. In the end Janowicz's powerful serve prevailed. There were some 230 km/h serves!

    David has been improving his game during the year. So I still believe he can get some good results. He just have to keep the rythim.

    What do you think Julia?


    Rafael.

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  10. What I think about the match I wrote in my post. He still has the game (though not the serve) but the problem is his stamina/fitness.

    It's difficult to know what to expect this season because I don't know how much David is going to play. I also don't know how it'll affect his motivation if they lose the DC QF. I just hope he'll stay healthy. And that he'll have some good weeks, some nice wins. But I don't expect any miracles from him at this stage.

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  11. as i said gasquet wins in two easy sets

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  12. Haas at 34 and in top 20 just beat Almagro. If he can do it, David can also. He just needs patience and stay injury free with a good fitness training program. I just hope he finds the motivation to go on even if he's 150 in the world.

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  13. Just because Haas can do it, doesn't mean David can. Let's quit the comparisons already.

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  14. David can still beat Almagro, even on clay, but he won't make the Top20 again. Haas is older and has had far more injuries - but David is David. And this is the self-proclaimed final stage of his career. Where he's planning to play less and focus on those events he likes (and gets a WC for). Does that sound like he's trying to get back inside the Top50 again, or higher than that?
    The big goal, the one big motivation he has still left is, as always, his undying obsession with the Davis Cup. So what happens if they lose the QF against France - that's the question.

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