Match one of the Spain/Serbia tie featured #12 David Ferrer taking on #3 Novak Djokovic. These two met last week in the Dubai (hard court) finals with Djokovic winning in straight sets. This, however, was Davis Cup, in Spain, and on clay. Ferrer played like he was relishing every advantage the home court and surface were giving him. He also had the added advantage of not being the guy everyone expected to win the tie for his team. Djokovic seemed to be feeling that particular pressure. He was sending shots flying all over the court and just seemed tense and unhappy in general. Ferrer? For the most part, his feet were flying and his shots were on target. He took the match 6-3 6-3 7-6(7-4).
As it happened sleep-deprived match notes:
Ferrer starts things out by breaking Djokovic in the first game. Way to get things going, David! (And I’m so tired there isn’t enough caffeine in the world to make sure I type “Djokovic” correctly over and over again, so he’s Nole from here on out.) Ferrer holds to consolidate and then gets a break point on Nole’s next service game. Nole manages to fight of both break points and holds. Nole gets double break point on Ferrer’s next service game. Ferrer fights off one point despite being pulled into the net by a drop shot. Nole sends a shot long on the next break point and they are at deuce. A Ferrer double fault to gives Nole another break point, but Nole sends a shot into the net and we are again at deuce. Ferrer nets a few balls and we are back on serve: 2-2. Nole holds at love. Nole gets a break point on Ferrer’s next service game, but the net cord does Ferrer a favor and he holds.
A lot of foot stomping going on in the stands. Given the state those stands were in yesterday, those fans are far braver than I! Nole double faults to give Ferrer a break: 4-3. Ferrer holds to go up 5-3. Ferrer is playing with a lot of confidence and fires off a fierce forehand in Nole’s next service game to go up 0-15. A few points later and he has a break point to take the set. Nole fights back, but loses the next point to again go break point down. That’s all Ferrer needs and the first set is his.
Nole takes off his hat. Is this strip tennis? One item of clothing per set?
Ferrer holds to start off set 2. Nole goes down triple break point in the next game. Ferrer is dancing around the court and showing wonderful footwork – he breaks for a 2-0 lead.
Oh darn, the hat’s back on. No strip tennis.
Ferrer holds and goes up 3-0. Nole holds and it’s 3-1.He decides he likes playing well, and goes up double break point on Ferrer’s next service game. Ferrer sends a shot long and we are back on serve. That was a week service game from Ferrer. I hope it doesn’t get into his head. Oh, that burns – Nole lets a ball go by and it drops in: 15-30. Ferrer gets a break point and Nole fires an easy shot long and is broken again: 4-2. Turns out, this set is a non-stop break-fest and Nole breaks back for 4-3. Ferrer fights back with three break points in the next game. Third time’s a charm as Nole nets yet another drop shot attempt and is broken. While serving for the set, Ferrer aces his way out of deuce and then takes the set with a strong forehand down the line.
Nole tries something different in the third set: he holds his first service game to go up 1-0. A very long service game by Ferrer follows. He holds and follows that up by breaking Nole to go up 2-1. He consolidates the break by holding for 3-1. Nole holds for 3-2. (I’m trying to not fall asleep and go to get more caffeine.) Nole breaks to put them back on serve. (Frosted mini-wheats make a good very early morning tennis watching snack. Just sayin’.) Nole holds easily and it’s 3-4. Ferrer holds at love: 4-4. Nole holds and it’s 4-5. Ferrer has to hold to stay in the set. Normally, that’s not such a big deal, but in this match? He does hold and it’s 5-5. Nole holds for 5-6. Again, Ferrer has to hold to stay in the set. Nole plays this game like he knows what’s at stake – raising his game a notch and going for his shots. He gets a set/break point and a second serve from Ferrer, but Ferrer manages to fight him off to get back to deuce. Nole storms back and it’s another set/break point. Ferrer erases that with an ace and goes on to hold and push things to a tie-break.
Nole gets the first mini-break to go up 1-2, but gives the advantage up with an errant forehand. Ferrer wins Nole’s next service point and it’s 3-2. Ferrer wins his next two service point and it’s 5-2. Nole sends a forehand into the net to give Ferrer 4 match points. Nole wins the next 2 points, but Ferrer manages to win on his next serve.