Herbert Derails Johnson’s Plans

PierreHuHerbertWinston-Salem Open, NC

Men’s Semifinal: [CR49] Steve Johnson (USA) vs. [CR140] Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA)

Johnson was on his way to his first ATP Tour Singles Final. He could see it and the crowd could feel it. He won the first set playing with confidence. He served well, he faced no break points and converted on fifty percent of his break opportunities to get the break and the first set. He went up an early break in the second and it was simply a matter of holding serve and the match was his. That was his plan; however, Herbert had plans of his own.

It’s never simple in tennis. So many factors come into play and a match is never won until the last ball is struck. The prospect of making his first singles final had to have created a lot of pressure.  He had the first set and a break in the second, instead of having a calming, the opposite happened. His tension increased the closer he got to the finish line. Unfortunately for Johnson, when he needed to be crisp and efficient, he lost his rhythm and his serve. That’s when the momentum shifted and it became an uphill battle. Now Johnson was not only battling Herbert but his thoughts and emotions. Credit to Herbert who stuck to his plan and fought back to win 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2.


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