Open 13 Provence, France
[CR8] Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs. [CR56] Alexander Zverev (GER)
Zverev was so close, he could practically taste the victory, and then he got anxious. Zverev had break points to get his biggest victory to date and he got tentative. He went away from his attacking style and hesitantly pushed the ball around giving Berdych time to find his rhythm. Zverev disappointed at not breaking was unable to shake off his frustration and was distracted on his next service game. Berdych despite failing to serve it out on his first attempt capitalized on Zverev’s poor service game for the 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 victory. Although it was a tough loss for Zverev, he has made tremendous improvement. The first time he played Berdych he lost in straight sets, this time was very close to winning.
NOT A PRETTY VICTORY FOR NADAL
Rio Open, Brazil
[CR5] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [CR53] Nicolas Almagro (ESP)
Not to be redundant; however, Nadal continues to struggle. He struggled on his first service game, and despite winning the first set 6-3, I was not convinced he would win the match easily. Nadal is struggling not when he’s behind, but rather when he is in the lead. It is so difficult to watch him fall apart when he was such a great front-runner; yet, that’s the result of his lack of confidence. When he tries to flatten his shots or end a point with conviction, he creates errors instead of winners. Although he won 6-3, 7-5, it was not convincing. What can he do to address this before the damage becomes irreversible? If he has not already visited a sports psychologist, that would be my recommendation. I want to see the Nadal of old.