Duckworth Survives The Daniel Challenge

James Duckworth

Tata Open, India (Pune)

[96] James Duckworth (AUS) vs. [102] Taro Daniel (JPN)

The first major is in the books for the 2020 season, and the top guys are taking a much needed break but there is still tennis going on all over the world. There is little to differentiate these two players as they both turned professional in 2010, they are similar in age and close in rankings. Neither player has won a singles title, yet. However, Daniel had the advantage in height and experience. The Japanese player has gotten to one previous final, the 2018 Istanbul Open.

Daniel Secures First Set

Daniel served for the first set at 5-4 up but could not close out his pesky opponent. Duckworth, broke back and held to force a tiebreaker. Daniel was not derailed by his loss in focus and quickly regrouped to capture the tiebreak, denying the Australian. The Australian realized that he had a battle on his hands and redoubled his efforts in set two; yet, he missed six opportunities to avoid the tiebreaker because Daniel competed fiercely. The second set went to Duckworth.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images AsiaPac: Taro Daniel (Left)

Duckworth Up To The Challenge

The Japanese player realized that the Aussie was not going away and the battle was fully engaged. The winner of this match would be the winner of the deciding set. After taking the lead early, Daniel was not able to maintain the lead because the Aussie upped his game at a critical moment in the third set to steal the only break in the set.

Daniel could not mount any resistance after he was broken in the third set and it was an easy finish for Duckworth. It was a brutal match, almost three hours long and perhaps the fitter player won in the end. The Australian was able to raise his level and keep his focus in the third to derail the plans of his opponent by winning 6-7(4), 7-6(6), 6-3.

SOURCE OF IMAGES: (main: Julian Finney/Getty Images AsiaPac-James Duckworth).

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