Malisse Recovers From Poor Start
Friday, June 25, 2004
Deceptive is the only way to describe Xavier Malisse. When he stepped on court to play Tommy Haas, no-one would have guessed he would win 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Littered with errors, his first set performance brought back harrowing memories of his first round defeat at The Championships last year, where he looked lethargic. This was again true today when he let his German opponent steam ahead to a 5-3 lead. If he was not being foot faulted, he was frowning with frustration and kicking his racket around. Instead of re-focusing, he grew angry and shouted to himself.
Haas, who endured a five-setter in his previous round, was quick to capitalise on Malisse's unstable frame of mind, taking the set 6-3 after 26 minutes. It was hard to believe that the Belgian on Court 3 would even have a sniff of the semi-finals, a position he found himself in 2002, unless he improved his concentration.
But the pony-tailed chameleon had the crowd fooled and at the start of the second set his natural flair and ability began to emerge - namely sizzling cross-court drives that left Haas bewildered at the net.
Only now was he looking like the player from 2002. His effortless ground strokes worked to secure him a break and 4-2 lead in the second set. Slowly his attitude and game were improving, Haas on the other hand was in decline.
Serving was proving a headache for the German who began missing first serves and double faulting. This flaw had plagued him in his first round match against Frenchman Anthony Dupuis and, although it looked as though he had shaken it off in the first set, pressure and an increasingly confident opponent provided a breeding ground for errors. In the end it was to be the Belgian's day.
Written by Helen Gilbert
1st Serve % 52 of 97 = 54 %
68 of 117 = 58 %
Double Faults 2
Unforced Errors 12
Winning % on 1st Serve 47 of 52 = 90 %
48 of 68 = 71 %
Winning % on 2nd Serve 24 of 45 = 53 %
20 of 49 = 41 %
Winners (Including Service) 52
Receiving Points Won 49 of 117 = 42 %
26 of 97 = 27 %
Break Point Conversions 5 of 8 = 63 %
2 of 6 = 33 %
Net Approaches 23 of 31 = 74 %
31 of 53 = 58 %
Total Points Won 120
Fastest Serve 125 MPH
Average 1st Serve Speed 111 MPH
Average 2nd Serve Speed 92 MPH