Just like Duckworth's only two other tour level matches (in Brisbane last week), he went down 0-2! However this time he was able to break straight back for 1*-2 and set the scene for what looked like would be a great match. That 3rd game was particularly long and the guy sitting next to me said 'play like this, you use all your energy, it's bulls***'. His candid remarks (and Nieminen acknowledging them) and Scandinavian accent told me he was Nieminen's coach or similar.
I wrote a few things he said and almost s*** my pants when he started reading them. My writing was all over the place so hopefully he couldn't make it out. I also almost had an embarrassing reaction when witnessing Duckworth's defensive skills. He retrieved a smash with a backhand twist smash of his own. That's my best description and I'm sticking to it.
Duckworth's play was reminiscent of that moment: it was flashy. He could trouble his vastly more experienced opponent, but would go through awful periods which cost him dearly. For example at *1-2 1st set he missed the same down the line forehand three times. At 0-1 in the second set Nieminen literally only had to hit two shots in a return game to break Duckworth (to spell it out, Duckworth double faulted twice and missed both groundstrokes he hit in that game). When Duckworth went down 0-3 in the 2nd, half of the court's seats emptied.
I apologise for not having much of Nieminen in the video below. In general, I enjoy Duckworth's game, but dislike his double handed backhand. It's too jerky. Sure it can generate power, but it's error prone. Duckworth often plays an aggressive backhand off second serves to the deuce court and comes to the net. I've seen him miss with this play a lot. I would like to see him slice this ball instead (the old chip and charge).
Nieminen ran out an easy 6-2 6-2 winner. Duckworth was 1 of 10 on break points, but a large chunk of these opportunities were in the 3rd game of the match and Duckworth broke that game anyway. He held no break points in the second set. After the match, Benjamin Mitchell's dad (I think that's what he said, but I'm not definite) who was also watching the match congratulated Nieminen's outspoken team member. I also overheard how he was still bothered with the way his charge played: Nieminen was not aggressive enough for his liking.