Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Sleeping in the house of my latest jumpoff.
Indian Wells R2: Nalbandian def.  Cilic 7-6(3) 7-6(4)
Match was topsy-turvy, as many matches have been throughout this tournament, and the quality wasn't very good. Cilic had two break points in the first game of the match after Nalbandian had 30-0 and didn't take them. From there it seemed as if Nalbandian gained confidence, as he played two strong games to break on an off-forehand and hold to love with good serving, and poor returns from Marin. Cilic looked rattled, and Nalbandian had break points at 4-*1 to serve for the set, which he didn't take advantage of.
Nalbandian held serve throughout the first set until 5-3 when serving for it, where he made some loose errors and played tentatively, and Cilic started hitting with authority and going for his shots more being behind. David saved a break point before losing serve on a double fault to bring things back even at 5-4. At *5-6, Cilic had 40-15 before having to save another break point, making more loose errors and playing nervous tennis, but held on with a couple good serves and Nalbandian errors to get into a tiebreak.
Cilic had the early mini-break lead in the tiebreaker, but Nalbandian won four straight points from 3 all to win the breaker, hitting a great forehand winner for *4-3, serving better and allowing Cilic to get nervous and tightening up his game.
In the second set, both held serve without a break point against until 3 all, where Cilic played a very tired looking game, with abysmal serving and footwork to dump serve. Nalbandian then played a bad game with errors and mishits, to lose his break advantage immediately. Cilic had 30 all at 5-*4 after a couple poor Nalbandian errors to potentially win the set, didn't take advantage and got broken immediately afterward, making extremely tight errors, missing many first serves and hitting an ugly double fault, playing tentative tennis and being broken after saving three break points. Nalbandian fell behind 0-30 serving for the match at *6-5 with two extremely nervous missed shots, but climbed back with with decent serving and aggressive play to set up a match point. From there, Cilic played three great points in a row, hitting the ball with authority and confidence, and taking advantage of Nalbandian missing first serves, to break to enter the second set breaker.
In the tiebreak, the two traded mini-breaks twice early, both missing first serves and making poor errors. Nalbandian again made a run in the tiebreak as in the first set, going from *1-3 down to *5-4 ahead with confident play and good serving, eventually winning the match with an ace, and on a Cilic error at match point.
Overall, there wasn't too much between them. Neither played particularly well in any area, both showed signs of mental fragility, but both had moments of greatness. But David was the one who played with more assertiveness at the end of both tiebreakers, and that ended up being the difference.
A nervy win but a tough win for Nalbandian.