Vienna Report 11 October 2006
Richard defeats Falla 7-6 6-3
First match on the small court at 1.00 pm, hardly anyone there to watch it. I would have installed myself next to Eric, but I was with a friend, and exactly next to Eric, only one place was left. It would have quite embarrassing to mingle in there, when the rest of the hall was almost empty. So we sat down a little bit further away, still able to see Eric, and directly opposite the players benches.
The first set was tough, Richie could not get a hold on Falla, a leftie, and Falla used Richard's pace to make him move around. Richie placed the balls just directly at Falla, there was not much creativity on court. But credit to Falla, he did very few unforced errors. They exchanged 2 breaks each, and when the tie-break finally came, I thought that Falla had the upper-hand. But an error here and there cost him the first set. Phew!
In the second, Richard liberated himself with some beauties of BH down the line. And this little elevation of his game was good enough to increase Falla's error rate. Richie went a break up, but lost it immediately, 3 all. He got annoyed, starting to shout, though I could not understand what. Eric forced him to "calme" and he obeyed to play his best game -the 7th-, when he broke Falla again on his own merit, he stepped up his serve to hold for 5-3 and closed out with a second break.
7-6 6-3 (BTW: Puschkin's exact match prediction in PTS
About his next opponent: I saw Roddick playing Acasuso, but apart from the serving, Roddick was not that convincing either and Acasuso was outright poor. Nevertheless, Richard will have to perform better than yesterday, in order to have a serious chance. I will be there today, but the match is on the big court and my ticket is rather high up.
What worries me, though, Richard seems to have a cold. He coughed, blew his nose in almost every change-over and fought heavily for his breath in long ralleys.
As for the doubles, Seb was the reason, but I could not find out why. I have the feeling, though, that Richard will be quite happy not to have to play doubles, either.