Good fight from Richard in second set, played more aggressive, but still not good enough to beat today's Istomin. Richard needs to realize he can't start the match by pushing and expect everyone will pull Verdasco of last week and miss every other shot.
The better player won. Richard was just a frustrated, agitated mess most of the match. He came up with some nice aggressive points but not often enough and Istomin took advantage of every short ball(and there were many of those).
When I saw the draw I was worried and when Isner lost i was REALLY worried - the more the draw opens up and gives Richard a chance, the worse Richard usually plays.
A much better second set indeed but even with Istomin tight as a drum towards the closing stages, he couldn't pull out that set, although it was of a lot better quality.
Istomin certainly did play better than anyone Richard beat at Hopman Cup last week and yesterday's match with Fognini didn't exactly prepare him well for today either. Wish he'd employ a more aggressive strategy from the start of his matches, but I know it's hard for him to break out of his comfort zone.
Onwards to Melbourne, hopefully he leaves the negative attitude behind.
Q. Do matches like that have a psychological effect on players,
or do you have to find a way of putting memories to one side?
RICHARD GASQUET: No, I always played well against him. I always won the first two
sets in Roland Garros, so I hope not to win the first two sets this time. (Smiling.)
Maybe the sky will fall?