Robby played in Barcelona only to exit in the first round
not much new there...
I finally saw Robby in person when I went to River Oaks!!
I bought tickets for the Monday evening session that week before I even knew who was scheduled to play, and it ended up being him!!
I had low expectations for him, honestly, but when I saw him come out and warm-up before his match (his match started long after 6pm when it was supposed to start because they moved a doubles match onto that court and it went to the bitter end), to me, he CLEARLY looked like the better player, and I'm not even being biased when I say this. Robby looked confident and ready to play, and Dudi Sela just seemed average in comparison at the time.
When the match started, Robby again CLEARLY looked like the better player. He was mixing up his shots very well. He played with a variety of pace and spins, and he was constructing his points very well. I was very pleased to see that he was getting off to a good start, and it wasn't looking like anything was going to stop him..........
However, things did start to change...
and I noticed this during the break points. ((It also began to get kind of cold there)). Believe it or not, Dudi actually came up with his best shots during those crucial points in the latter part of the first set. It was actually weird for me to watch this because I instantly became pessimistic about the outcome of this match once this started to happen. I still kept hope alive, but started to notice a downward trend. Dudi's favorite shot seemed to be his one-handed backhand, cross-court, which he would often cut at such an angle or with such pace that Robby would either not be able to reach it in time, or if he did, he was at such an awkward position that he wasn't able to do anything with it.
I honestly think this annoyed Robby, because through the whole beginning of the match, there was virtually no greatness from Dudi, but suddenly he was coming up with stuff when Robby was looking to take the first set. Although the audience was overwhelmingly on Robby's side cheering him on, whenever Dudi came up with an awesome winning shot, the audience would uproar with shock and applause- because it seemed to come out of nowhere and there was fight on both sides! Little by little, Robby's earlier strategy of mixing up his shots and spins (and being patient) was replaced with what looked to be Robby's attempt at trying to create winners of his own... Unfortunately, he was choosing the WRONG times to do this! Several times, you could see him setting up for a powerful forehand winner, when it wasn't necessary, only to smack it straight into the net- with the entire audience gasping in disbelief/disappointment.
Robby seemed equally annoyed with his inability to come up with winners when he had a nearly open court to do so. He would appear to set up his points really well, until he would try to go for his open-court winner, and he would often mishit! He even yelled to himself "have a purpose behind your shot!" as he looked downward. When it got to the tie-break, I looked at my friend and said, "this isn't good"... and apparently I was right... Robby completely dumped the first 4 points of the tie-break... had he not done this, he would have likely won that tie-break, because he almost came back in that tie-break to win it, but then he made some more unforced errors to end that set.
There were some uncomfortable moments in the match where Dudi would win the point, but you could hear a pin drop afterward... There was an overwhelming feeling there that people were witnessing a talented player sink in confidence and his ability to win points and turn things around. There were times in the 2nd set where various people cheered Robby's name out loud hoping to lift his spirits and help him back in the match, but he just never quite got back to where he was in the beginning of the match
, and Dudi only seemed to grow in confidence. When it was over, Wayne Bryan said "Robby Ginepri everyone"... as he left the court, and everyone clapped... Robby seemed very disheartened and very aware that he let more than just himself down.
I only saw Jamie (his trainer) with him there, and they both left relatively quickly after his match was over. I do hope to see him play in the future, hopefully with a win next time though!!