Fernando started with the advantage despite Tomic’s cocky attitude coming into the match. Tomic grabbed his leg and gasped for air early as Verdasco exposed Tomic’s inferior court movement, forcing him back meters behind the baseline with his huge forehand and his wide serve.
With a two set to love lead Fernando should have got it done. Tomic’s body language was bad and his play sloppy and he had seen the trainer at the end of the second set.
Mid way through the third set they both realized simultaneously that drop shots would be an appropriate tactic given their court positions. The problem is neither player seemed to have any touch and repeadly dumped drop shots into the net.
Tomic continued to look more troubled by the heat and conditions that Fernando and became more and more casual and sloppy, throwing away pivotal points and opportunities with careless errors. It all changed when Verdasco double faulted on break point and changed the momentum of the match and allowed Tomic to serve out the third set.
From then on they both, particularly Fernando, looked intermittently inspired but mostly disinterested as they struggled on with in the hot conditions.
After a series of breaks in the early stages of the fourth set Verdasco failed to show much interest as his double fault count rose and he stopped moving Tomic around the court. Without having to worry about sprinting from side to side as Verdasco’s tactics dissolved, Tomic was able to regroup and find some energy reserves to push on.
When it finally ended both players were exhausted after over four hours in the hot Australian sun. After the match Bernard said “Today wasn’t fun, it was torture.”
It was torture.
It was torture to watch and it was torture to listen to Bernard and the Australian media after the match.
Bernard has tried to pass off his poor play as him trying to lull Verdasco into a false sense of security during the third set so he could force another set. Watching the interview footage it was almost like he was making it up as he was going along and agreeing with what the media provided him. He badly needs a PR manager to help him stop sounding like such a cocky teenager.
If Tomic’s way of winning will be to trick his opponents into believing he’s injured, tired, not playing well… well then I wont be watching. He is yet to prove he can be not only talented but classy.
Now we just have to wait and see how long the Australian media portray Tomic as the Aussie hero for.
One thing is for sure… Tomic certainly shouldn’t have walked away with the 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 match.
BERNARD TOMIC: Um, yeah, in the third set. He thought I had a feeling he knew I was going to go away. I eased off, as well, I think on purpose. I eased off and seemed I didn’t care, and I think that’s what drawed him a little bit tonight. He thought he was going to win that third set, and when the right time came, I broke him.
You know, after that the third set, you know, he started getting a little bit tight and not hitting his shots.
Q. So you set him up a little bit?
BERNARD TOMIC: In that third set, yeah. I knew if I lifted my game early, he would have lifted as well and he wouldn’t have let go. I pretended a little bit in the first few games in that third set to not be there as mentally, but in a way to still be there.
Q. He said at the start of the third set he tried to trick you by making you think his body language was down and he was beaten.
FERNANDO VERDASCO: I’m sure, yeah, he can say that. But I’m pretty sure if I will make a break at the beginning of the third set, he will go, he will let it go away.
You know, of course, after the match it’s easy to see everything. It’s easy to say that he was just looking down and trying to make me think, but he didn’t really make me think. I was just feeling bad with myself and with my body. I was just not be able to even move. That’s why he started winning a lot of points in the baseline, when in the first and second set he was not winning that many.