Thursday, 16 January 2014

Pospisil reigns in tight battle

Australian Matthew Ebden had won a five setter in the heat of the day in round one against France's Mahut, so would have been happy to be playing his second round match at night.  It was against Canadian Vasek Pospisil, the number 28 seed, so not an easy task.

The players took a few games to sort themselves out, Ebden finding his feet rather earlier than his more highly credentialed opponent.  At 1-2, Ebden crashed through a rather ordinary service performance for the Canadian, and the break ensued, the Aussie up 3-1.  Untroubled on his own serve, Ebden had another shot at breaking serve in the sixth game, and after wasting a couple of chances, brutalised Pospisil with a forehand or two to achieve 5-1.
Pospisil created a service break out of virtually nothing to slide the score back to 2-5, then held firmly for 3-5.

Ebden, when given a second chance to serve out the set made no mistakes, and he led 6-3.
The second set had no breaks of serve, for a change, so the players slogged it out until the tiebreaker.  This was a case of a golden chance missed by Ebden who had an opponent struggling with back problems, and then wasted three break points on the Pospisil service at 4-4.

Still the tiebreak was necessary - down an early mini break, Ebden came back to have set point on the Pospisil serve.  From there, the Canadian won the remaining three points, the set, and the mental edge.

Physically, though, the Candian still had issues with his back, and although not the sole reason, it might be used to explain losses of points

Ebden, feeling down after not winning the set he appeared likely to, was swiftly broken in the opening game of the third set.  Then unexpectedly Ebden struck back for 1-1, leaving us unsure as to the Canadian's injury concern.

The players served better than most to reach 6-6, and another tie break, the injury no longer an issue for Pospisil.

This one also could have gone either way throughout, and at 9-9 it was Ebden who hit waywardly twice to hand the set to Pospisil.  Two sets, both of which had Matthew Ebden's name on them at stages, went begging.  He was mentally a dispirited young man.
The fourth set reflected the anguish of Ebden as he was well beaten throughout, Vasek Pospisil winning the set and the match 3-6 7-6 7-6 6-1

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