Marcos showed great mental resilience and skill to defeat former World No. 4 James Blake in a thrilling five-set tussle in his opening match at Wimbledon on Tuesday. After two sets, Marcos appeared to be in control of the match but an inspirational comeback from the American took the match to the very brink with Marcos ultimately triumphing 6-4 6-2 6-7(5) 4-6 6-4. Marcos will now face Andreas Seppi in the second round on Thursday.
Marcos won the first set in a routine manner that was not symptomatic of the rest of the bout, breaking in the very first game and holding serve for the rest of the set. With Blake playing high-risk tennis, Marcos clinically dismantled the American’s serve, breaking twice and cruising into a two-set lead.
However, with Marcos a break up in the third set and the writing seemingly on the wall for Blake, the American rallied, winning a tight set in the tie-break before going on to clinch the fourth set to set up a deciding set. The momentum was truly with the American, forcing Marcos to dig deep and show the sort of mental toughness that took him to the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2006. Despite being a break down, Marcos levelled midway through the fifth set before crucially breaking again in the final game of the match.
Q: You’re pretty consistent on all surfaces. What is your favourite surface?
Seppi: For sure I had my best results on clay, also because we played most of the tournaments on clay in Europe. So I enjoy playing on that surface; I think it’s my best surface. It’s strange, though, that clay is my best surface and I won my first title on grass! I think on every surface I can play some good tennis. It depends for sure on the moment, how I feel. I always try to give my best on every surface.
a few weeks ago, i took many pics of Andreas during his match against Thomaz Bellucci at Roland Garros.
he played much better than his opening match but, unfortunately, the mental lapses were still there. his frustration, for instance, when Marcos was ready to serve out the second set and play was suspended due to rain and a poor game after the match resumed half an hour later cost him his serve but luckily not the second set...
unless Marcos raised his game and focus to the required level, Novak would ruthlessly exploit his lapses of concentration and will eat him alive on Saturday.
but hope is still alive. for Marcos. for us. for tennis.