Bath | How a first round men’s singles match shone a light on the sport at its best
© Gemma-Louise Stevenson
The forehands were fierce, the backhands brilliant and the slices stunning.
This first round men’s singles match at the 2017 Bath Indoor tournament will be remembered by all of those who witnessed it for a very long time.
This year I’ve played against Martin a lot of times and we’ve had some very close matches and sometimes you need to pull through and get that drive and fight every ball and that’s what I did today Daniel Caverzaschi
It saw two of Spain’s most talented tennis players, Daniel Caverzaschi and Martin De La Puente, go head-to-head and had everything you could want in a match and more.
This pair, just like fellow Spanish sensation Rafa Nadal, can fire out those powerful backhand, and indeed forehand, winners and make it look effortless.
And whilst Caverzaschi was the victor on this occasion, coming from a set down to win in three sets 5-7 6-2 6-4, De La Puente can still hold his head high after playing his part in what was yes a three hour long three setter but also a phenomenal game of tennis that nobody could stop watching.
Caverzaschi said: “It was a tough match. This year I’ve played against Martin a lot of times and we’ve had some very close matches and sometimes you need to pull through and get that drive and fight every ball and that’s what I did today so I’m pleased with that.
“Some aspects I didn’t do very well but other aspects I did do well in the end the match went to me and I’m happy.”
One aspect that both players did well was showcasing the athleticism, power and skill in the modern game that you can see week in week out on the UNIQLO wheelchair tennis tour.
And when asked whether when he took the court this morning he was expecting to be engaged in such an epic on court battle Caverzaschi said: “I didn’t know it was going to be that long for sure but I knew it was going to be a fight.
“Martin is also a fighter and it’s always loud in our matches so to be honest yes I was prepared for anything to happen.”
The first set was tight but it was De La Puente who took the advantage, breaking the deadlock when he ha the chance.
With Caverzaschi 5-4 up De La Puente then went on to take the next three games and subsequently the set 7-5.
At 2-1 down in the second set Caverzaschi then had to draw on all his strength and determination and when he found his game again at that point nothing was going to stop him.
He said: “Things that didn’t work out well in the first set then started to work well and I controlled the second and third set most of the time so I found my game.”
And for Caverzaschi success on the court in such impressive and competitive games also helps him get nearer to achieving another of his goals
He said: “Apart from trying to reach the top my goal is to show Spain and the world that this sport is tennis.
“It’s high level elite athletes and high level tennis and anyone who likes tennis will like a wheelchair tennis match.
“We’re all improving – the top 20 players nowadays play very very good tennis.
“So people being able to see a match like today is good for the sport.”
© Gemma-Louise Stevenson
Today saw British success in the men’s draw too
It wasn’t just Caverzaschi who had a good day out on court two British players also came through their first round matches in style.
In the all-Brit battle between Dermot Bailey and Ben Johnson-Rolfe it was Bailey who came out on top 6-1 6-0.
Johnson-Rolfe broke the British number three’s serve in the first game of the match but from that point onwards Bailey dominated taking the next 12 games, the first and second set and the match.
But there is still a lot to also praise about Johnson-Rolfe’s performance – still relatively new on the tour his movement and decision-making at the points when he relaxed into the match show that there is an awful lot of potential there for the future.
Bailey will now face World number one Gustavo Fernandez in the second round.
Another Brit, who along with Bailey, had a good day out on court was Mark Langeveld who beat Italy’s Massimiliano Banci, a player ranked 145 places above him, in straight sets 6-3 6-4.
And now waiting for him in the next round is defending men’s singles champion Belgium’s Joachim Gerard.