Welcome to the another edition of The Verdict! This will be the way we write about matches from time to time. Here is the scale used to evaluate the match and certain aspects of each player:
Overall Match Rating:
It was somewhere between “instrument of torture” and “slightly better than watching paint dry.” Way too many errors prevented the crowd from getting into the match, and nobody could blame them. Janowicz himself was simply going through the motions for about a set and a half. There were very few flashes of brilliance, and they were usually followed by an onslaught of miscues. An utterly forgettable affair.
The Verdict on Jerzy Janowicz
This was the 22 year-old’s first match on hard courts since losing to Thomaz Bellucci in the first round in Miami. It was also the first match since he retired in the second round of Hamburg against Verdasco, finally succumbing to the pain in his right arm that had been bothering him for months. Hence, quite a few questions lingered over the recent Wimbledon semifinalist: was he healthy? How would he do at an event he’d never played at before? Can he make it to that potentially exciting 3rd round match against Rafael Nadal?
Janowicz said after the match that his arm was OK. However, in a different interview with TennisTV, the Pole said that he hadn’t been able to practice his serve until he got to Canada. Which makes his struggles with double faults and good second serves a little more understandable.
I thought Janowicz’ forehand was far from its usual level, and I did not like how he seemingly abandoned his successful Wimbledon ploy of using his backhand in a safer way. Also, for much of the match Janowicz’ second serve return was simply atrocious. His movement seemed a step slow, and he even slipped into the net on the cement at one point, grass-court style.
Still, this was his first match on hard courts after a while, and again, he’s never played in Canada before. He’s trying to overcome an injury to his right arm as well, so the main takeaway for him is that he somehow found a way to get the win, even though he was a set down, then a break down in the third, and playing well below his capabilities throughout.
But it’s quite clear that unless Janowicz improves dramatically, his stay in Montreal won’t be very long.
The Verdict on Julien Benneteau
Ah, Benneteau. He started well, dominating Janowicz’ second serve and hitting his forehand with a lot of confidence and accuracy. Alas, it didn’t last long. In the third set Benneteau found a way to claw back from down a break, and found himself up 4-2. He then double faulted 3 times in his next service game, and got broken. He repeated the feat at 5-all, and once again, got broken.
In the end, it was the kind of performance from the erratic Frenchman that initially inspires you to ask “why hasn’t this guy won a title yet?,” only to realize after the match ends that it’s perfectly understandable why Julien Benneteau remains titleless on the ATP tour.