I have previously written an article about Tomas Berdyech and Robin Soderling regarding how I expected them to shine this U.S. Open, yet watching their first round matches I saw the complete opposite of what I expected.
Soderling survived a scare against little known Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer 7-5 6-3 6-7 5-7 6-4. Berdyech, on the other hand, lost 7-5 6-4 6-4 to Llodra.
While it true that Llodra took Berdyech by surprise using his serve-and-volley tactics, but I expected at least a little fight back from a player with such great potential. I mean he has beaten Federer twice in a row (one of them coming in Wimbledon), reached the Roland Garros semifinal and the Wimbledon final.
Whether this is just minor loss or not, only time will tell if he can jump back and end his year on a high at least.
Llodra had the upper hand throughout the whole match; he certainly did not show any sign of giving up and was at full throttle throughout.
However, you expect Berdyech to go down in at least four sets or somehow show signs of a mini comeback and keep Llodra on alert.
Even after Llodra's trainer was called to treat his leg after falling awkwardly in the fourth game of the second set; nonetheless, Llodra came back even stronger to hold serve and then broke Berdyech's serve to win the second set.
What surprises me the most about players like the "Soderlings" and the "Berydechs" is that they reach their peak and defeat many top players at top events such as the Grand Slams and then when under the spotlight, they disappoint!
One example being Berydech's first round match at the U.S. Open. I find it sad for the game honestly. Although I still think they have potential for future events and who knows maybe they might add a Grand Slam or two.
Soderling had his fair share of suffering in his first round match yet came out unscathed unlike Berdyech.
I somewhat compare those two players to Del Potro, of course had he been playing, we would have seen amazing matches worth watching but that was not to be. Obviously assuming Del Potro was fit and healthy.
The one difference between Del Potro and Berdyech is that the former would have pulled of a fight back against Llodra and the latter; well, I just do not know what happened in his first round match as I am still surprised about what happened.
I still do believe that Berdyech can bounce back this year and can certainly come back with a bang.
Soderling too can improve on his first round match and he can go far this U.S. Open, that is if a big improvement is made, and who knows maybe both of them can shine in London at the ATP World Tour Finals.