The start of a season always renews hopes. From each other. Of those who are above, of those who have not yet exploited, of young people, of those who come from injuries. In short, thousands of possibilities. But if your first main draw in a year is in front of a player who has only won 4 games in two games, all your illusions will sink. And even more when the initial set is in the hands of your rival by a forceful 6-1. There are always exceptions…
Michael Berrer saw a light. Three online victories in the standings, two of them quite close, gave the world No. 127 a further plus. The German came to his duel against Rafael Nadal, in Doha 2015, with some pace of competition. In counterpoint, # 2 on the planet had played just three tournaments in the past six months. An injury to his right wrist and appendicitis had kept him out of the second half of 2014.
What was said. The first set was in the hands of Rafael Nadal by an overwhelming 6-1. Few unforced errors and a festival of right winners. In tune with the 6-0 and 6-1 achieved in Monte Carlo 2010 and the 6-2 and 6-1 achieved in Indian Wells 2009. It seemed to be the third episode of the saga. But Rafa did not have the ace up his sleeve that Berrer had in his box. Or pure chance. An amulet, perhaps. Dustin Brown, then executioner of Rafa in Halle 2014 (he would also win it in that 2015 in Wimbledon), watched carefully the actions.
A key break and change of roles. Berrer became the surprise dominator of the duel. “The first set was a brutal blow, but I realized something: I was in a good mood! When I won the second I thought that something could work. I kept on playing and then switched sides 5-4 and served for the game”, Berrer explained to Tennisnet about this match. “I thought too much about the bench and suddenly found myself 15-40,” added the Zagreb double finalist, world No. 42 in 2010 and retired four seasons ago. Fortunately for his story, he knew how to react and was left with a historic victory.
“He played well. Returning to the courts after a long time made me more nervous than usual. I wanted to win. I knew that winning a couple of games here would help me on the return. But this is it. sports. I am clear that coming back after an injury takes time “, highlighted an analyst Nadal at the time, seeing how a return with glory escaped his fingers.
And in tune, Berrer. “It is one of the games that will remain in my memory forever, but, let’s be honest, it was Rafa’s first game after the injury,” the German said at the press conference in Doha at the time. Not even the euphoria over the historic victory made him take his feet off the ground. But no one can take this One-Hit Wonder from him.