Yes, that was probably the turning point of the encounter. There were two different matches in one. The first two sets were probably the two worst sets I’ve played so far in the tournament. And the third and fourth were very good. I was able to keep my nerves in the decisive game of the second, an incredible tie-break. I played every point perfectly. It gave me confidence, and I started hitting the ball a little harder, feeling more comfortable on the court.
What happened at the start of the game?
When I walked onto the court, part of me probably stayed in the locker room. We must also congratulate Karen (Khachanov) who served well, who played well. But I made so many unforced errors… The good thing about Grand Slam tournaments is that even if you lose the first two sets, you still have a chance to win. This is not the first game where I managed to turn things around. I think those kinds of wins give me confidence mentally, but also physically and emotionally.
How did you manage this change between an average match and this incredible tie-break?
You have to tell yourself that each point is important. Every point was perfectly scripted for me, so to speak. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Throughout my career, I have had very good results in tie-breaks. My opponents know it, and so do I. So I think it serves me mentally. When approaching the tie-break, I know that I may have this mental advantage, and I try to use it. He felt a little touched and I immediately used the momentum. The energy of the court swung to my side. I felt the momentum. I started to loosen up and relax a bit more in my shots, go harder, with more confidence, and he backed off a bit. These moments of confidence and doubt are common in a best-of-five game. »