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Don't lose the first set

Updated: August 29, 2013, 10:10 PM ET
By Howard Bryant | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- A common line of thinking in the age of the Big Four suggests that the top players, especially during a Grand Slam, are so good they can afford to start slow, and play their way into a tournament.

It is a terrific piece of fiction that allows legends of toughness to be written and generally keeps the panic meter down during a tight first set, but the truth is quite different. Tournament pressure is obvious and real. Belief is a most precious and inexplicable commodity, and loss ...

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