As FSN signs off the air just before Rafa comes out to play (ARGH!) I remember that I didn’t do a roundup after the match with Nalbandian. How could I miss that? I mean, these posts are the most exciting thing ever, right? (Stop yawning!)
IW: Not a Rafa – and article about how Nando is no Rafa
Rafa, stringy hair always flying, is willing to get ugly to win. When has anyone ever said that about the fabulously coiffed Mr. Sauce?
Not even Roger Federer defeats Nadal these days, but Nalbandian owned 6-4, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-2 victories over him from 2007. When Nalbandian took the first set behind bold and brilliant shot-making and surged to a 5-3 lead in the second, the tennis world was primed to spend a few days trying to parse the Argentine’s mastery of the Spaniard. But Nadal saved four match points on his serve and added a fifth save before breaking Nalbandian in the next game. Nalbandian recovered in the 12th game to force a tie breaker, and rallied to 6-5 before Nadal closed out the set with a service winner that brought the remnants of the crowd to life.
First, Rafael Nadal. Well, this one’s pretty obvious – never give in…
Your opponent is playing better than you today, you’re tired, you just gave away the set, you haven’t been able to convert a BP all match. That was then. You can still turn the match around – change tactics, change court position, run everything down.
Four of the match points for the Argentinian had come at 3–5 on Nadal’s serve and one a game later when Nalbandian, suddenly looking nervous, opened with a double fault as he served for the match. Only one of the match points was surrendered with an unforced error – the remainder were snatched from Nalbandian with the kind of rip-roaring, defiant winners that have become the Spaniard’s trademark.