Rafa 2; Argentina 0

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Rafa took on his second Argentinean in a row tonight – this time it was rising star and 6th ranked Juan Martin Del Potro. The first set was a no-contest affair with Rafa taking it 6-2 and Del Potro being treated for a problem with his right wrist. It wasn’t much closer in the second set except for the minor mental walk-about that Rafa went on. Over all, not a great match – too many errors, too little concentration and too little excitement – but Rafa got the job done and is into the semifinals: 6-2 6-4.

Stats:

Nadal Del Potro
Statistics on Serve
Aces 2 2
Double Faults 1 2
1st Serve % 71% 66%
1st Serve Points Won 32/44 (73%) 26/47 (55%)
2nd Serve Points Won 9/18 (50%) 11/24 (46%)
Break Points Saved 4/5 (80%) 9/13 (69%)
Service Games Played 9 9
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 21/47 (45%) 12/44 (27%)
Second Return Points Won 13/24 (54%) 9/18 (50%)
Break Points Won 4/13 (31%) 1/5 (20%)
Return Games Played 9 9
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 41/62 (66%) 37/71 (52%)
Total Return Points Won 34/71 (48%) 21/62 (34%)
Total Points Won 75/133 (56%) 58/133 (44%)

As it happened notes:

Okay, I’m not going to mention that they are playing U2 as the players walk on again. Seems like that’s the standard “players walking on court” song selection.

I’m actually going to have to watch a freaky tall guy match. I’m a weeble; bean poles squick me out. Is it possible to just watch half the court?

Marc! is in da house.

Kalliopeia: I MISSED MARC
Kalliopeia: I like that, Rafa on the baseline and Delpo running around way back. He needs to keep that up.
miri: Agreed

Half the court is in shadow – that’s got to be no fun to deal with. It will make for pretty match photos, though.

On serve 1-1. No big drama yet. Just moving along. We get our first break point in the third game, but Rafa fires a shot just wide and it’s back to deuce. Another break point for Rafa. DelPo keeps Rafa way behind the baseline and it’s back to Ad for him. And…another break point for Rafa. DelPo nets an easy looking forehand and Rafa is up 2-1.

@wihamilton: @nadalnews i dont think del potro has much of a chance. nadal has too much game.
@nadalnews: @wihamilton I tend to agree, but I’m a bit prejudice

DelPo swings a volley right back to Rafa. Hello? Other half of the court is open… More break points for Rafa, but DelPo holds. Trainer out to see DelPo on the change-over – looking at his right wrist. And he takes an injury time out.

Kalliopeia: for someone who needs work on his arm, he keeps using it a lot so the guy can’t do anything with it.
Kalliopeia: the trainer keeps standing there waiting for him to stop grabbing stuff with it

Aww…sweet drop shot from Rafa – good thing to use against a big lumbering guy who’s standing back behind the baseline. A nice rally with Rafa running DelPo well ends the next game and it’s 4-2. DelPo moves Rafa back to start out the next game and wins a point despite a somewhat lackluster first volley.

I mention Marc! in an IM to Kalliopeia, but forget his exclamation point. *hangs head in shame*

Another break point for Rafa. He moves DelPo left and right and back again…and he’s up 5-2. During the change-over, the trainer is back out talking to DelPo. Rafa starts off his “serving for the set” game with a double fault (and at least one curse word).

Kalliopeia: Bets on Del Potro retiring after this set?
miri: yeah
miri: He didn’t look happy
Kalliopeia: not at all

Easy hold for Rafa and the first set is his: 6-2.

Rafa is stepping up at the right times tonight – taking control when he has the opportunity. Granted, so far he’s not being pushed much, but it’s still nice to see after he looked so out of sorts most of his last match. He breaks to start set two.

Kalliopeia: Del Potro looks like he is trudging around with weights hanging off his body. So slumped and heavy looking
miri: Marc!
Kalliopeia: woot!
miri: picking his nose!
Kalliopeia: he’s picking his nose!

We are both so observant. Rafa appears to have been disturbed by the nose picking too as he makes a few silly errors to give DelPo a break point.

Marc! (Not picking his nose.)

DelPo sends a shot long and Rafa holds. 2-0 second set. Triple break point for Rafa. DelPo saves one. He saves another with a good serve down the middle. And he saves the third by picking up some good volleys. Some errors from Rafa and DelPo wins the game.

Kalliopeia: he’s playing awfully loosely suddenly
miri: I think he’s on a bit of a mental walk-about
@Ataraxis00: @nadalnews Wasting all those break chances. He looks bored actually.

Rafa nets a ball to start the next game. He’s making faces at himself. I have no idea how one makes a face at oneself, but he’s doing it. Break point to DelPo. Rafa saves the bp and it’s deuce. Another break point to DelPo. DelPo is suddenly looking more bouncy. In fact, he’s bouncing. He ends a long rally, however, by putting a ball into the net and we are back to deuce. Rafa gets an Ad, but nets his own ball: deuce again.

I have to go take care of a cat barfing up a hair ball. It’s non-stop Friday night excitement here at casa miri.

Looks like we’ve been through a few Ads and deuces while I was out of the room. Rafa floats a ball long and DelPo has another break point. Rafa needs to return from his mental holiday. After 12 minutes, Rafa finally holds: 3-1.

Oh, lovely little lob from Rafa. Not easy to lob over the freaky tall guys. Rafa breaks and it’s 4-1. On the change-over, the chair tells Rafa he’s taking a bit too long between points. Rafa says he knows and “thanksverymuch.”

DelPo challenges a call and we get the standard, “Rafa stands defiantly with hands on hips and stares down Hawkeye” shot. Hawkeye flinched. Rafa holds and it’s 5-1. DelPo holds to force Rafa to serve out the match. Rafa goes down 0-30, but sets his feet firmly and fires off a forehand for 15-30. He pulls DelPo into the net with a short ball and then fires a shot cross court behind him: 30-30. A nice shot from DelPo gives him a break point. Rafa challenges, but Hawkeye doesn’t flinch this time. Rafa fires a wild shot wide, and DelPo is still in this.

Rafa gets a break point on DelPo’s next service game. Rafa hits a shot just wide and it’s deuce.

Marc!

DelPo holds and it’s 5-4. Rafa to serve for the match…again. DelPo gives himself a wedgie pulling on his shorts. What is it about Rafa that makes men play with their shorts? (On second thought, please don’t answer that.)

Kalliopeia: rafa’s headband is slipping
miri: I always think of that as a sign he’s frustrated
Kalliopeia: yeah
miri: ’cause he ends up looking out of sorts

Game set and match to Rafa! Crooked headband be damned

8 Responses

  1. tiemyshoe says:

    It was a solid match, I think. Nothing special, but just shows how absurdly one-dimensional DelPo is. And the fact that no matter how exciting a player is, he needs an exciting opponent or else the match is gonna be a snoozer.

    Peeps at VB making doomsday projections about Rafa’s chances in the semi and final. Again. **eyeroll**

    • miri says:

      I agree with you – nothing special, but then it didn’t take anything special to win. I was a bit worried when Rafa took what appeared to be a boredom induced mental holiday in the 2nd set, but he managed to sort things out.

      I haven’t seen DelPo play much (it’s the “freaky tall” aversion factor), but I didn’t see anything to counter your one-dimensional comment. That often seems to be a feature of the freaky tall contingent, only I didn’t even see the typical “holy crap” serve from DelPo that most of them seem to have.

      Doomsday predictions against Roddick? Roddick? Yes, he’s playing better than he has in a while and I love the guy’s pressers, but let’s talk one-dimensional, okay? Yes, he hits a flatter ball and that often bugs Rafa on hard courts, but I don’t think he takes the ball consistently early enough to truly bother Rafa.

    • Kalliopeia says:

      Well, Roddick, Murray and Federer have all beaten Rafa in the past so of course they are HUGE threats. And on hard courts! Sometimes the people at VB are more pessimistic about Rafa’s abilities than any commentator or sports writer out there.

      I mean, sure he might lose, but it’s not a disaster. Unless it’s Djokovic that beats him. Then? Disaster! :) Thankfully Roddick took care of that possibility.

      • miri says:

        I know. And people wonder why he doesn’t “get the respect he deserves” in the press (a point I’d argue against) when even his fans don’t give him a chance?

        Every time Rafa walks on the court, there are two possible outcomes. Neither of which is a disaster and both of which will cease to matter in a few days once one looks at the bigger picture. At least, that’s the way Rafa seems to approach it and I do my best to do the same.

        Heck, it would be boring if all of his matches were easy wins. Rafa loves the struggle of tough competition and watching him struggle and think through things is fascinating to me. I want him to face the best players – he’ll learn from it whether he wins or loses and that will just help him improve his game (which seems to be the thing that makes him most happy).

      • tiemyshoe says:

        I guess I’m getting grumpy in my old age, but I’m definitely starting to get tired of fans who are so “invested” in Rafa that they nitpick him to death and say they do it out of love. And then complain about other media/fans, who do the same thing. And so on.

        Seriously, the argument that “it’s better if he loses early to so-and-so than get to the final and lose to so-and-so” is ridiculous. RIDICULOUS, I say!

        I’ve never really been involved in a sports fandom of such intensity, so I guess I’m learning a few things about the irrational lengths people go to get their panties in a twist.

        Anyway, sorry for venting. Onwards, Rafa.

        • miri says:

          Wait, people were saying he should lose early rather than risk losing to particular people in a later round? The hell? That makes NO SENSE.

          And yes. Pantie twisting is a big part of any fandom.