It’s a rematch of the Indian Wells finals – but this time on clay and without the windy. And just like in that final, Rafa notched things up a gear and gave Murray all kinds of problems. It was a a low-energy match until 5-3 in the second set when Murray, with nothing to lose, started swinging free, fought his way back into the set, and forced a tie-break. In the end, however, Rafa wins 6-2 7-6(7-4).
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||62%||50%|
|1st Serve Points Won||27/40 (68%)||24/37 (65%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||14/25 (56%)||14/37 (38%)|
|Break Points Saved||2/4 (50%)||5/9 (56%)|
|Service Games Played||10||10|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||13/37 (35%)||13/40 (33%)|
|Second Return Points Won||23/37 (62%)||11/25 (44%)|
|Break Points Won||4/9 (44%)||2/4 (50%)|
|Return Games Played||10||10|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||41/65 (63%)||38/74 (51%)|
|Total Return Points Won||36/74 (49%)||24/65 (37%)|
|Total Points Won||77/139 (55%)||62/139 (45%)|
As it happened blatherings:
Rafa starts the match by serving – must have lost that coin toss. Both players have brought their angles with them today. Long rally with both players waiting for someone to goof up ends with Murray saying, “screw this” and blasting a forehand past Rafa. Rafa holds: 1-0.
Rafa starts Murray’s first service game by blistering a second serve return, but the ball lands just wide. Rafa in somewhat passive mode – not coming in or teeing-off on some short balls.
@Ataraxis00: He’s going to out fox the rope-a-dope man and look at that .. he just came in.
Rafa breaks to go up 2-0.
@nadalnews I’m still riveted by the naked knees of Nadal.
@kefuoe Me too! It’s like…knee porn or something.
I always laugh when the commentators mention Rafa saying this is one of his favorite courts. When doesn’t he say that?
Murray goes up 15-30 on Rafa’s next serve and a beautifully constructed point by Rafa ends with a bad overhead smash from Rafa that goes long. He follows that up with another long shot and Murray breaks back: 2-1.
Why does my cat always want massive amounts of attention during Rafa matches? I hadn’t seen him all morning and now he’s all over me.
@olerafa: Rafa is just like catnip … He stimulates the pheromonic receptors, which typically results in temporary euphoria!
Rafa goes back to grinding mode and gets the first point on Andy’s next serve. Andy follows with a drop shot that’s so disgustingly perfect, Rafa doesn’t even attempt to track it down. On break point, Rafa plays an amazing smash (to make up for the last one) and it’s the third break of serve in a row: 3-1.
Sexy service game – Rafa holds at love: 4-1.
@ElToroDeRafa: Apparently Robbie Koenig on TTV just said, “horny rafa fans”.
I think Rafa’s gone up a gear. Oh hell, that was a lovely angle. Triple break point for Rafa. Andy saves one with an excellent volley. Saves another with a blistering forehand. Rafa hits a shot long to give one back to Andy and it’s deuce. Rafa rules a point…only to send a forehand wide and it’s advantage Andy. A few more errors later and it’s game to Andy: 4-2.
Bit of a lull in the match energy here, but Rafa holds for 5-2. Both players moving each other around the court pretty well. Oh, bad error by Murray. He’d set up the shot he wanted but blasted it far wide. Set point for Rafa. And he takes the first set 6-2. He’s really enjoying Andy’s second serves.
Rafa starts set 2 by holding at love. Andy follows that up with a hold at love. Love is in the air. The love trend ends on a wide forehand from Rafa on his next serve. Nice long rally ends with Andy almost pushed off the court and Rafa at the net smashing a winner. Rafa holds for 2-1.
Watching Rafa’s tiny fast footsteps just makes me happy.
Another tight service game for Andy. He won a wonderful point with some nice net play and then nets a ball while coming into the net a few points later. Rafa breaks for 3-1. He then holds easily: 4-1.
Wonderful net play in the next game – beautiful angles from both players with Murray coming out on top. Murray holds: 4-2. Things are feeling inevitable and Andy’s talking to himself.
More fun and lively angles get Murray to deuce on Rafa’s next service game, but Rafa goes on to hold for 5-2. Murray goes down on his serve, but plays a smart and aggressive point to tie things back up. Taking a clue from that point, he swings freely on the next and wins it too. He goes on to hold: 5-3.
A long point on Rafa’s serve finds Andy again swinging free and he blasts a shot past Rafa for 15-15. Another aggressive point from Andy and it’s 15-30. Rafa needs to put a stop to this. Andy could get dangerous. One slight change-up later and it’s 30-30 – always thinking, that lad. He then blows a backhand volley wide and Andy has a break point. Rafa takes it away from him with a smart wide serve, approach and volley – deuce. Rafa sends a shot over the baseline and Andy has another bp. Andy does Rafa the favor or sending a shot wide and it’s deuce again. After a long rally, Andy sends another shot sailing and it’s match point for Rafa. A well placed and timed dropper by Andy takes things back to deuce. Fantastically placed return from Andy gives him another break point. Rafa practically sends a serve into the stands when he breaks a string. So, Rafa has to go get a new racket and is now facing a bp on second serve with a loss of service rhythm. Andy plays an aggressive and smart point to break – they are back on serve at 5-4.
That was the most exciting game of the match by far.
Okay…Andy to serve with the match on his racket. The net cord conspires with Rafa and helps him to 30-15 on Andy’s serve. The court conspires with Andy to give Rafa a horrid bounce and Andy game point – which he gleefully takes: 5-5.
Rafa goes up 30-0, but sails a ball and it’s 30-15. He fires a fierce forehand in the next rally for 40-15. A wonderful forehand and strong smash give him the game: 6-5. Murray again to serve with the match on his racket.
Long rally to start the next game – both players trying to out soft-slice-backhand each other with Andy winning. Andy goes up triple break point, but Rafa wins the next two points with aggressive play. Murray runs Rafa ragged to take the game. We are going to a tie-break. Rafa hasn’t been taken to a tie-break at MC since 2006 against Fed.
Rafa notches it up a gear and takes the first 3 sets of the tiebreak. Murray cracks a winner to get on the scoreboard. He takes both of Rafa’s service points and it’s 3-2. Andy sends a shot long and it’s 4-2. Super long rally ends with a strong forehand in the corner from Rafa and it’s 5-3. Amazing forehand winner from Murray on Rafa’s serve and it’s 5-4. Holy crap that was an excellent cat and mouse point. I thought Rafa was going to lose it with all the short balls, but he fired off an angle winner for match point and this time, Rafa wins it.