Rafa into the final

(Photo by REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

(Photo by REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

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).

Stats:

Nadal Murray
Statistics on Serve
Aces 0 1
Double Faults 1 0
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.

13 Responses

  1. kefuoe says:

    I heard that “Horny Rafa fans” comment too Hilarious.

    So happy Gimmelstob was otherwise engaged and not commenting on this match.

    • rez says:

      is Gimmelstob the guy who praises Murray way too much? I also found the “Horny Rafa fans” comment funny

      • kefuoe says:

        Yeah. He’s kind of had a real Murray thing lately. Nothing against that per se, but there’s an overblown quality to his comments that grates on me.

    • tiemyshoe says:

      I watched via stream, and the Sky Sports guys were amazingly evenhanded considering there was a Brit on-court. Is it bad that I generally don’t like commentators with really overblown American accents? It’s weird, but I find the way, say, Gimmelstob or Dick Enberg pronounces foreign players’ names really grating. “Ra-fae-el Na-Dow.” Plus, British/Aussie commentators are less hyperbolic, generally.

      • johanne says:

        OMG I can’t stand Dick Enberg! He’s way too chatty, often doesn’t know the score (or what’s happening in general), reminds you 500 times during a match of what tournament you’re watching, what city it’s in, what time it is, and who’s playing. Oh and also because of the way he says Raf-EEEEEEE-el. Ugh! And I’m American and can’t stand it so NO it’s not just you LOL!

        /rant

        Oh and I never hear Gimmelstob bc these tourneys aren’t broadcast where I am. So while I’m not happy that I’m constantly relying on live streaming, I do thoroughly enjoy listening to Jason Goodall and co. And part of me is just relieved I don’t have to put up with that douche Gimmelstob. But in any case, anyone care to expand on the “Horny Rafa fans” comment?? :)

      • Babz says:

        Really?? I watched the Sky Sports stream and although I liked them immensely in the past, today they were waxing poetic about Murray! XD

        I find it hilarious to listen to.

  2. tiemyshoe says:

    miri, your cat is obviously jealous. He’ll probably start showing a little knee next time just to get your attention.

    Also, Rafa was fab. I wasn’t even that mad when he failed to serve out the match, ’cause Muzz was playing crazy-good tennis at that point. Tomorrow, though, Rafa better watch out for Djokovic’s backhand down the line.

  3. Josh says:

    Regarding Andy’s fightback was anyone else reminded of the 3rd Set in Rafa’s match with the Djoker at Roland Garros 2008.

    In that there was a crazy fight back from Djokovic in that sense and he even had a set point, but Nadal perceviered once again.

  4. johanne says:

    VAMOS RAFA!! I was really impressed with him today, even though he didn’t finish up the 2nd set earlier. Andy just started going for broke and cruised for a good bit, but Rafa hung on and in the end got the job done. Classic. Really great win for Rafa.

  5. johanne says:

    miri did you see this??

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgAYfXv_6pU

    ADORABLE end to the interview!

  6. faecoleman says:

    Thanks for that Johanne, really nice to see that. I nearly had a heart attack watching this match, and to think I have to go through this again tommorow, I hope he can get his 5 in a row especially now his no.1. Go Rafa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!XXXX