Rafa took on the often tricky Nikolay Davydenko in today’s first Barcelona semi-final. Davydenko pushed Rafa in the ’07 Rome tournament and has been playing very well since returning from a heel injury. Not even the windy could help bring some drama to this foregone conclusion, however, and Rafa is through to the finals: 6-3 6-2.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||67%||84%|
|1st Serve Points Won||33/45 (73%)||28/51 (55%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||10/22 (45%)||5/10 (50%)|
|Break Points Saved||6/6 (100%)||5/9 (56%)|
|Service Games Played||8||9|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||23/51 (45%)||12/45 (27%)|
|Second Return Points Won||5/10 (50%)||12/22 (55%)|
|Break Points Won||4/9 (44%)||0/6 (0%)|
|Return Games Played||9||8|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||43/67 (64%)||33/61 (54%)|
|Total Return Points Won||28/61 (46%)||24/67 (36%)|
|Total Points Won||71/128 (55%)||57/128 (45%)|
As it happened blatherings:
Davydenko starts off with an easy hold. Rafa overcomes a few break points against in his first service game. Another easy hold for Davydenko and another tricky one for Rafa. Rafa breaks for 3-2.
Mo is looking very dapper today. Did he dye his hair to go with the suit?
The forehand is getting hotter. Rafa consolidates with a nice easy hold: 4-2.
Davydenko pays the price for hitting a short ball – Rafa runs into the net and whips the ball into the corner for a winner. Davydenko manages to wrong foot Rafa on the next point – it’s warm and dry today so the clay is a bit slippery. Things are just rolling along smoothly, though and it’s 5-3. Triple break point for Rafa. Davydenko saves one with a service winner and another with a deep backhand. Rafa takes the first set in 42 minutes with a cross-court forehand passing shot.
The windy keeps making its presence known from time to time. I may be a little slow, but I finally figured out why Rafa’s having headband problems of late: I think he’s wearing it higher to try and keep his somewhat newly layered hair in place. So, it’s above the widest part of his head and that makes it easier for it to creep up. (Why yes, the tennis, while well-played, isn’t exactly exciting today.)
Kalliopeia: he needs to explore new hair containment solutions
Beautiful dipping backhand shot from Davydenko – it went just over the net and then died.
Kalliopeia: that big bottle(?) by the chair is wobbling around in the wind
Kalliopeia: ….no, I have no idea why I notice this stuff.
miri: well, I’m noticing headband movement, so there you go.
Double fault from Davydenko to give Rafa a break point. Davydenko hits a deep backhand down the line and draws an error from Rafa – deuce.
Commentator on a nice forehand from Rafa: “Bam! Thank you for coming.”
Rafa and Mo discussing a line call – so much cuteness.
Both hold and it’s 2-1 on serve. Rafa is using his slice backhand to good effect – upsetting Davydenko’s rhythm. A few untimely errors from Davydenko and Rafa breaks for 3-1.
Oye, double fault from Rafa – and a nasty one too. Very weak on that second serve. Perhaps the windy is messing with things. The windy stops a slice shot mid-air and gives Davydenko plenty of time to deal with it – break point. An error from Davydenko and it’s deuce. Lovely drop shot from Davydenko and he has another break point. Rafa saves that one with a wonderful cross-court forehand. Rafa drops a ball shot and Davydenko stomps on it – another break point. The net cord helps Rafa back to deuce.
(After a discussion of Rafa’s unorthodox grip thanks to a few close-ups from the camera guys.)
Kalliopeia: they never seem to show close ups of other player’s bodies.
Kalliopeia: Have you noticed the amount of head to toe full body pans of Rafa there have been? :D
It takes him awhile, but Rafa holds for 4-1.
Heh – winning easily and Rafa’s still talking tersely to himself after missing a shot. Knowing he’s totally screwed, Davydenko is suddenly hitting out. Doesn’t stop Rafa from holding for 5-2, though.
Davydenko serving to stay in the match and Rafa comes out firing. He breaks and wins the match.