Bam! Thank you for coming.

(Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

Stats:

Nadal Davydenko
Statistics on Serve
Aces 1 3
Double Faults 2 1
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
miri: Indeed.

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
miri: Heee!

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.

21 Responses

  1. kefuoe says:

    Check on the headband situation. Not sure what the solution is, short of the backward cap.

    Re: camera work. My scientific tendencies make me wonder if you (I, we) don’t *notice* the lingering full length body shots more with Nadal than with other players. Sometimes it does seem like some of the camera operators have a bit of a crush. Or else they know what sells.

    • tiemyshoe says:

      I remember during the Queens final last year, the commies were remarking on how all the cameras are fixed on Rafa, all the time. There was even a shot of literally all the lenses pointed toward him at one point. It doesn’t hurt that he looks pretty striking any way you slice it.

    • CC says:

      Ahem…I have a feeling that at least I notice those lingering body shots quite a lot.
      *feels guilty for hardly noticing who is on other side of net when Rafa plays*

      • strobi says:

        In the González-Ferrer match, the full body pans were of Fernando González, specially when he was bending down. Quite frustrating for me because i am crazy about David Ferrer. I guess it has more to do with which player has more fan base.

        • Anna says:

          “I guess it has more to do with which player has more fan base.”

          Or with accomplishments. Gonzalez is a GS finalist.

          • strobi says:

            Well, Ferrer was a Masters Cup finalist and has and had a higher ranking than González (4 being his best, while Gonzalez was 5). However, González has all those Olympic medals to his name, which is a huge thing. Still, Ferrer was the home boy, i wanted more full body pans!

        • kefuoe says:

          I guess the camera person and the producer get the last say in what gets shot and what gets broadcast. I would have thought Ferrer would have been at least the local favorite (local in my house as well!)

    • Anna says:

      I think it’s just (or mostly) a matter of focusing on the biggest name/star. Happens to Roger, too.

      You don’t see the same bias in Rafa/Roger matches. Cameras go back and forth all the time.

  2. Maria says:

    Now they finally use split screens and there’s *no* shirt change to possibly be missed. :( Full body shots made up for it a little. :)

  3. faecoleman says:

    I’m not complaining! Full body shots…phew! bring it on! btw it was an unexpected non stressful match today, Rafa seemed more confident especially with all that dust from the wind. So here we have it, a repeat of last years final, great match between Gonza and Ferrer, real slug fest, boy I forget how hard a forehand Gonzo hits… congrats to Ferrer, gr8 guy and friend of Rafa’s.

    • kalliopeia says:

      Wait, Ferrer won?

      I gave up in the second set and went yarn shopping (gotta have crochet mojo for Rafa in the finals, you know)!

      Poo. Oh well, good for him, I wanted him to win anyway. :)

      • tiemyshoe says:

        kalli, I’m curious, what kind of things do you crochet? You must have amassed a large pile of crocheted things from all the nervy Rafa matches. :)

        • kalliopeia says:

          You’d think I’d have a lot of stuff, wouldn’t you? But I only started crocheting in November, so I’ve made a few scarves and am working on a big blanket (which is what I’ve mostly worked on during the Rafa matches…the yarn I bought today is for an afghan for my boss. For Christmas. Yes, I’m that slow).

          If you are interested, my flickr account has pictures of stuff I’ve done and stuff in progress: http://www.flickr.com/photos/17028450@N00/

  4. tiemyshoe says:

    Hrmm, sounds like Rafa’s not happy with his short balls today:

    • tiemyshoe says:

      I mean … hitting balls short. Ahem.

      [/is twelve]

      • miri says:

        Thanks for the clarification. I was about to ask how you knew. ;)

        Man, I go out for a few hours (yes! Me! Out!) and you guys go to town on the comments. I love it!

        I was expecting a bit of a trickier match from Davydenko. It didn’t look like he was playing bad – except for some badly timed errors.

  5. June says:

    Miri,
    I enjoy reading your posts, pictures, etc. on your website. My 15-year old daughter plays tennis and I just started watching tennis again last year for the US Open & Australian Open. Now it’s getting very exciting to watch especially the clay which I’ve never seen before. Did anyone read the article by Peter Bodo on “Who wants another old-fashion Nadal whippin”?‎ on tennis.com It was interesting to say the least. Vamos Rafa!

  6. patzin says:

    Wish I could speak Spanish. As for today Rafa looked fairly relaxed and played well I think. Look forward to tomorrow. I notice the cameras tend to roam his entire body, certainly more than other competitors, with exception of RF. I don’t mind.

  7. patzin says:

    There are two good articles about Rafa – Peter Bodo, which I think was referenced here, and Matt Cronin (FoxSports – 4/20/09). They both look at the man and his interior road map, so to speak. I also read something about how the Eagle applies only as much effort as is required (to change direction in flight). I think this comment applies to Rafa – he is known for playing at the level needed and if more is needed, he has that too. The man is amazing.