Onward!

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

It was a rematch of the 2007 final as Rafa took on #13 Fernando Gonzalez today. Rafa ruled that match, would the same be true today? The match started well, hit a rough patch and then Rafa steam-rollered through the end. Rafa wins 6-3 6-3. He’ll take on Djokovic tomorrow in a repeat of the Monte-Carlo final.

Stats:

Nadal Gonzales
Statistics on Serve
Aces 1 2
Double Faults 0 2
1st Serve % 74% 61%
1st Serve Points Won 27/34 (79%) 22/31 (71%)
2nd Serve Points Won 6/12 (50%) 6/20 (30%)
Break Points Saved 0/1 (0%) 3/7(43%)
Service Games Played 9 9
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 9/31 (29%) 7/34 (21%)
Second Return Points Won 14/20 (70%) 6/12 (50%)
Break Points Won 4/7 (57%) 1/1 (100%)
Return Games Played 9 9
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 33/46 (72%) 28/51 (55%)
Total Return Points Won 23/51 (45%) 13/46 (28%)
Total Points Won 56/97(58%) 41/97 (42%)

As it happened blatherings:

Rafa wins the toss and will receive. Shocking! ;)

@Ataraxis00: @nadalnews lol You don’t say! Feeling good about this match today? I hope he has a good quick start, make Gonzo break his racquet.

It’s Rafa on clay, how can I not feel good about it?

Kalliopeia: they always talk like Gonzo is going to be a huge problem. and I mean…he could be. but he has never been, on clay.
Kalliopeia: I guess he’s been playing really well, though
Kalliopeia: and honestly if Rafa isn’t going to win this title I’d rather he go down to gonzo than djokovic.
Kalliopeia: my initial prediction in your poll was semis.
miri: just start crocheting. I’ve got my draw sheet up to date.
Kalliopeia: oh i am

Gonzo starts things off with an easy hold. He also starts firing his forehand right away on Rafa’s serve, but Rafa holds with relative ease.

Kalliopeia: Rafa better not start counting on him to miss that forehand

Gonzo’s forehand is really on fire. Easy hold for him. Rafa decides to fire his own forehand – with a great angle on it to boot. Nice wide serve followed up with a forehand to the other corner and Rafa has game point. He holds at love: 2-2.

At 30-30, Rafa gets a short shot from Gonzo, but he retreats after hitting it and the rally continues until Gonzo nets a ball. Rafa breaks.

Rafa sends two shots flying and Gonzo’s up on Rafa’s next service game. He then nets a ball to give Gonzo triple break point. Gonzo fires an amazing cross-court forehand and he breaks. Back on serve.

Lovely angled backhand from Rafa. He goes up 30-0 on Gonzo’s next game and then Gonzo commits 2 unforced errors and Rafa breaks at love. Not exactly stellar tennis so far.

Rafa serving with new balls. Gonzo takes advantage of a short ball and hits a well-disguised drop-shot.

@kefuoe: @nadalnews Bet Nadal’s thinking about how to get all through with the match (and the other stuff) so that he can watch Barca v Real Madrid.

Nice smash from Rafa and it’s 40-15. He’s 3 of 3 at the net. That shot was in? Amazing down-the-line forehand from Rafa to get an Ad. Make that 4 of 4 at net – Rafa holds for 5-3.

Again, a shot that it didn’t look like he should get to, but he hits a winner. For some reason, Rafa hits a smash right back to Gonzo and lets him stay in the point. Gonzo makes a boo-boo though and it’s double break point. Gonzo saves one. Rafa breaks and takes the first set 6-3 in 34 minutes.

@skyejaden: @nadalnews good times, good times :D

(Meanwhile, Kalliopeia and I are discussing the fat and salt content on Taco Bell’s menu. Cravings suck.)

Rafa ruins his at-the-net streak by blowing a backhand volley and hitting it way wide. He then nets a ball and goes down 0-30. Gonzo returns the favor and it’s 15-30.

Kalliopeia: come on Rafa, you’re not allowed to fall asleep just because I’m pondering dietary suicide.

That smash was more like it. Rafa holds for 1-0, second set.

It never ceases to amaze me how Rafa can get away with serving so much to the backhand given that his serve isn’t exactly the fastest thing on the tour.

Amazing forehand down the line while going backwards. Double break point for Rafa. Gonzo saves one by taking a short shot mid-air and volleying it for a win. Gonzo runs around a backhand to hit a forehand…and fires it wide. Rafa breaks: 2-0.

Kalliopeia: they always mention the prize money. neither of these guys are playing for the money a this point, they are both rich
miri: I remember reading a story where Mary Carillo talked about finding crumpled checks for large sums of money on McEnroe’s hotel room floor. He kept forgetting to cash them.
Kalliopeia: I mean, not that I think they are uninterested but if they lose I doubt they think “Oh well at least I got a lot of money”

Easy hold for Rafa: 3-0. He’s rolling – can he keep this up?

Kalliopeia: I’m so annoyed by this Longines commercial that I always forget Andre Agassi is in it

Beauty from Rafa gives him a break point. Gonzo saves that his trademark sizzling forehand and follows that up with a smart point to get a game point. Perfectly timed and placed dropper gives Gonzo the game: 3-1.

God I love those fast teeny tiny steps.
@finnaginn01: @nadalnews Just call him “Twinkle Toes”

Gonzo wrong-foots Rafa for 15-30 on Rafa’s serve. Gonzo just misses on a forehand and it’s 30-30. Amazing angled forehand from Rafa! How did he do that? Rafa holds for 4-1.

(My cat is demanding I play fetch with him. If I don’t – he bites my toes.)

Routine hold for Gonzo.

@andyroddick: Great move. Driving behind someone who signaled left and turned right…..

I’m not sure Twittering while driving counts as a great move either…

Routine hold by Rafa: 5-2.

Serving to stay in the match, Gonzo hits a beautiful cross-court backhand for 15-0.

Kalliopeia: oh man someone must be having a derby barbecue
Kalliopeia: I can smell it through the window
miri: heh
Kalliopeia: god that smells good
miri: Maybe you can crash the bbq
Kalliopeia: ….as you may have noticed, I’m hungry.
miri: Me too – pickles for breakfast don’t last long.

Routine hold from Gonzo and Rafa is serving for the match. Nice smash from Rafa and he’s up 30-0. Boo-boo from Gonzo and it’s 40-0 – triple match point. Everyone kind of stares and wonders if Rafa’s served an ace, but it’s wide. A lovely dropper wins him the match.

Heh – indeed. RT: @kefuoe: @nadalnews That is the tennis.

19 Responses

  1. faecoleman says:

    That backhand sliced drop shot was probably the classiest shot I’ve seen Rafa finish off a match with, was great wasn’t it? Nice an easy match leaving him fresh for tommorow, plus the final is not until 3 ish giving him extra time to prepare, however Djokovic is playing really well, although I have to say that Fed had the match under control until the stupid rain came, shuks Fed loses he’s groove and Djokovic takes advantage having recrouped during the break. I was hoping for a Nadal v. Federer final as I think Djokovic could be alot to handle tommorow. Oh well, lets hope Rafa finds his A’ game tommorow and takes his 4th Roman Title home as No.1. Go Rafa!!

    • strobi says:

      It’s divine justice, like when Rafa had the Wimbledon final under control being 2-0 before the rain break and after that Roger went to win the next two sets. Too bad this match was only for the best of three sets *muahahahaha*

  2. tiemyshoe says:

    Epic struggle today … between Rafa and watch.

    Watch FTW!!!

    • kalliopeia says:

      Did you hear Jason Goodall’s comment about that? Implying maybe THAT is what he should practice more often. That was hilarious. Then Robby Koenig called it Big Ben.

      Honestly, Rafa. It’s a watch. How hard can it be?

      • miri says:

        As expensive as those darn watches are, they should jump up from the bag and fasten themselves around his wrist.

        Oh wait, that would be creepy.

    • kefuoe says:

      The watch situation gets more and more hilarious. In either Barca or MC, apparently he misplaced it and couldn’t put it one for the interviews (I assume that’s what his sponsorship contract require). Next match, he had Uncle Toni or someone hold it. Now he can’t seem to put it on without a struggle.

      One word, Rafa: VELCRO!

      • miri says:

        I don’t know if I was distracted by seeing him in person or what, but I don’t remember him putting on his watch after the matches I saw in Miami. Now it’s bugging me that I don’t remember if he did it or not!

        Maybe they should make ones that attach to tennis bags. :)

        • kefuoe says:

          I don’t necessarily remember seeing it in Miami, but I know I’ve seen it on just about every televised match where they showed him immediately after (e.g. before signing the camera or before an interview). You’ll just have to go through hours of youtube footage to see it. Sorry!

          • miri says:

            Or look back through my photos…

            No watch – shooting balls into the crowd after a match

            No watch – Sitting for an interview after a match

            No watch – walking off the court after a match

            Wonder if the contract was in limbo for awhile? Or…maybe he’d lost it. ;) Nice to know I wasn’t being inattentive!

            • kefuoe says:

              You’re right! I know that I’ve seen him reach into his bag immediately after a match to put it on, though. I remember thinking it was strange until I realized that it was a sponsorship deal. Maybe it’s an altogether new watch that is virtually impossible to put on in a timely and efficient manner.

  3. johanne says:

    Check out that 1st serve %! 74%! His serve was looking a lot better today to me. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s match. VAMOS RAFA!

    P.S. Keep crocheting, Kalliopeia! ;)

  4. faecoleman says:

    Yes he was Johanne, he definately needs to do that tommorow and a few aces for cheap points wouldn’t go a miss, Djoko’s playing well. That’s true Strobi about the Wimbledon final, would have been straight sets to Rafa I reckon don’t you, still made for more of a dramatic match although it killed me in the meantime. Anyway back to tommorow, lets hope Djoko brings out the best in Rafa and Rafa makes it a 4th Rome title. Vamos Rafa!!!!! Go get em..

  5. miri says:

    I don’t usually do the point math, so I didn’t realize that not only is Djokovic trying to defend his title, he’s also playing to stay #3. He’s never defended before and the last time they played with a position on the line (Hamburg last year with #2 for both of them on the line), Rafa won.

    Djokovic has a lot to think about on the court tomorrow. That could either fire him up or cause him to be tight. If the past is any indication….

  6. faecoleman says:

    I don’t usually pay too much attention to the points either but with all the hype about Andy Murray lately here in Britian, claiming the no.3 spot, you cannot help but notice. I remember that Hamburg final, what a slug fest that was, 8 deuces was it? in the final game, unbelievable tension in that match, I do hope you are right about this Miri, and the pressure gets too much for him, maybe Rafa’s thinking the same…..Hee hee!!

    • kefuoe says:

      What a difference in pressure it will be. Nadal will have virtually none, already having done way better than last year in Rome, and Djokovic will have so much on the line.

      • tiemyshoe says:

        Nole has a lot of pressure, but I think Rafa’s got his share – which is that he’s the favorite, and every loss on clay is going to be apocalyptic and fatal for him in most people’s eyes.

        Of course, this is the same pressure Rafa has going into every clay match, while Nole has special pressure this time. I just wonder whether that’ll weigh on him or actually give him more motivation than usual?

        Hrmmm, there goes my “sanguinity” about Rome.

        • miri says:

          Yeah – this is “same old” pressure for Rafa and new pressure for Nole. Rafa doesn’t even have the “can he 5-peat” pressure he had for the last two Sundays. Rafa deals well and steady with pressure. Nole’s a rollercoaster – hard to know if he’s at the top of the hill about to head down or still on his way up.

  7. elmerforest says:

    “Hola Nole. Blisters are all better now, no? I will have my trophy and my title back now. Thanks for looking after them though. Adios, Rafa.”

  8. faecoleman says:

    Nicely put elmerforest ‘funny’, lets hope Rafs got the mental edge today!!!!! Gooo Rafa!!!