Were you feeling déjà vu when you tuned into the Rome final this morning? Weren’t these two guys playing in a final just two weeks ago? There was a lot more on the line for Nole this time, however: he was the defending champion and he had to win in order to keep his #3 ranking on the tour. And yet, it was Rafa who looked more tentative in the first set – being broken twice when trying to serve it out. It was Nole’s turn to get tight in the first set tie-break as he gifted the set to Rafa. The second set was nowhere near as tight and Rafa takes his 4th title in Rome: 7-6(7-2) 6-2. Three Sundays in a row; three tournament wins for Rafa. Unbelievable.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||71%||59%|
|1st Serve Points Won||34/50 (68%)||23/39 (59%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||11/20 (55%)||13/27 (48%)|
|Break Points Saved||2/4 (50%)||1/5 (20%)|
|Service Games Played||10||10|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||16/39 (41%)||16/50 (32%)|
|Second Return Points Won||14/27 (52%)||9/20 (45%)|
|Break Points Won||4/5 (80%)||2/4 (50%)|
|Return Games Played||10||10|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||45/70 (64%)||36/66 (65%)|
|Total Return Points Won||30/66 (45%)||25/70 (36%)|
|Total Points Won||75/136(55%)||61/136 (45%)|
As it happened blatherings:
Looks like the weather’s good, but a little bit of the windy – or as they commentators are saying, “it’s a bit blustery.”
Mo’s in the chair – yay!
What’s going on? Someone pass out already? Rafa really needs to pull back on the hotness if he’s causing people to faint in less than 10 minutes. ;)
@kefuoe: @nadalnews You can’t stop it; you can only hope to contain it.
@Redsherm: @nadalnews: honestly a handsome match, both good eye candy!
@Ataraxis00: @nadalnews Already? All the more reason to take this title quickly, for the safety of the fans. Vamos .. it begins!
Nole to serve to get us started. Ridiculous angle from Rafa. Commentator says Rafa leads the tournament in return and service games won. Forehand down the line from Rafa to get a break point. And he breaks!
The windy making its presence known. Nole’s going for a bit much and sending balls long. Routine hold for Rafa: 1-1.
Another amazing angle from Rafa sends a ball whizzing past Nole at the net.
Kalliopeia: well. Rafa came to play today, I see.
flamingoevil: He is starting out well
flamingoevil: I think he wants to make sure Nole feels the “I’m about to be #4” pressure.
Routine hold for Nole – that will help him feel a bit better. Both players cruising on serve. It’s now 3-2.
Rafa seems to be concentrating extra hard on bottle placement.
Nice rally ends with a powerful backhand winner from Rafa. Ineffectual Nole drop shot in da house. Nole pulls even on Rafa’s serve 30-30. The net cord shows Rafa some love. Is that full body scan #1? 4-2
Nole gives Rafa a short ball, but Rafa doesn’t respond aggressively and sends the ball back short – Nole steps up and wins the point. That was a lovely dropper from Nole. Double fault from Nole. Rafa was running Nole back and forth and tried to go behind him for the winner, but hit the ball into the net. Game Nole: 4-3.
A long rally (26 shots) of cat and mouse ends with an error from Nole. Nole pounces on a short ball and fires off a winner from the net to pull even at 30-30. Rafa pushes Nole back and wide and he pops up a defensive shot which gives Rafa an opportunity to pounce. Wicked forehand angle from Rafa and it’s 5-3.
Rafa was everywhere on that shot – Nole couldn’t wrong foot him. Another vicious cross-court forehand angle. I think Rafa wants to break for the set. Nole pounces on a short ball to give himself the first point in the game. Nole follows that up with a smart point – positioning Rafa well and hitting a winner: 30-30. He sends a shot long to give Rafa break point. Rafa miss-hits a forehand and it’s deuce. Nice cross-court from Nole and he has a game point. Nole holds and it’s 5-4.
Ha! So true. RT: @skyejaden: wow, someone made it to four games against him! 0.0
Commentators just said Rafa’s only lost 6 points on his service game so far. Good length from Nole and it’s 15-15. Rafa nets a ball and it’s 30-30. Nole hits behind Rafa and Rafa can’t quite recover: break point for Nole. Excellent serve down the center causes Nole to toss his racket in frustration.
Well put. :) RT: @Ataraxis00: Wow, Smurf misses a return and slams his wee racquet down in disgust.
Rafa sends a ball just wide to give Nole another break point. And another just wide; break to Nole. Back on serve: 5-5.
Kalliopeia: It’s not Djokovic’s doing. Rafa’s just suddenly making errors
Kalliopeia: My aunt just said “you know if I was that fragile with my health I wouldn’t pound my chest like that.”
Indeed. RT: @skyejaden: well that’s an awesome time for UEs
A few errors from Nole gives Rafa a break point.
@skyejaden On the other hand, that was a nice time for a few UEs ;)
Nole falls apart and Rafa breaks back: 6-5.
I think he learned from Fed. RT: @wihamilton: Hmm djokovic must have watched our “how to smash a racket” video
Once again, Rafa serving for the set. Long rally ends with Rafa pushing Nole deep and forcing an error. Rafa’s headband is traveling upwards.
Kalliopeia: He really needs to fix that headband
More boo-boos and it’s 30-30. Toni is chugging some water. I thought Rafa had lost that point with some short fluffy shots, but he managed to pull it out and has set point. Nole steps up the aggression and we are at deuce. Rafa? Why so tentative? Break point for Nole. Wow. Rafa totally miss hits a ball and sends it out of the stadium. Nole breaks. Tie break to decide the set.
Nole sets things up perfectly and then flubs a drop shot. On serve 1-1 in the tie break. Nole sends a shot long – mini-break to Rafa: 3-1. A short ball from Rafa gives Nole the opportunity to pounce and he takes it: 3-2. Rafa runs Nole for 4-2. Nole *almost* pulls off an amazing shot. So close. But it’s 5-2. Nole sends a shot out past the doubles sideline: 6-2. A bad drop shop and first set to Rafa in 74 minutes: 7-6 (7-2).
Rafa serving to get us started in set two. Goodness I think I might be in love with the Nole Ineffectual Drop Shot (NIDS).
Oh, just be cleverer than I am. See if I care. RT: @kefuoe: @nadalnews Djokovic Unreliable Drop Shot (DUDS)
Nole is playing aggressively – gets a break point. Rafa saves it and gives a mini-fist pump. A good serve and he has a game point. Rafa holds.
And yet, he’s still not winning. RT: @wihamilton: Fed should be taking notes. Djokovic has the right blueprint for beating nadal.
Routine hold for Nole. Easy hold for Rafa. I think we are officially in an “early in the set” lull.
Nole is all happy that he won a long rally. Nole holds: 2-2.
Excellent point from Nole and it’s 15-15 on Rafa’s serve. Oh, I thought Rafa ruined things with that drop shot, but he manages to pull the point out.
Kalliopeia: this match is pretty awesome so far, if you discount the frustrating errors
Rafa gives the point back with a double fault. On game point, Rafa sails a shot long.
RT: @Ataraxis00: Can someone go back and count the number of times he’s raised his racquet to smash it? Really Raf? fh long? sigh .. deuce.
On the next point, he forces an error from Nole with a well-placed shot. He then holds.
When Mo overrules a call, EVERYONE knows it
First: why did Rafa hit that right back to Nole? Second: How the hell did Nole make that shot?
Kalliopeia: he’s seriously not going to talk about how tired Djokovic must be, are they? I don’t think he’s in his third straight tournament after winning the previous two.
miri: it’s the losing that makes one tired.
Nole gives up a break and it’s 4-2.
Amazing lob from Rafa. He holds for 5-2.
Nole sends a shot wide and Rafa’s up on his serve. Another wide shot gives Rafa a break point. Rafa hits a forehand winner for the title!
Kalliopeia: I love it when he ends with a winner
RT: @kefuoe: @nadalnews Happy for the win, but I wish it didn’t cost Nole so much. In the meantime, awesome watch skills today!