All good things must come to an end

(Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s Rafa and Roger for the 20th time. The hype machines have been working over-time overnight. Would the match live up to it? It wasn’t really an exciting match and I don’t think it’s my Rafa bias that made me feel that way. Rafa never really pushed Fed on his serve and both players were having a bit of a problem with balls sailing long and wide. In the end, it’s Fed who once again stops Rafa’s run on clay. Federer wins: 4-6 4-6.

Stats:

Nadal Federer
Statistics on Serve
Aces 1 6
Double Faults 1 3
1st Serve % 80% 63%
1st Serve Points Won 32/43 (74%) 29/42 (69%)
2nd Serve Points Won 5/11 (45%) 17/25 (68%)
Break Points Saved 0/2 (0%) 4/4 (100%)
Service Games Played 10 10
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 13/42 (59%) 11/43 (26%)
Second Return Points Won 8/25 (32%) 6/11 (55%)
Break Points Won 0/4 (0%) 2/2 (100%)
Return Games Played 10 10
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 37/54 (69%) 46/67 (69%)
Total Return Points Won 21/67 (31%) 17/54 (31%)
Total Points Won 58/121 (48%) 63/121 (52%)

As it happened blatherings:

Rafa’s looking chatty while waiting to walk onto the court.

The warm-up is complete. Talking heads saying that the windy is making its presence known.

Fed won the coin toss and elected to receive (he’s played Rafa enough to know that Rafa prefers to start receiving), so Rafa to serve to get things started. Rafa’s brought his cross-court forehand today. Rafa holds in a fairly routine game.

Excellent passing shot from Rafa in Fed’s first service game – sending Fed a message about charging the net.

Kalliopeia: I DIDN’T KNOW THE FINAL WAS ON.
miri: silly girl
Kalliopeia: I THOUGHT IT STARTED AT 2 FOR SOME REASON. I’M NOT READY! MY CROCHET STUFF ISN’T OUT.

Break point for Rafa on forehand errors from Fed. Forehand return sails on Rafa and it’s deuce. Ace from Fed. Another long forehand from Rafa and Fed holds: 1-1.

Ataraxis00: Nice little rally, Fed hits the net cord, but Rafa chases it down for the winner .. 30-0

Rafa holds: 2-1. Rafa is definitely looking sharper than he did at the start of yesterday’s match.

Nole should take notes on that Fed drop shot. Easy hold for Fed.

Another amazing passing shot from Rafa. He’s doing all he can to take the net away from Fed. Rafa holds at love.

Excellent get from Fed. Rafa got that ball at his feet and Fed was still able to pick it up. Fed has 8 UEs to Rafa’s 2. Oh, and there’s another one. Break point for Rafa. Fed hits a good approach and Rafa’s pass goes just wide. Fed holds: 3-3.

Fed’s up on Rafa’s serve, but another forehand UE from Fed and it’s even again. Fed sails two balls long and Rafa holds. On serve: 4-3.

Double fault from Fed. Follows it up with an ace and 2 service winners. Easy hold for Fed: 4-4.

Double fault from Rafa – a nasty looking one – gives Fed 0-30. Rafa pulls to even and then Fed gets a break point. Rafa nets a ball and Fed breaks. Nasty time for a break. Fed is up 5-4. Rafa must break to stay in the set.

Rafa sails a shot long. Excellent wide serve from Fed. Good return from Rafa, but Fed picks it off his feet and volleys a winner into the open court. Rafa nets another ball and curses a bit. (Or lets out a sound that sounds like curse.) R afa totally whiffs the ball on Fed’s set point. First set to Fed: 4-6.

Kalliopeia: it’s because I wasn’t ready! it’s all my fault.
miri: Indeed. ‘Cause I had my draw sheet filled out – it’s not me.
Kalliopeia: :(
Kalliopeia: well I’m ready now
Kalliopeia: no more of this, Rafa!

Nando watching the match. Rafa holds to start set 2.

Rafa trying to pump himself up a bit. Fed moves Rafa well – in control of the point and forces an error from Rafa. Fed holds: 1-1.

Another lovely passing shot from Rafa. Ace! Rafa holds at love: 2-1.

AMAZING passing shot from Rafa. Totally threaded the needle. Fed goes on to hold: 2-2.

Smart play from Fed and he goes up on Rafa’s serve. He then misfires two forehands and Rafa’s up 30-15. Brilliant down the line forehand from Fed and it’s 30-30. He follows that with a perfect dropshot and Fed has a break point. Second serve… Rafa sends a shot long and Fed breaks: 2-3 second set.

15-15 on Fed’s serve.
Kalliopeia: I don’t think Robby Koenig knows what ironic means

Fed’s moving Rafa all over the court. Easy hold for Fed.

Kalliopeia: if he loses, I can take comfort in the fact that it wasn’t to Djokovic.
miri: Oh yeah, you gave him permission to lose this…
Kalliopeia: not so much permission. I just kind of won’t be surprised. Rafa’s been superhuman the past month.
miri: Yeah
Kalliopeia: Roger really only ever has a chance of beating him on clay when he’s utterly worn out.

Fed’s in the shadows and you can’t see him at all. It’s like Rafa’s playing a ghost. Rafa holds: 3-4.

It’s Rafa’s turn in the shadows. Rafa up on Fed’s serve. He nets a ball… Excellent serve/smash combo and Fed pulls even. Rafa moves Fed well – position him where he wants him…then hits the ball out. Fed holds: 3-5.

Rafa has failed to put 30% of his return of serves into the court.

Fed wins the first point on Rafa’s must win game. Fed sends 2 balls sailing: 30-15. Make that 3 balls: 40-15. Excellent passing shot from Fed: 40-30. Rafa sends a shot just wide: deuce. Fed returns the favor – game point Rafa. Rafa holds: 4-5. He MUST break in the next game to stay in the match.

Fed serving for the tournament. It’s really been a low energy match. Not just because Rafa is losing, but neither player is giving off high-energy vibes. Fantastic point – what was my energy complaint? I’ll shut up now. Two net cords in one point – Fed wins it. Still break point. Rafa JUST misses a cross-court forehand. Deuce. Ace – championship point to Fed. Low return to Fed that he can’t pick up. Deuce. Fed pushes Rafa wide and it’s match point again. Ace. Fed wins: 4-6 4-6.

79 Responses

  1. An says:

    Yeah… lets not listen but let us trust in Rafa!

    And i’m sure that RG trophy is going to be bitten on sunday the 7th of June 2009 :)

  2. June says:

    I believe that RF is going down & will not even make it to the semi-finals this time.

  3. sG says:

    We shouldn’t frazzle, at least no more than fans typically due prior to a tournament, LOL. I expect Rafa to bring his trademark intensity. I expect him to try his best. It is what he offers up every day, every game, every set, every match. It is the least he expects of himself and that intensity of effort is one of the reasons I am a fan. If we trust in that, in his effort, win or lose we’ll see a champion we can be proud of.

    • kefuoe says:

      I just got my issue of Tennis magazine today. The first question of the quiz in the back is, “Rafael Nadal is 28-0 at RG. How many times has he been pushed to 5 sets?” The answer is 0.

      RG must be like a second home to him. I imagine he will certainly be with calm.

  4. johanne says:

    SO I crumbled and read an article entitled “Beating Nadal on clay gives Federer boost heading into French Open.” Expected headline but whatever. I did, however, like Rafa’s classic quotes. Here’s some of the article:

    Nadal, meanwhile, was only thinking about the first week at the French – a long way ahead of any rematch with Federer.

    “Federer has the potential to win at Paris and at any site in the world. He’s showed that throughout his career. But Paris begins with the first round, not the final,” Nadal said. “If I was told now that I can play the final against him, show me the paper and I’ll sign.”

    Nadal, with an imposing 25-2 record in clay court finals, said his loss in Madrid would have little influence on the upcoming major.

    “To me, this tournament has nothing to do with Paris. This tournament is practically another surface compared with Paris,” said Nadal, who wasn’t at his best following a record 4-hour semifinal win over Novak Djokovic. “There are points on normal clay that aren’t points but they are here. The conditions favoured him more than me.”

    Nadal said he was “empty” after Madrid and that he needed a few days to recover. He said his right knee is OK, but it acted up again on Saturday and has troubled him since November.

  5. June says:

    Did anyone see the article in which Dinara Safina said that Rafa was her idol? She said basically he is the motivation for her to become a better tennis player. I think that’s awsome, since she is the WTA #1 now of course. Also remember what the former #1 Serena Williams had said about Rafa earlier was great too!

  6. niki says:

    Yesterday I was totally zen with the loss, looking ahead to RG, etc. Then today, I go into work and first thing my boss says to me, “Are you in mourning?” And I respond, “Nah. Wait for the French Open.” Then I start thinking about it and that’s when I started getting pissed – because to casual observers (and the mainstream media machine) it’s all “OOOOhh…Roger beat Rafa ON CLAY!” When really, Rafa was clearly tired, the court was a de facto hard court, and Rafa had won 3 prior tournaments (which of course I can’t yell and scream because it sounds like sour grapes, even though it’s true).

    Also, there’s Roger’s attitude about the entire thing. His smug comment in the presser, saying how it was “very satisfying,” made me want to punch him (see 1:30 on “Madrid – more news”), as did the #1 finger or whatever he threw up after the win. I used to find Roger classy and humble, but these days, he starting to make me a hater. Don’t do that to me Fed; I liked liking you.

    Finally, thanks Miri, for providing a forum/support group for me to commiserate, complain, and celebrate my near unhealthy emotional attachment to Rafa’s results. Because really, reading all these comments, totally made me feel a little better (and a lot less crazy). :)

    • Mary says:

      I am so angry at Fed’s attitude at the moment that I too want to punch him. He deserves to not even make the semis at RG, to take him down a peg or 10! From his attitude in the press conferences to his “number 1” finger signal!

  7. dutchgirl says:

    But, in the end it doesn’t matter what all these people say, it’s the result that will speak for itself!
    I’m pretty sure that Rafa isn’t listening to all kinds of comments, either way.
    So, let us try to do the same (yes I know, almost impossible, even if you have your fingers in your ears and are singing ‘LALALALALA’…

    • miri says:

      Exactly. You can’t control the thoughts, feelings, opinions of others, so it’s pointless to try. That’s easy to say and difficult to act upon, but it’s something I’m trying to achieve (progress is slow when it comes to sleevegate).

  8. June says:

    Did anyone see that RAFA is the 1st player to qualify for the Barclays’s ATP World Tour? Congrats to him — we knew he would be on it!