And so it begins…

Photo by REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Photo by REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Rafa started his drive for five today by taking on world #97 Marcos Daniel of Brazil. Yesterday on his site, Rafa said he doesn’t play well in the 1st rounds and this match proved the point. He wasn’t playing awful, but there were quite a few unforced errors and, most disturbingly, he had trouble holding when serving for sets. Still, not a bad way to start the tournament as he wins 7-5 6-4 6-3.

Stats:

Nadal Daniel
Aces 3 4
Double Faults 0 1
1st Serve % 76% 56%
1st Serve Points Won 42/62 (68%) 32/52 (62%)
2nd Serve Points Won 12/20 (65%) 17/41 (41%)
Return Points Won 44/93 (47%) 27/82 (33%)
Break Points Conversions 7/11 (64%) 3/7 (43%)
Unforced Errors 32 26
Winners (including service) 36 24
Net Approaches 14/20 (70%) 12/22 (55%)
Total Points Won 66/103 (54%) 37/103 (36%)
Fastest Serve Speed 199 KMH 207 KMH
Average 1st Serve Speed 177 KMH 178 KMH
Average 2nd Serve Speed 139 KMH 148 KMH

As it happened blatherings:

Now that’s pink – not my favorite color, but Rafa wears it well. Pink and yellow are also the colors of torero capes – perhaps the inspiration for the color choice.

Daniel holds to get things started. I’m being annoyed by a constant clicking sound. I hope my hard drive isn’t going out…

Kalliopeia: urgh. I’m awake.
miri: Rafa’s shirt will wake you up
Kalliopeia: oh god the first thing I see is gimelslob.

Nice hands on that volley from Rafa.

Kalliopeia: he….looks a little bit like my blanket.
miri: Heee!
Kalliopeia: if only the swoosh was bright orange.

Rafa holds: 1-1.

The windy is swirling around. Daniel holds.

Kalliopeia: …..I don’t want to see Venus!
miri: *sigh*
Kalliopeia: Mattek’s outfit is surprisingly unappalling this year.
Kalliopeia: I mean it’s still ugly.
Kalliopeia: But at least it’s not leopard print or gold lame

Rafa holds: 2-2

Daniel holds at love.

So far, the most interesting thing about the match has been people’s reaction to the pink. Am I the only person who doesn’t understand the whole genderization of color? (And yea, I know that’s not a word, but I couldn’t think of a way to say it.)

Kalliopeia: Rafa’s looking a little sluggish today
Kalliopeia: and sloppy.
Kalliopeia: his headband isn’t riding up yet.
Kalliopeia: …is it sad that I’m now noticing when it doesn’t?
miri: Well, the tennis isn’t too exciting right now…
Look at those empty court-side seats. I volunteer to be a seat filler! You know, like they have for the Oscars.

Still on serve: 4-4.

Kalliopeia: okay the swoosh isn’t bright orange but it does match my blue yarn. he totally looks like my blanket.
Kalliopeia: I’m going to do a pink blue and yellow square right now in his honor.

Rafa’s timing is off – already has 9 unforced errors. But, he has a break point. He breaks and it’s 5-4.

Kalliopeia: I got out the bright yarn and started crocheting, Rafa breaks. COINCIDENCE??
miri: Heee!
Kalliopeia: *pets bright blue yarn*

Daniel is up on Rafa’s serve. In fact, he now has triple break point. Rafa saves one with a fierce forehand, but he nets his next one and we are back on serve at 5-5.

How did Rafa get to and hit that running forehand? Sheesh. Helpful tip from Johnny Mac: “You don’t want your head to be bouncing around.” Rafa breaks. Once again, he’ll be serving for the set.

We got some grunts going now.

miri: *shallow moment* I really like the way those shorts drape
Kalliopeia: hee
Kalliopeia: hey did you notice there’s a new atp profile picture?
miri: nope
miri: worse or better?
Kalliopeia: I can’t actually remember the old one but this one is nice
Kalliopeia: even if it looks a bit like a school photo
miri: heh – don’t most of them?
Set point for Rafa. First set to Rafa: 7-5.

Kalliopeia: rafa’s first set at RG last year went to 7-5, too.
Kalliopeia: against Thomaz Bellucci
Kalliopeia: then after that he only lost more than three games once until the semifinals against Djokovic.

Kalliopeia: I think I should make this an eight round square. Primarily pink with a few single rows of blue and yellow. In honor of the ratios in Rafa’s outfit. :D
Kalliopeia: …I may have tipped into a whole new realm of weird, here.
miri: Everyone’s going to know all the details of the Rafa-bankie
Kalliopeia: I expect it to be prominently displayed when it’s done!
miri: Indeed!

Daniel holds to start set 2.

Kalliopeia: why did they just show a closeup of rafa’s ass on the livestream?
miri: are you complaining?
Kalliopeia: well, no, it was just kind of strange? Heheh
miri: Yeah, it was odd.
Kalliopeia: I looked up and there was his ass.
miri: Hmmm…that could be a good article title too

Rafa holds: 1-1.

How weird is it that this is the first time Rafa’s been seeded at #1 here? I mean, I know they go by ranking, but you think they’d give a guy a break after winning the thing a few years in a row.

The live-stream people really love their slow-mo camera. Why, do you ask, am I watching on live-stream when the Tennis Channel is covering this? Why, because they are showing the Venus Williams match, of course. *sigh*

Rafa saves a break point with an ace. Daniel earns another break point with a drop shot but then nets a ball – deuce again. Rafa sends a shot long and Daniel has another break point. Another good serve is followed by a netted ball and Daniel has a forth break point. Second serve… Let… Rafa sends a shot wide – break to Daniel. 20 unforced errors and 17 winners from Rafa – and that includes service winners – not stellar.

Kalliopeia: I think I know why Rafa’s down a break.
Kalliopeia: I made a horrible mistake in the rafa square.
Kalliopeia: I have to rip out two rows.
Kalliopeia: I’m sorry Rafa!
miri: Oh my
Kalliopeia: but look I found the mistake and started to fix and he breaks back. COINCIDENCE?
miri: The rafa-bankie of fate!

Rafa breaks: 2-3 on serve.

Did the announcer just wonder what the stars denote on Rafa’s bag? Is it that difficult to figure out if you follow tennis?

JMac just said Rafa’s a better volleyer than Roger. :D

Marc! (Not a sighting, a mention)

Rafa is finding his rhythm a bit. He breaks for 4-3.

Easy hold for Rafa: 5-3. Rafa holds at love to take the second set.

Rafa breaks thanks to an overrule from the chair that gave Daniel a double fault. Both guys go on to hold and it’s 2-1.

Rafa’s rolling now. He’s up 5-1 in the third. Daniel refuses to be breadsticked and holds for 5-2.

Lovely backhand from Daniel and he’s up on Rafa’s serve. Rafa nets a ball to give Daniel triple break point. What’s Rafa’s problem with serving for things lately? He’s broken and it’s 5-3.

Perhaps a little ticked at himself, he comes back roaring in the next game and breaks to take the set and match.

17 Responses

  1. Josh says:

    Reminds me of the Bellucci match last year, no where near his best (i.e ’08 final) but he sarted turning it up a gear

  2. tiemyshoe says:

    Woohoo! He broke Prissy Chrissie’s consecutive wins record at the French!

    Rafa said he was nervous during the on-court interview, and I can’t blame him. It’s both surprising and not that he still gets nervous for his first match on Philippe Chatrier. Good serve percentage and winners; bad UFE count. Gotta tidy things up, but not a bad start. I’m sure he’s got a view on exactly how to peak correctly during a Slam.

    Kalliopeia: I looked up and there was his ass.

    I totally noticed this, too! It was, like, a bulls-eye close-up of his booty. In fact, there were a ton of lingering slow-mo shots on Rafa’s body. The shimmery-ness of his shirt really shows the muscle definition. Ahem.

    • miri says:

      Woohoo! He broke Prissy Chrissie’s consecutive wins record at the French!

      I think he broke Borg’s and tied Chrissie’s. Well, if we can trust the AP:

      Nadal won his 29th straight match at Roland Garros on Monday, topping the mark held by Bjorn Borg, who won 28 straight from 1978-81. Nadal also equaled the overall record, matching the 29 straight Chris Evert won between 1974-75 and 1979-81.

  3. kefuoe says:

    I noticed the shorts, too. They fit nicely. Rafa is very good at wearing shorts.

    My mute button got a work out today. I don’t know if I was just cranky or if the commentators were extra talky today, but I their yammering was making me crazy (not to mention that I have an extremely negative and visceral reaction to the mere sight of Gimmelstob).

    Kallliopeia I’m glad you are using your powers for good instead of evil. Crochet on!

    • miri says:

      I think they get extra chatty when matches aren’t that exciting. And I’m with you on Gimmelstob – I’m still pissed I didn’t trip him when he went barreling past me in Miami. ;)

    • tiemyshoe says:

      The commies for the Fed match are even worse (I’m watching on Tennis Channel livestream, so I’m not exactly sure who they are). They just babble on and on – impending fatherhood, how it’ll affect him, blah blah. The game actually happening appears to be incidental.

  4. nic says:

    hahaha miri, that pic of the spanish armada and the pink and yellow capes totally made me lol :D the way feli is laughing it’s like a big ‘tehee’. so funny.

    so glad rafa finally took to the court today. the anticipation on my end has been sky high the last few days! and my nerves too. but he’s looking fairly good out there game-wise. indeed not the best but manages to wring it out in the end. thought some of his shots were really sharp though. love it at the end when he took it up a notch and was firing away with almost like a kind of anger with himself “enough already”!

    i really couldn’t wait to see rafa’s pink outfit, but whoa, is it majorly bright dude!! the pics on the website made it seem a little more subdued. and cos of the material it’s a little shiny too. thank goodness rafa looks bloody gorgeous in every colour imaginable, and he does justice to it. on anyone else i think it could have been a laugh, but on him, it’s all the more sexier. works with his yummy skin so well. like the combo of yellow in there. and yes miri, i was so totally thinking the same, how his grey shorts fall oh so nicely on his body.

    man, i can’t believe you don’t get to see rafa’s first match on tv in the states! well, i guess cos it’s venus, what can you do. at least you get johnny mac, i’d love to watch a match commentated by him. the one we’ve got in oz is so boring, and they were going on and on in the beginning about rafa’s new look this year – as in with sleeves!!! hullo! that’s like half a year ago already, give it up. think they haven’t been commentating since the oz open. all of a sudden i realise how much i miss listening to robbie koenig and gang – since we’ve been hearing them for so many masters series back to back, they’re way more fun and interesting, and up-to-speed with what’s going on. they’d be saying look at what colour rafa’s wearing today, rather than oh he’s with sleeves. hehe, me just wanting the whole world to know what rafa’s been up to :)

  5. faecoleman says:

    Yeah I am soo diggin his pink shirt he looks stunning, I normally hate pink on men but with Rafa’s masculinity he carries it well, nice combination with the charcoal grey too. Anyone see Venus’s dress? yuk bad choice, nothing sophisticated about this dress. Back to Rafa, I noticed that too they do that alot, the close up on the ass and why not he definately has the most defined one! I too worry about his nerves when serving for sets or matches, he needs to work harder on this in the early rounds so his better prepared later on! at 4-1 seemed to have complete lack of concentration in the 3rd set, and I found myself saying “He we go again, Rafa get a grip! sort ya self out! omg why do we put ourselves through this, and hurry up and win Rafa I have work to do..!” sorry I am writing too much again, I’ll shut up, gr8 match report Miri/kaliopeia and nice to hear how others suffer the same stress during Rafa matches too.

  6. dutchgirl says:

    Left work a little earlier today so I could see the last set and a half of Rafa’s first match. I like the outfit, love the combination with the grey shorts, but I think it does clash a little with the colour of the clay. As for men wearing pink: both my husband and oldest son have pink shirts (my son is wearing one today, he saw Rafa on tv and started laughing), so I’m used to that and like it as well.

    Glad Rafa got a match to get used to the tournament; work a little, but still winning in straight sets. In the end there were some lovely shots (only followed the first part of the match on the score board, if only my boss would know…).

  7. Nada H. T says:

    Thank you for the comments :p

    In my opinion:

    Rafa’s apperance 10/10 !!

    Rafa’s mood 8.5/10

    Rafa’s performance 1st set: 7/10
    2nd ,,: 8/10
    3rd ,,: 10/10

    I was uneasy at the begining because of the unforced errors rate

    that kept rising I felt he was angry or nervous ! which is not

    typical of him !! NOT RAFA..But Thanks god he compensted for this

    later.

    Congrats to everyone :)) Hopefully next match would be even BETTER

  8. patzin says:

    It was frustrating watching on Tennis Channel – they covered prob about 1/3 of the entire match. I noticed in another blog people called rafa the “pink guy” – which I considered humorous – not a put down. Well I do have a slanted point of view. I thought he looked great.

    • kefuoe says:

      I agree that it’s completely frustrating to go back and forth between matches. I can understand it a bit more when the matches are all live, but when they do the recaps (French Open Tonight) or rebroadcast, it seems like they could at least consolidate all the coverage of a single match so we could feel the flow of it better.

  9. johanne says:

    Mmmmmm Rafa looked gorgeous and it was so great to *finally* watch him play! I feel like the lead up to RG has taken forever, lol. :) The windy was a little crazy at times – the ball was moving all over during the middle of some points. But Rafa comes thru, as expected. Can’t wait to watch the next match!

  10. sG says:

    The topic du jour among the commentators was the quickness of the courts. Each and every time they seemed on the cusp of exclaiming, “They quickened the courts!” Someone in the booth reminded them it was hot and dry which means a quicker court; it happens. The match play today was very good and not just because Rafa played ^_^! Yesterday I felt the matches were a bit boring. Today every match I saw had spice. Hurray for good tennis!!!

  11. miri says:

    I’m a little slow – I just noticed Rafa’s legs are about the same color as the clay. (I was a little distracted by that right calf muscle.)