For the second US Open semi-final of his career, Rafa took on Juan Martin Del Potro today in a weather delayed match. Del Potro had been playing well at the Open and had beaten Rafa twice on hard courts this year, so everyone knew this could be a tight match. But…was it? It felt a bit tighter than the score, but not by a whole lot. Del Potro totally had Rafa’s number today and I fear he’s Rafa’s new Nalbandian. He beats Rafa 6-2 6-2 6-2.
|1st Serve %||78%||66%|
|1st Serve Points Won||40/70 (57%)||44/56 (79%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||6/20 (30%)||12/29 (41%)|
|Return Points Won||29/85 (34%)||44/90 (49%)|
|Break Points Conversions||0/5 (0%)||6/16 (38%)|
|Winners (including service)||19||33|
|Net Approaches||13/20 (65%)||17/24 (71%)|
|Total Points Won||75||100|
|Fastest Serve Speed||119 MPH||134 MPH|
|Average 1st Serve Speed||107 MPH||116 MPH|
|Average 2nd Serve Speed||84 MPH||95 MPH|
As it happened blatherings:
Boys on the court warming up while ESPN2 is talking about last night.
Kalliopeia: the thing about del potro is that I’m not sure he has the fitness to hang with rafa over a long match
miri: I agree
@skyejaden: battle of the Nike bumble bees
Toni saying abs not better after the day off. DelPo starts off with a steady hold.
Deuce on Rafa’s first serve. DelPo sends a shot long to give Rafa game point. Rafa double faults back to deuce. He then sends a shot long and DelPo has a break point. Fault. Rafa saves the BP. Rafa holds, but with the tummy problem, he really needs to keep the drama down on his serves.
Rafa does a tweener and ends up almost on his knees, but still loses the point. Nice angled volley from Rafa.
Kalliopeia: I like that Rafa is getting his shots deep for the most part.
Kalliopeia: I think he’ll make a few more errors that way but I know that he doesn’t want to give Delpo a chance to come in and bet really aggressive
miri: he just has to learn to live with a higher error count.
Kalliopeia: his hair looks adorably floppy today
Break point for Rafa! Oops…tight looking shot and it’s deuce. Two excellent serves and DelPo holds.
Rafa looking settled and calm on the change-over. I always like seeing that.
Rafa sends a shot long and DelPo is ahead on Rafa’s serve. Break point for DelPo. Good serve into the body handcuffs DelPo and it’s deuce. Ace! Fantastic cross-court angle from DelPo gives us another deuce. Rafa sends a forehand long and it’s BP again. Rafa sends a volley long and DelPo breaks: 1-3.
DelPo slips and falls – did he turn an ankle? Doesn’t look like it – he seems fine and is serving like a fiend. DelPo holds and it’s 1-4 in the first set.
Pretty lob from Rafa- always impressive when one manages to lob a guy with so much altitude. Rafa holds for 2-4.
Amazing cross-court angle from Rafa gives him a break point and our first big Vamos! He sends a shot long and its deuce. Double fault – break point again. Excellent serve and Rafa’s return is wide: deuce. Another long shot from Rafa and it’s game point DelPo. Rafa’s shot is called wide, but the call is overturned on a challenge. Still game point DelPo. DelPo nets a ball – deuce. ARGH!!! Rafa hit all the difficult shots and then sends a ball long: game point DelPo. DelPo holds. Rafa to serve to stay in the set.
Kalliopeia: don’t get frustrated rafa
Kalliopeia: I’ll do that for you. you just concentrate
Double break point (set point) for Delpo. Fault. Rafa moves DelPo well to save one. Ace! Rafa nets a forehand and it’s another set point for DelPo. DelPo fires a forehand and takes the first set 6-2.
Rafa’s forehand is breaking down and DelPo is taking full advantage of it.
Jack Kramer has passed. Most probably, we wouldn’t be watching this match/event if it weren’t for him.
Kalliopeia: okay rafa, there’s a pattern here. you are getting hit by that angle on the forehand side over and over again. If you weren’t going crosscourt to him every time, that wouldn’t be as easy for him to do.
Kalliopeia: change direction now and then, so he at least can’t be totally confident where you’re going
Oooo…that was a pretty cross court backhand. Break point for Rafa – vamos! Another excellent serve from DelPo and it’s back to deuce. DelPo holds.
Rafa has to move in closer to cut off the angle on the return of serve.
Crap – horrid serve for double fault and Rafa bending over. Tummy hurting? Rafa 10-14 when losing the first set. If he doesn’t turn this around, I can never go to another tourny again! Rafa holds for 1-1 in set two.
Kalliopeia: there you go rafa. take it to him, use the whole court.
Rafa goes up on DelPo’s serve, but doesn’t deal well with the wind and it’s 30-30. A bad call and they have to replay the next point. Rafa sends a shot just long and is getting most frustrated. Rafa nets a ball and DelPo holds.
Rafa double faults to give DelPo a break.
DelPo closes another slight opening with an ace. Break point for Rafa. Rafa nets a ball and shows intense frustration. Deuce. He goes for another forehand and nets it again…game point for DelPo. DelPo is totally controlling the court and play. He’s up 4-1 in the second.
miri: I think I’m banned from tournaments for life.
Kalliopeia: you totally are. :)
Kalliopeia: the thing that bugs me is that Delpo won’t have a prayer against Federer.
DelPo might be solving my “why are they starting the final while I’m still at work” problem.
Rafa keeps having to save break points.
Kalliopeia: he’s beating rafa’s forehand to a bloody pulp
miri: Yep. He’s the new Nalbandian
Kalliopeia: only less likeable
miri: I worry he’s in Rafa’s head
Kalliopeia: if rafa can manage to beat him it would be brilliant for his confidence for tomorrow.
miri: very true
Kalliopeia: but he can barely hold serve right now. :(
Rafa finally holds and it’s 2-4. DelPo serves well and closes another opening: 2-5.
Triple break/set point for DelPo. Second set to DelPo: 6-2.
DelPo holds to start set 3.
Cahill is saying that Rafa’s toss is getting lower and lower. DelPo is using the standard “how to beat Rafa on hard court” play book and is managing to pull it off so far. DelPo breaks Rafa on his first service game in the third.
Kalliopeia: god this is depressing
Easy hold for DelPo. Rafa holds for 2-4.
Doing his fighting best! Nice point.
Kalliopeia: God, I love how he just never gives up
miri: I know.
But DelPo holds and Rafa to serve to stay in the tournament. Triple Match/break point for DelPo. And he wins.
Kalliopeia: enjoy it now, dude. you’ll freeze up like a rabbit tomorrow