Through in a squeaker

Photo by AP Photo/Andy Wong

Photo by AP Photo/Andy Wong

In his first match back in the stadium where he won Olympic gold, Rafa took on #90 Marcos Baghdatis. Rafa took the first set 6-4, but was broken in the first and last games of the second set. Rafa broke in the 9th game of the 3rd set and that’s all it took. Rafa wins 6-4 3-6 6-4.


Nadal Baghdatis
Statistics on Serve
Aces 2 8
Double Faults 0 3
1st Serve % 72% 60%
1st Serve Points Won 43/61 (70%) 38/51 (75%)
2nd Serve Points Won 14/24 (58%) 19/34 (56%)
Break Points Saved 1/3 (33%) 2/4 (50%)
Service Games Played 15 14
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 13/51 (25%) 18/61 (30%)
Second Return Points Won 15/34 (44%) 10/24 (42%)
Break Points Won 2/4 (50%) 2/3 (67%)
Return Games Played 14 15
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 57/85 (67%) 57/85 (67%)
Total Return Points Won 28/85 (33%) 28/85 (33%)
Total Points Won 80/170 (50%) 80/170 (50%)

As it happened blatherings:
I wasn’t able to watch the match, but here’s some play-by-play from the twitterverse.

piratesswoop jesus christ rafa, try not to kill yourself

piratesswoop rafa can you please stop going up 40-0 and then blowing your leads, you are reminding me of nando rn

TennisLuvah VAMOS!! Rafa takes the first set 6-4!!

TennisLuvah …and Rafa gets broken in the first game, 2nd set….

ally_richardson awake! New balls, rafa serving at 2-4, nice angle dropper. Now 30-15. Crazy long fh, 30-30.

TennisLuvah Rafa’s playing a bit of a loose set….he’s down 3-4, we’ll see what happens

ally_richardson another venture to net sets up missed overhead, bp marcos, doesn’t matter, baggy ufe and service winner and rafa holds 3-4

TennisLuvah motherfucker what is rafa doing

TennisLuvah At least make Baggy serve it out ffs

ally_richardson marcos holds for 5-3, sloppy play puts rafa in trouble 0-30, marcos nets 2nd srv but rafa fh ufe brings to set pts, 15-40. Set MB

TennisLuvah Fucking shit man, Baggy breaks and takes the 2nd set 6-3. Get your head out of your ass, Rafa! Lol

ally_richardson MB serving. yowza, passing cc bh at marcos’ feet. he found the grunt on the changeover. 15-15. desperation lob just long, 30-15.

ally_richardson Baggy looking pretty clean in that one, aggressive on serve. 0-1.

ally_richardson baggy shows some touch, cuts under fh angle dropper for 0-15. Rafa big groundies to 15 all. UFE from MB fh for 30-15. srv winner.

ally_richardson MB at net, fends off passers for 40-30, MB fh just long, rafa holds to 1-1.

ally_richardson another sharply angled volley from MB. very aggressive play. rafa 15 ft behind baseline. ahh, big hf passer for 15-15. vamos!

ally_richardson mb ufe fh long, baggy swinging 4 the corners apparently 30-30. this time goes behind rafa and hits corner, awesome bh. holds 2-1

ally_richardson rafa looks unhappy on changeover. maybe that banana will help. rafa serving. i find shorts distracting. dropping shots short.

ally_richardson mb moves in, puts away fh, 0-15. longish rally from baseline, rafa ufe fh long, 0-30.

ally_richardson rafa finally moves in, bh dropper works, 15-30. 2nd srv, comes in behind big groundies again, nice fh inside out approach, 30-30

ally_richardson 3 pts in a row at the net, 3 points won. 40-30. now hold, damn it! moves in again, overhead smashed, fist pumped, held!

ally_richardson this is some ugly rafatennis. luckily a few mb ufes and ace make for easy hold. 3-3. racquet change. mb serves w new balls.

ally_richardson attempt at pass goes wide, 15-15. ugly rafa fh into net for 30-15. throws head back. standing beyond beijing sign to return.

RagingBitch LOL RT @TheRealStoogle: Rafa there’s something called Breaking the opponents serve. You should try that.

ally_richardson serve out wide and rafa can’t get it back, mb holds for 3-4. rafa srv winner, 15-0. marcos nets sad little dropper approach, 30-0

ally_richardson winners are so exciting cause they’re so rare:( inside out fh to corner to hold!

ally_richardson desperation lob keeps rafa in pt, long rally, mb nets ball to 0-15 but ace for 15 all. wrong-foots rafa but r snaps bh up line

ally_richardson another ace, another wrong-foot, this time rafa doesn’t get there, 40-30. mb fh wide, deuce. deep approach and finally break pt!

ally_richardson haha! break, finally! geez, maybe is should be scoreboard watching too:)

ally_richardson ugly bh cc to net, 0-30. comes in for easy fh dropper to open court, 15-30. fh cc winner approach, 30-30.

ally_richardson 2nd srv, marcos tanks fh volley into net, match pt!

RagingBitch Rafa wins, yay! Poor Marcos though:(

TennisLuvah RRRRAAAFFA WINS!!!!!!!! (barely, pfff!) VAMOOOS!!!!

ally_richardson vamos! nice moment at net. rafa looks glad to be done with that one, i am too. shirt change, crowd goes wild.

47 Responses

  1. Rafafan says:

    Sorry Miri posted in wrong link on your site. You were too quick for me! – so I have copied and pasted. Hope that’s ok

    I think I just aged 20 years.

    Saw the whole match but the computer cut out for 3 games in the third. It was one hell of a yo yo and will wreck our f….kng health to bits. I seriously thought he was gonna go out after the other upsets and Baggy had a brill serve and fighting all the way at the base line. Interesting that Rafa decided to come into the net more towards the end as he knew it was gonna be hard to make any winners otherwise.

    I was definitely freaking out! Pure gutzyness, fight and heart. Our boy does tantalise his fans by the heart strings. And wow those fans in the Beijing crowd. They were fantastic – chanting his name all the time. I don’t think I have ever heard such a fan club for Rafa in a first round match. Funny bit at the beginning before the match starts. Rafa heads towards the net to jump for the coin toss (and he almost forgets his racquet). Would love someone to put that up.

    Happy Rafa fans everywhere

    • vamsi says:

      thanx 4 this
      seems like the match was really tight
      i also understood that rafa was nt at his best
      but still win is a win
      maybe this is the kind of match rafa needed at the start of the tournament
      i hope it acted like a wake up call
      he will surely be fantastic 4 rest of the tournament

      VAMOS RAFA!!!!

    • xta says:

      what is your on-line site for streaming ??? i tried my usual but no luck…getting up at 3:00 am to watch only live scores is no thrill — though of course i couldn’t take my eyes off the computer…

      • miri says:

        Go to the home page on – it will list all the channels. But, don’t trust the labeling on the matches. For example, the stream I was watching before I had to leave to take mom to the airport was labeled “China Open – Sharapova”. It wasn’t showing her match though as it had been completed. They often just put the first match names up and don’t update it as matches progress.

  2. Zoe says:

    It was nice to hear the crowd supporting Rafa. Always perplexing to me that it doesn’t seem to happen that often. Please tell me that I’m paranoid, but did anyone else notice Rafa poking at his right ab when he sat down after the warm-ups? Rafa was lucky to win this one. Rafa, remember who you are!!!

  3. nic says:

    Yay for Rafa!!!! So happy he got through. He was so pumped to win. Good on him. Watched the live feed but could barely see anything, it kept buffering all the time. Anyway, just glad he came through. Pretty tough one from Baggy. Liking the lime green alot! But the shorts are waaay too much I think. Sorry, no commentary on the game cos I really couldn’t see anything. Just happy to see Rafa at all :D
    Vamos Rafa!!! On to the next match! Who’s he up with I wonder.

  4. Rafafan says:

    Hi Zoe – yes I did but we could be reading too much into it. Maybe he was pulling at his lovely green shirt as it was sticking to him.

    I saw the vids of him practicing on and the Nadal team chatting and Rafa holding his knee and lettting out a scream of frustration on another practice vid but thankfully no sign of touchy knees in this. So let’s hope all is well, even though he didn’t play to his best.

    Vamos Rafa

    PS: Not sure about the black and white chequed shorts. They sort of look like a cross between beach shorts, pjama bottoms and grandad shorts/underwear! When Rafa first came out and there was an almighty cheer (still can’t get over how wild and loving to Rafa the crowd was)there was a shot of Baggy laughing – not sure if it was coz of the crowd or the shorts! Also I think Rafa almost forgot his racquet at the toss of the coin because he was so overwhelmed with the crowd support. It was amazing and awsome. Felt i was there even though sitting so close on the live streaming (and without any commentary)

  5. Lee says:

    I got to catch live stream of the match, luckily for me I had no buffer problems. That was a pretty tough match for Rafa, and like Vamsi said, it’s probably best that he got that wake up call early in the Open. Baggy was killing him on his serves. I hope Rafa greatly improves on this throughout the tournament.

  6. Zoe says:

    So happy to see Rafa win, though really not playing his best tennis. Managed to get a pretty good stream and didn’t miss much of it. One of the best parts was the HOT shirt at the end, so good end to my day!! :) Hope he does well in his next match!!

    • Zoe says:

      Um and by that I meant the hot shirt change… My bad, obviously it was quite uh, distracting for me ;)

  7. dutchgirl says:

    I did follow part of the match through live scores when I was at work. I left when it was 1 set all and I’m very relieved to see he’s through to 2nd round!
    Absolutely loving the green shirt on the pic, but not so much the shorts (as more of us have pointed out).
    Who cares, I just want to see him play and hopefully will if he gets a couple more rounds further.

  8. Atch2 says:

    Didn’t watch any of it bec was driving hm for most of the match and trying to get score updates fm my mobile which was way too dangerous to try again. And when I got hm had buffering problems, don’t know if it’s bec of the typhoon tailing off in Thailand or not.

    Enjoyed reading the tweets and would probably hve been too much for my heart to take watching it live. I can feel the frustrations fm u guys that got to watch it.

    Saw some pics fm yahoo of Rafa and his new outfit. Was Nike inspired by their golfing range coz those shorts could be worn on the greens as well. But overall Spearmint Rafa looks Rafadorable, esp with the cool shoes and ‘v’ jacket. But NO one can get away with that outfit except Rafa.

  9. vamsi says:

    nice to here that there is so much support 4 him in all asian countries
    he is also dearly loved in india
    as far as his outfit is concerned i loved the green shirt(suits him)but i think the shorts are disaster
    but amazing to see he even looks lovely in those shorts

  10. mary says:

    I have to say Marcos made Rafa fight for every winning point except for the couple of aces!!!! Rafa seemed flat in the second set & the early part of the 3rd. I wonder sometimes if he should do like all the other players & drink both water & a stamina drink. I have seen him do it before but rarely.
    Well he is into the next round & I am happy for him. I go nite nite now. Hard day at work & now late nite.

  11. faeaki 7 says:

    Oh dear he ain’t playing well then! Blake up next and we all know that he has the game to annoy Rafa! Will Rafa ever find his A game soon? All these damn injuries have got made him lose focus. So glad he has the crowds support, this should give him a boost no doubt. glad for the win though!

    • mary says:

      Blake is a difficult apponent, however give Marcos some respect, he played as good as he did in 2006 when he made it to the finals at the AO. He also won this tourney back in 2006 as well.
      Rafa has lost a bit of court savvy, but that is expected after everything he has gone through. This win will boost his familiarity with the court surface & boost his confidence.
      I personally think he will have an easier match against Blake.
      Vamos Rafa!!!! I will be dreaming about you in your interesting new gear. It definitely is colour co-ordinated. But the shorts,Hmmmmmm they have to grow on me, or better still I’ll just take whats in them. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm *faints*

      • vamsi says:

        i totally agree with mary
        blake had a tough time with the qualifier
        he must be tired too
        we havent seen any excellent match play from blake lately
        maybe he could give rafa a bit of a scare but i think in the end he will get through

        • CC says:

          “Will Rafa ever find his A game soon?”

          I think it will take a while for that to happen. We must be patient, no?

          • vamsi says:

            i m not too sure about his 100per cent but i m sure thathe will do just enough to get through the matches he is going to play this year
            but 4 next season i m sure he will be right back

  12. sombina says:

    I like Marcos a lot, and would like him to get back into top 10-20. He was playing very well and was almost Rafalike in his determination to get every ball back into play. Marcos also has lots of carisma, so lucky audience that got to see this match.

    Rafa seemed rusty, and clearly communicated that he was not satisfied with his game. Hope his tennis improves, it needs

    I have to say I dislike Rafa’s outfit. The limegreen and horrible shorts are just not doing it for me. I think it’s the worse I’ve seen him wear ever. Lucky he is so handsome, so he can get away with it. (agree with Atch2) Hoping a new opponent (Blake) will bring a new outfit.

  13. vamsi says:

    i think rafa is trying to change his statergy
    it seems that he is volleying more

    can anyone tell me where i can find the highlights

  14. CC says:

    Well, thank f-ck he won!

    I am going to sulk for the rest of the evening because I couldn’t watch the match…

    *crosses arms*

    BTW, tip to NIKE: Those shorts would look cool with a plain black polo. Make it a tight one, please.

    • dutchgirl says:

      *sulks with CC for the same reason*

      • An says:

        *joining CC and Dutchgirl*

        • mary says:

          Btw dutchgirl, I worked fucking hard all day, so watching the match for me late evening was rewarding. My work btw is not sitting on my arse in a office!! So please don’t insult me, you don’t know me or what I do for a living.

          • miri says:

            The hell? No one was insulting anyone.

            • mary says:

              Not on this post anyway!!

              • An says:

                Mary, Sorry i’m not Dutchgirl but i am a Dutch girl and i feel the need to explain her post to wich you refere here i think…

                I’m sure she doesn’t mean that she thinks you are not working youre butt off also, she just envyd you that you where able to see the match live wich we all wanted to do but where not able because Rafa is now playing, more or less, in youre time zone and therefore she said lucky you.
                I’m sure i speak on her behalf too if i say we don’t think that you don’t deserve that… she was just wanting it so bad for herself too.

                Hope i cleared the sky with this, otherwise i’m sorry in advance. Pretty sure Dutchgirl can speak for herself BTW :)

                • An says:

                  And one more thing ( this is meant as a joke! )
                  Even if you sit on youre butt in some office that still doenst mean you cannot work it off… even if youre sitting on it!

                  • mary says:

                    Hey An thanks, muchas gracias. Dutchgirl I agree is saying exactly what you said, but I got too sensitive. My job is demanding & it just hit a nerve thats all. I shouldn’t have over-reacted. Group hugs!!!

  15. Rafafan says:

    Hi CC

    Yes Christ f…ck for that – he won but was so very very close to not winning, particulary with Baggy’s level compared to Rafa. Baggy was crushing Rafa’s serves – and I notice the serves were only doing 180 ish. Also Baggy getting everything back and on the baseline and he lost the first set coz of 2 double faults in the last game – the second one when someone shouted out something. Rafa had no option but to come in and volley – and he won mostly every point so that’s encouraging. Blake is dangerous and hits flat so god knows what is gonna happen to my heart rate again. I have never been so much nervous in my life watching this – not even watching the Sod (dare I mention his name) at the FO. I think there is so much pressure on Rafa at the mo. The media and us fans have srutinised his injury problems, his burn out, his style of play etc etc that he is suffering with no confidence and if you read he is a little scared after the injuries. That’s why I was so nervous for him. This was a must win situation for him, his fans and to stuff the media.

    The clothes. Maybe if Nike would listen for once coz no-one ain’t gonna buy those shorts!! But if they insist he wears the shorts again (which they must realise is a disaster – I think even on Rafa) then, perhaps he could at least where the sleeveless teshirt again – black or white with those ghastly shorts for the next match. Personally I like white shorts on him as it shows off his wonderful famous curved arse. Whoops back to the tennis. He can only get better CC!

  16. An says:

    So… i finally got home again after a horrible day at work, the worst traffic jams in ages ( morning and evening ) and a grey and rainy day. Only one thing that brought a smile on my face during this day…wich was seeing Rafa winn the last point trough the live scores and the one thing that kept me going was the knowledge that, when i finally would be getting home, i could come here and i could look at my beautyfull, precious, delicious Rafa!

    So, he didnt play his best, so he did wear funny shorts.

    I only care about having him back there, hearing him tell that his body is okay( i think i realy needed hearing him say, what i already know, his body is perfect but okay has to do for now ), i care for him to stay healthy and by no question then he will be playing his best tennis, if not tomorrow, soon!

  17. Chant says:

    Thank God Rafa won! Sounded like a crazy stressful match!

    Where can we watch these online for free?

  18. Rafafan says:

    It’s posted on another one of Miri’s site – playing in China. But I have found the www. one the best so far. But beware they are slow at changing the names so you think ie. Shaparova is playing still when it’s our Rafa! So make sure you just go into the site.

    I would like to be optimistic but don’t want to bury my head in the sand but the bit that his body is OK? mmmm Perfect yes (like the knees) Body OK no? Remember what he said to Federer or was it Murray when he was practising before Wimbledon. Knees are OK which meant for Murray/Federer that something was up!

    Anyway lets hope he will progress and surprise us and himself as well. Boy we need him to get back to his best. Went on utube to cheer me up to see Rafa playing the SOD at wimbledon in 2007 and he was brilliant in the 10m in vid – hope he slaughters him in this final. Up tomorrow Ferdasco, Djok, Chile and Davydenko (but they got it wrong on the order of play – he won his maatch). Our beautiful hero will not be playing until Thur.

  19. rebel naughty says:

    hate his shorts!!!!!

  20. Atch2 says:

    Blake must really be full of energy, or wanting a lot of match practice bec he’s playing doubles with Andy Ram too. I’m glad Rafa’s resting and not doing doubles duty.

    • mary says:

      I was wondering why he was doing both. The time zones alone would be playing havoc with the bodies time clock. Maybe he feels he needs the extra workouts to improve or maybe he’ll fold in a heap if he has to work to stay in the match against our man. I feel quite invigorated as imagine Atch2 Rafa is on our time now or close to it. This means he is awake when we are & dreaming when we are. Mmmmmmmmmm *faints

      • Atch2 says:

        We may be dreaming of Rafa even when we are awake, but it’d be wishful thinking on my part to think he was dreaming of us Rafanatics :)

  21. An says:

    Oh No, he’s again playing at 3pm tomorrow local time… because i had a verry long day yesterday with al the traffics i am allowed to work at home today but tomorrow i’m requierd at the office again so that means another match i won’t be able to watch :(

    The ones of you who are so lucky to be able to watch, watch over Rafa again for me too please!!
    I always have the feeling that it helps him when i’m watching… So sorry you have to do without that again tomorrow Rafa. But you can do it, “no doobt”!