For his second round match at the China Open, Rafa played American James Blake (or Blah as some people call him). They traded breaks at the start of the 1st set, but then settled in until Rafa broke in the 11th game and then served out the set. Both players held easily until the 7th game of the 2nd set when Rafa broke. Rafa wasn’t able to serve it out and, after trading a few breaks, ends up losing the set in a tiebreaker. Rafa breaks in the 8th game of the 3rd and this time does hold serve to win the match 7-5 6-7(4-7) 6-3.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||67%||55%|
|1st Serve Points Won||48/72 (67%)||39/56 (70%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||22/36 (61%)||19/45 (42%)|
|Break Points Saved||8/11 (73%)||1/6 (17%)|
|Service Games Played||17||16|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||17/56 (30%)||22/72 (33%)|
|Second Return Points Won||26/45 (58%)||14/36 (39%)|
|Break Points Won||5/6 (83%)||3/11 (27%)|
|Return Games Played||16||17|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||70/108 (65%)||58/101 (57%)|
|Total Return Points Won||43/101 (43%)||38/108 (35%)|
|Total Points Won||113/209 (54%)||96/209 (46%)|
As it happened blatherings:
Not really a lot of these because I’m battling the flu and wasn’t able to concentrate well.
Either the sound on tennistv.com is weirdly echo-y, or my flu-head is wonkier than I thought.
Rafa breaks in the first game thanks to a killer return of serve.
Announcer doesn’t know that Rafa always picks to receive first.
Rafa holds: 2-0.
While I was busy with the flu, Blake broke back and the held – winning three games in a row to take us to 2-3.
TennisLuvah: Rafa is so far behind the baseline. Move the fuck up, crazy man! Lol
piratesswoop: OMG GTFO JAMES BLAKE D:
Inside-out forehand winner from Rafa – beauty. Holy crap, that was pretty – as Rafa was running forward, Blake hit a short ball at Rafa’s feet at back of the service box and Rafa hits a winner off of it. Rafa holds: 3-3.
Ack! Rafa runs down a drop shot only to net the ball. Rafa got up 0-30 on Blake’s serve, but Blake won the next 4 points in a row to hold serve: 3-4.
Damn! That shot from Blake was in? How annoying. Rafa holds: 4-4.
Rafa only winning 61% of his first serve points? That needs to improve. Blake holds at love. Rafa to serve to stay in the set.
TennisLuvah: Why the fuck do slumpers always pick up their game when playing against Rafa? ANNOYING.
Is it possible to OD on cough drops?
Cracks me up that Rafa’s still doing the “tuck the hair behind the ears” twitch as part of his service prep. Pssst – Rafa? No hair to tuck there.
Easy hold for Rafa: 5-5.
Running around a backhand almost got Rafa in trouble. Just trust your backhand, Rafa. Blake double faults and it’s deuce on his serve. Blake tries to serve and volley, but Rafa wins the point – break point. Rafa breaks! He serves for the set next.
TennisLuvah: Vamos! Rafa breaks and will serve for the match at 6-5. Gotta be honest, that was a bit of a gift so take advantage, RAFA!
A blistering backhand gives Blake a break point. Rafa saves both break points and they are at deuce. Rafa holds and take the first set: 7-5.
Blake holds at love to start set 2.
3-2 on serve second set.
Rafa breaks at some point when I’m enjoying the flu again. He’s up 4-3 and serving. Easy hold for Rafa and Blake serving to stay in the match.
Rafa has some chances, but Blake manages to hold in the longest game of the match and forces Rafa to serve for the match.
Rafa double faults on his second match point? Oye. Blake takes the game to deuce. Rafa nets a tough volley and it’s break point for Blake. Ace! Blake blisters a forehand and it’s break point again. The net cord reaches out, grabs the ball, and Blake breaks.
Beauty of a lob from Rafa – he goes up 0-30 on Blake’s serve. Rafa breaks! He gets another chance to serve this out.
I don’t think Rafa’s been playing poorly, but am surprised Blake is giving him this much trouble given how Blake’s been playing lately.
Blake wins the first two points on Rafa’s service game. Another excellent return gives Blake double break point. Good serving saves one. Smart play saves another. Another break point for Blake. Blake breaks. Damn. We are going to a tiebreaker.
Blake keys off on a return and goes up a mini-break. Returns the next ball right at Rafa’s feet and he’s up 0-3 in the tiebreak. Rafa nets a return: 0-4. Blake nets a second serve return and Rafa’s on the scoreboard in the tiebreaker: 1-5. Set point for Blake. Blake sends a shot long and it’s 2-6. Rafa passes Blake and it’s 3-6. Blake nets a return and it’s 4-6. Blake wins the tiebreak and the second set.
Damn you Rafa. I don’t know if I can make it through another set. *loads up on more cough drops*
That bandanna is traveling mighty high – never a good sign.
On serve 2-1. Flu is busting my chops even worse that Blake busted Rafa’s in the tiebreaker.
Okay, crackers were apparently too ambitious. I get back in time to see Rafa serving for the match…again. This time, he does it. Blake no longer has a winning record against him. Woot!