So long, Safin

Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images

Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images

Ahh, the hot match we were all hoping for when we first saw the draw actually happened: Rafa vs. Marat Safin. A former #1 and currently ranked 59, Safin’s had an up and down year – mainly down – but even if this match wasn’t going to be competitive, we knew it was going to be hot. Neither player was playing poorly, but Rafa was more consistent and played the big points better. He’s through 6-3 6-1 and will take on Cilic in the semis.


Nadal Safin
Statistics on Serve
Aces 1 1
Double Faults 1 3
1st Serve % 78% 63%
1st Serve Points Won 29/43 (67%) 18/32 (56%)
2nd Serve Points Won 8/12 (67%) 6/19 (32%)
Break Points Saved 3/3 (100%) 1/5 (20%)
Service Games Played 8 8
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 14/32 (44%) 14/43 (33%)
Second Return Points Won 13/19 (68%) 4/12 (33%)
Break Points Won 4/5 (80%) 0/3 (0%)
Return Games Played 8 8
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 37/55 (67%) 24/51 (47%)
Total Return Points Won 27/51 (53%) 18/55 (33%)
Total Points Won 64/106 (60%) 42/106 (40%)

As it happened blatherings:

Mo in the chair for Rafa/Safin? HOTNESS OVERLOAD!

Safin won the toss and elected to receive.

Marat plays cat and mouse with Rafa on the first point – pulling him in and then lobbing him back. Rafa holds easily to get things started.

131MPH ace from Safin – oof. And…he follows that up with a double fault. Safin storms the net – break point for Rafa. Safin comes in again and sends a volley wide. 2-0

Rafa nets a backhand and then sends a forehand log – digging himself into a 0-30 hole on his serve. Fault. Decent second serve. Safin sends a ball long. Rafa pounces on a short ball from Safin and it’s 30-30.

TennisLuvah: I love when Rafa just pummels the ball. SO HOT!

The net cord shows Safin some love and gives him a break point. Proving it’s more fair and balanced than FOX News, the net cord helps out Rafa on the next point and it’s deuce. Advantage Rafa. Safin pushes Rafa wide and then pulls him into the net – Rafa can’t reach the dropper in time and it’s deuce again. Rafa paints the line with a forehand down the line and it’s game point again. His next forehand finds the net and we are back to deuce. Marat racket toss count: 1. Advantage Rafa. Rafa pummels another short ball and it’s 3-0.

Rafa passes Safin to go up on his serve. I miss some stuff and Safin hits some excellent serves and has a game point. Rafa nets a low ball and Safin’s on the board: 3-1.

Massive forehand from Rafa. He looks to be swinging free so far. Nice return from Safin. Rafa hooks a ball wide: 40-30. Rafa holds: 4-1.

30-all on Safin’s next service game. A deft touch cross-court volley from him that Rafa returns with a flick of a wrist, but Safin digs down and hits a winner: game point Safin. He goes on to hold: 4-2.

Atch2: @nadalnews why does Rafa have a Shangrila Hotel towel?
@Atch2 Maybe he’s stealing towels from his hotel.

Some aggressive play by Safin gets him a lead on Rafa’s next service game. Beauty of a backhand cross court from Safin gives him double break point. He nets two balls in a row and it’s deuce. Second serve. Safin sends a ball long and it’s game point for Rafa. He holds: 5-2.

Double fault from Safin. Rafa sends a shot wide and it’s 15-15. Wide serve, net approach, crisp cross-court volley – nice point from Safin. Marat holds. 5-3

First set to Rafa in 42 minutes: 6-3.

Safin serves to start set 2. After a fairly long rally, Rafa sends a shot long and wide. Safin takes a short ball, manages to adjust to a super-high bounce and hits a winner. Then he sends an easy shot long: 30-30. The fickle net cord is back to Safin-love: game point. Safin digs a volley off his shoelaces and takes the game.

Safin sends a shot long and shouts.

Please, announcer dude. Stop breathing into your microphone. I feel like I’m listening to a creepy obscene phone call.

Oh, that was a nice forehand from Rafa. That’s one fickle netcord. Rafa holds: 1-1.

Safin nets a ball and Rafa goes up on his service game. He sends another ball long and is down 0-30. Safin double faults. Another ball long and Safin is broken at love. He sends a ball into the crowd and tosses his racket.

Beautifully timed forehand down the line from Rafa. Follows that with a netted forehand. Safin racket toss count: 3. Heee! Rafa hits a shot that leaves him wide open at the net, so he drops and covers to protect himself. Rafa holds: 3-1.

Safin’s shot tips the net cord, pops up and Rafa smashes it. Safin nets a shot and Rafa has a break point. Safin saves it with a beauty of a cross-court backhand that Rafa can’t quite get to in time to do anything with. Rafa sends a shot just long (Mo has to over-rule the call) and Safin has a game point. Safin gives Mo the thumb’s up. Rafa blisters a passing shot and it’s deuce. Beautiful angled forehand from Rafa and it’s break point. He breaks and it’s 4-1.

Crowd laughs as Rafa nibbles on a banana – Rafa smiles.

Two beautiful shots from Safin and he goes up on Rafa’s serve. Rafa wins the next 3 points, but then sends a shot wide for deuce. Safin returns the favor and it’s game point. Rafa holds: 5-1.

Double match point Rafa. Second serve. Rafa wins: 6-3 6-1

42 Responses

  1. patzin says:

    Rafa looked cool and calm. This seems to me to be the first match recently where he seemed totally in control.

    • mary says:

      Absolutely agree. What we saw in this match was Rafa almost back to himself. He was awesome. Such a privilage to watch! Don’t think there will be anyone ever like him with his charisma, talent & yumminess. To top it all off he is a gentleman.

  2. vamsi says:

    first good match 4 rafa
    he was really in mood of comedy

    i just loved the match
    we got to see some awesome shots from both

  3. xta says:

    thought rafa looked GREAT — comfortable and confident (even though his bandanna was riding up there)…into the semis !!!
    i have to say, on the whole “rafa’s outfit” topic, it’s pretty genius of nike to have a player who is playing tennis in what are essentially “street” clothes…he doesn’t look like he’s wearing a tennis outfit — he could be walking down the street, on the golf course, watching a sporting event, whatever…i can’t think of any other player i can say that about…if rafa were sleeveless, i’m not so sure i would say that…don’t know if that’s what nike was going for, but as it turns out it’s pretty brilliant…
    (but i do want him sleeveless…)

  4. Rafafan says:

    Wow our boy looks hot, hot, hot playing tennis and his hotness looks.

    Everything is so gorgeous, he played awesome (although admittedly Marat made a few mistakes).

    For a change this was quite enjoyable to watch and not the massive nervous wreck that I had been in the last 2 matches.

    Loved the bit when Rafa at the net decides to drop down on the floor face down for cover – that was so funny – quite unlike Rafa like but was hilarious. If anyone could post that and also afterwards when Marat had to smile that would be great. Him and the banana eating and the cute smile and cheers too.

    Vamos – he is looking back to his old form. Can’t wait (I have got a sneaky feeling it may be a Sod v Rafa final – 0h hell, there would be a lot of personal rivalry (I know he doesn’t do rivalry but….. we all know that the Sod is the no1 least favourite player).
    As I said before wouldn’t it be great 6 – 0 6 – 0 against the Sod. Mmmm lets see

    • Zoe says:

      I have to say, my stress levels were WAAAAY down compared to the last few i’ve seen!

    • vamsi says:

      i think he did that dropping down to make safin’s mood light
      safin had just broken a racquet in the previous point

  5. Zoe says:

    I don’t think we could have asked for a better matchup (hotness wise ;) ) and then Mo was just the icing on the cake!!!! Honestly don’t know how I handled the level of hotness of this match of sporn ;)
    Fantastic match to watch, some great points from Marat and lots of winners from Rafa! Can’t wait to see how he does against Cilic!! VAMOS!!!

  6. vamsi says:

    rafa really came out firing
    he knew what he needed to do and he did exactly the same
    safin also showed some of his brilliance

    i loved the match

    and miri i hope this one made u feel better

  7. Atch2 says:

    My feed suxed. The pictures were clear but it would buffer for 1-2secs and then I would miss some shots. Funny it didn’t buffer during the changeovers though.

    But after all that it was a less stressful match for Rafanatics and Rafa looking more comfortable. Rafa coming to the net more (wish the stats listed net approaches/winners). Safin was not serving well and couldn’t get many free points with aces. He seems to have lost the passion to win at all costs too. Luved the smiling exchange at the net.

    And how cute was Mo? Smiling and laughing and swinging his legs from the umpire’s chair.

    Yes agree, need to see replays of:
    – Rafa taking cover behind the net
    – Rafa’s sweet shy smile during the changeover/banana eating onscreen. Thank god he nibbles to avoid choking again.
    – handshake exchange at the end of the match

    • nic says:

      Hear hear, we need to see all three highlights!!
      My feed from the same site was doing the same thing in the first set, but in the second set it was awesome. It was just a continuous flow. I was so happy because I never get good feeds! And this one was in English too yay!

      Couldn’t even tell it was Mo in the chair because he was way too tiny on my computer screen. I love the overall feel of this match, moodwise for Rafa it was amazing. He just seemed so relaxed, and totally confident in his shot making. Everything seemed to be coming to him naturally and not like he was overthinking anything. Looks like his A-game is coming together. What a joy to watch.

      I couldn’t believe Rafa actually dropped to the floor like that to avoid the ball, that was hilarious! If only my feed didn’t decide to buffer right then!! Can’t get over that he was just in such a light mood during the match. And when he smiled as he was caught eating the banana, that was just awesome. Too much cuteness! Ah, this was THE perfect match for me to catch in a good live feed. Too happy, will sleep well now :D

  8. kefuoe says:

    Agree that Nadal seemed calm and relaxed throughout the match. I never really thought this was a good match up for Safin, though. I don’t think he likes to play against good retrievers and the different look and feel (spinny, lefty) of what Nadal sends him would probably make him frustrated. I remember a post on another blog suggesting that Nadal and Safin are tennis opposites (charisma twins, though!).

  9. dutchgirl says:

    Livestream on didn’t have sound, which made it weird to watch, so I tuned in on Worse image quality, but hey, I got to watch Rafa play and win in less than 1,5 hours.
    No nerves what so ever.
    I agree with everyone here about the moments that are worth seeing again – I was really surprised by Rafa going down at the net.

  10. Atch2 says:

    Hey Rafa, what’s with the black sneakers?

    • nic says:

      Yeah not liking it that much too. Way too much black on it. Preferred the one he wore in his first match, was mostly white, but with the big green stripe going across. Way nicer. He’s still hot though :p

  11. CC says:

    From the little I saw, Rafa looked pretty comfortable on court today, no? So, vamos to that!

    I don’t get Marat’s supposed hotness, I just think he looks kind of “over grown”. Then again, I can’t say that I’ve spent much time looking at him. Wonder why?

    Semis tomorrow. If hasn’t sorted it’s sound issues out until then, I will cry. And stamp my feet. I pay for that to work!

  12. patzin says:

    I think Rafa diving behind the net was priceless – funny. The commentator said that brought a smile to Marat, who was upset the point before. I think Rafa thought he better protect himself from bodily harm. Classic!

  13. An says:

    Miri, my firts thank you goes to you… For describing the match, that again i couldnt see because i was at work, so well. How are you doing now?

    And then, aaaww, i have to say thank you Rafa, for keeping me save driving home… ( i should explain that is guess, No? ) After you winning 1st set i started driving home ( i had to drive 150 miles today )and of course there was nothing that could keep me from regular checking the live score on the cell-phone and i thank you for making that not to stress-full while i was driving!

    As far as the hotness is concerned, yes i too think that Marat is hot but just as in the tennis match today, Rafa winns the hotness competition EASY ( for me )

    And one more time thank you Rafa for protecting yourself! I should not think what that ball could have done for harm iff it had hit you :P;)

  14. faeaki 7 says:

    I didn’t get to see the match, damn! so am greatful of any highlights. Marat Safin and! #Rafael Nadal on the same tennis court, *phew* how hot can it get! I bet it was a full house, glad Rafa won of course but its sad to see Safin retire this year, great player and I am glad he managed to put in a good match for the crowds!

  15. Chant says:

    So, what time will Rafa’s semifinal match air? I thought he was playing sometime after the 12pm match (China time, which is 12am EST – in 2 hours)…? The Tennis Channel website is saying they’re airing the semi’s tomorrow at 10am EST, so what’s the deal? Will the Tennis Channel be airing the repeat? I’m confused.

    • Atch2 says:

      Sod Vs Nole at noon local time. Followed by Rafa vs Cilic.

      • mary says:

        Yeah!!!!! I get to watch it again during my daytime. I’m a very happy chappy. No burning the midnight or more likely half the night candles, which btw is about every tourny except the asian & australian tourneys. Mind you there is something about Rafa that is sooooooo soothing I nod off mommentarily every match, or maybe its because it is the only time I sit down for a few hours. Mind you every game Rafa has won bar one I have nodded off on & that was the AO. Nope sorry checking memory banks. I nodded off watching that one as well. ;)

      • Chant says:

        Right, so would that be noon EST, or China time? Then the Tennis Channel won’t be airing it live? I’m still confused, haha.

  16. Rafafan says:

    anyone know what the hell is going on. cant get for the first time and now sounds like he is losing big time. woke up at 5am 2 watch in england! live scores says 6 1 3 1 set to cilic. is cilic just blasting him off court or rafa problem serve etc…..!!