In the semi-final of the China Open, Rafa took on #15 Marin Cilic of Croatia. It was the first meeting between the two players – let’s hope this doesn’t set the tone for their tour relationship. Cilic was on fire; Rafa looked like he was half awake. Cilic flipped to the “How to beat Rafa on Hard Courts” section of the players’ manual and executed the game plan spelled out there to perfection. He rolls over Rafa: 6-1 6-3.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||68%||65%|
|1st Serve Points Won||18/36 (50%)||24/31 (77%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||6/17 (35%)||9/17 (53%)|
|Break Points Saved||8/13 (62%)||1/2 (50%)|
|Service Games Played||8||8|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||7/31 (23%)||18/36 (50%)|
|Second Return Points Won||8/17 (47%)||11/17 (65%)|
|Break Points Won||1/2 (50%)||5/13 (38%)|
|Return Games Played||8||8|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||24/53 (45%)||33/48 (69%)|
|Total Return Points Won||15/48 (31%)||29/53 (55%)|
|Total Points Won||39/101 (39%)||62/101 (61%)|
As it happened blatherings:
Mo in the chair. Rafa won the toss and will receive.
Cilic serving to start us off. Rafa sends a shot long and it’s 15-0. Flings another shot wide: 30-0. Ace. Cilic holds at love.
Cilic hits a hard backhand winner: 0-15. His forehand pulls Rafa wide and Rafa slices a backhand wide: 0-30. Again, he pulls Rafa wide and draws an error: triple break point. Rafa scores his first point of the match as Cilic nets a ball: double break point. Cilic blisters a backhand return and breaks Rafa: 0-2.
Ace from Cilic. Rafa sends a ball long: 30-0. Rafa nets a ball: 40-0. Cilic holds at love. 0-3
Rafa does not look with colm on the changeover.
Rafa nets a ball: 0-15. Rafa moves Cilic a bit better and Cilic sends a ball long: 15-15. Cilic pounces on a short ball: 15-30. Again: 15-40. Rafa totally shanks a shot and he’s down 0-4.
Service winners from Cilic. Rafa floats a shot and Cilic has triple game point. Cilic holds again at love. 0-5. Rafa’s only won 2 points in the set. He’s trying to play close to the baseline, but isn’t getting enough time to line up his shots.
Oddly enough, Rafa looked more colm on that changeover.
TennisLuvah: Rafa is getting his ass kicked. lmao this is just funny now, sorry :D
Ataraxis00: Cilic is a game away from the set in 15 minutes. What the …
Hey, a point! Rafa won a point! Second serve. Another shot sent wide: 15-15. Cilic sends a shot wide: 30-15. Cilic muffs a shot and Rafa has a game point. Rafa holds. Thank goodness, my flu tummy isn’t ready for a bagel – unless it’s made of jello.
Ace for Cilic. Flubs a shot. Ace: 30-15. Excellent. That’s just what Rafa needs – a longer rally so he can get the feel back: 30-30. Sends a return long: 40-30. First set to Cilic in just 23 minutes.
Ataraxis00: Pride prevents the bagel. There’s that at least, I suppose.
1st return points won for Rafa: 7%
TennisLuvah: ROFL at those Spanish fans! They’re pissed! XD
TennisLuvah: Marin is on fire and wins the first set 6-1, nothing Rafa could really do. Time to regoup, bb!
@TennisLuvah He could have hit more balls into the court…
TennisLuvah: True. Rafa is playing like shit. And Marin is not.
Rafa starts off the second set serving. The guys work some angles, but Rafa errs and it’s 0-15. Excellent point ends up with Cilic at the net and hitting a winner: 0-30. Rafa shanks another ball and Cilic has triple break point. Second serve. Cilic nets a ball: 15-40. Rafa floats a slice backhand and draws an error: 30-40. Cilic breaks.
Cilic nets a high backhand: 15-15. Short angled winner from Cilic: 30-15. Rafa’s still trying to play inside “Beijing”. Cilic totally muffs a shot: 30-30. Rafa shanks a return: 40-30. Longish rally ends with Rafa sends a shot wide…but Rafa challenges the shot and wins. Replay the point. Rafa sends a shot sailing and it’s game to Cilic. 2-0
TennisLuvah: @RagingBitch I’m really not that surprised. Marin has the type of game that can bother Rafa. And it is. I say laugh! XD
@TennisLuvah He’s playing that game that’s in the players handbook under “How to beat Nadal on hard courts.”
TennisLuvah: Absolutely. I hate that chapter of the book! LOL
Rafa again gets down on his serve: 0-30. Another short angled winner to Rafa’s forehand from Cilic. Cilic nets two balls and Rafa saves three break points. And Rafa’s in double digits on points won in his own service games. (Yeah, that’s depressing.) Cilic nets a return – game point to Rafa. Smart serves from Rafa and he holds.
Cilic sends a shot wide and Rafa’s won 6 points in a row. Rafa nets a ball and ends the streak: 15-15. Sshhh…Rafa’s up on Cilic’s serve. That didn’t last long – Cilic pounces on a short ball and it’s 30-30. Short ball from Cilic and Rafa pounces for a winner: break point for Rafa. Second serve. Excellent angled forehand from Cilic saves the bp. Another forehand winner from Cilic gives him a game point. Rafa floats a return and Cilic slams it for a winner from the net. He goes up 3-1.
Rafa again takes the pace off a shot and draws an error from Cilic: 15-0. Lather, rinse repeat: 30-0. Rafa sends a shot long: 30-15. A fierce forehand from Rafa catches Cilic short and Rafa has a game point. Cilic pounces on a second serve: 40-30. They trade angles and Cilic heats a deep and fast winner: deuce. Nice serve and Cilic sends the return wide: ad to Rafa. Another nice serve and Rafa holds. He’s down a break: 2-3.
Rafa only winning 54% of first serve points; 38% of second serves; 17% of first returns and 33% of second returns.
Beautiful angled backhands from Rafa. 30-40 on Cilic’s serve. Second serve. Cilic pushes Rafa all over the court and he holds.
Nice forehand winner from Rafa: 15-0. Cilic muffs a second serve return: 30-0. Rafa sends a shot long: 30-15. Sends another wide: 30-30. Cilic nets a ball and it’s game point for Rafa. Rafa returns the favor: deuce. Cilic cuts off a ball at the net for a clean winner and has a break point. Cilic returns the ball right at Rafa’s feet. Rafa floats the return shot and smacks a winner. He will serve for the match.
Rafa moves Cilic well and finishes the point off with a short angled forehand winner. Cilic sends a shot just wide: 0-30. Rafa sends a shot just wide and it’s 15-30. Rafa nets a ball and it’s 30-30. Ace. Match point, Cilic. Cilic sends a shot wide: deuce. Ace. Another match point. Second serve. Cilic nets a ball: deuce. Rafa moves Cilic from side to side and ends with a smash winner: break point. Second serve. Cilic sails a ball and Rafa breaks: 3-5.
Rafa rips a passing shot: 15-0. Cilic returns skids off the baseline and Rafa nets the shot: 15-15. Second serve. Excellent deep return off the second serve and it’s 15-30. Second serve. Again, a long rally ends with Cilic at the net, cutting off the ball and hitting a sharp angled volley for the winner: match point for Cilc. Cilic muffs a return: 30-40. Cilic was in charge of the point, but sends a shot ever so slightly wide: deuce. Rafa sends a ball wide and it’s match point for Cilic again. Second serve. Cilic wins: 6-1 6-3.