Non-sizzling Spanish semi

Photo by AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

Photo by AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

Rafa played friend and fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez (#41) in the last semi-final match in Shanghai. Lopez has been trying to resurrect an abysmal season and was in fine form during his quarterfinal upset over Soderling. The run came to an end today, however. Hampered by a bum foot (and Rafa’s passing shots), he retired in the second set. We couldn’t go a day without a retirement? Rafa’s through 6-1 3-0(Ret) and will play Davydenko in the final tomorrow.

Stats:

Nadal Lopez
Statistics on Serve
Aces 1 1
Double Faults 0 0
1st Serve % 58% 39%
1st Serve Points Won 12/14 (86%) 5/12 (42%)
2nd Serve Points Won 8/10 (80%) 5/19(26%)
Break Points Saved 0/0 (0%) 2/6 (33%)
Service Games Played 5 5
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 7/12 (58%) 2/14 (14%)
Second Return Points Won 14/19 (74%) 2/10 (20%)
Break Points Won 4/6 (67%) 0/0 (0%)
Return Games Played 5 5
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 20/24 (83%) 10/31 (32%)
Total Return Points Won 21/31 (68%) 4/24 (17%)
Total Points Won 41/55 (75%) 14/55 (25%)

As it happened blatherings:

Very nice of Davydenko/Djokovic to finish up in a timely manner. Hey! Rafa’s on time. He’s in the tunnel and waiting for Feli. Bizzare. There’s a hell of a lot of bouncing going on in the tunnel.

Rafa wins the toss and will receive. Carlos Bernardes in the chair.

Feli starts us off serving and ends a rally with a wide shot. Ace. Rafa nets a ball that didn’t look that difficult. Feli holds.

Fierce forehand from Rafa draws an error. Easy hold for Rafa.

Feli nets a backhand. He’s serving well, though. A long rally ends with an error from Rafa. Feli lets a backhand fly. Break point for Rafa. Second serve. Rafa breaks on a forehand error from Feli and he’s up 2-1.

The Feli-manscaped beard is even more unfortunate than Rafa’s shorts. It’s like he’s got on beard short pants.

Rafa sends an easy forehand on a trip into the stands. I hope it enjoys its vacation. Feli tries to smack a forehand winner and nets the ball instead: 30-15. Easy hold for Rafa: 3-1.

Double break point for Rafa. He blows it by sending another forehand sailing – he had set up his shot well, but muffed it. Another error from Feli and Rafa breaks for 4-1. Easy hold for Rafa: 5-1.

Serve, volley…Rafa rips a return passing shot that leaves Feli standing at the net looking lonely. Tripple break/set point for Rafa. Rafa breaks at love. Lopez is limping (in many ways). First set to Rafa in 29 minutes: 6-1.

Looks like Feli having some blister problems on his foot. Could he have any more oil on his legs? Trainer giving him a pill to pop. Hopefully the repairs on Feli’s foot will help and the match will be a bit more competitive.

Rafa serving with new balls to start set 2. Easy hold for Rafa.

I know Rafa’s passing shots are scary, but shouldn’t Feli be trying to get into the net more? I don’t think he stands a chance if he’s hugging the baseline the whole match – esp if he has a bum foot. Oh. Just as I type that, he comes in an Rafa threads the needle on a passing shot. That has to be demoralizing. Feli follows that up by hitting a forehand wide and Rafa breaks for 2-0.

Backhand boo-boo from Rafa: 15-15. Hee! Fans wearing Rafa’s shirt in the stands. Easy hold for Rafa: 3-0.

Trainer back out for Feli – working on the same foot.

And….we had to have the now customary retirement for the day, didn’t we? Feli retires and Rafa is through to the final.

62 Responses

  1. CC says:

    Hey…what’s going on here?! I was really looking forward to this match and we got a Feli looking like he had the whole world resting on his shoulders. Ah, well… Guess Rafa can get an early night now. Tomorrow will be tough, no?

  2. CC says:

    BTW, the best thing with this match was watching Rafa in his chair when Feli was getting treatment after first set. Rafa staring into space looking sooo…beautiful, I guess is the only word to describe him. Those eyes… :)

    • Zoe says:

      Rafa looked gorgeous in that medium closeup shot!! As you say those eyes… Just a shame Feli was in pain and not able to finish the match. Also sad that “Rafeli” was not as sizzling as it should have been. I think Davydenko will be a tough match and hoping Rafa is feeling good and ready to tackle it!!

    • nic says:

      Totally, CC. Beautiful. Serene. Dreamy. He was so adorable there. And I also felt sorry for him cos he was also really feeling bad for Feli at the time, but having to focus on keeping his head in the game. You know our Rafa, he’s such an empathetic person, he feels for others all the time. Aaww what a sweetie.

  3. nic says:

    Poor Feli. Really feel sorry for him after playing so well this week especially yesterday against the Sod. That was a pretty big accomplishment for him. Such a shame. Was so looking forward to a competitive match here. And Rafa could do with more play time. At least he was looking great in the first set. Hope he can take away some confidence from that. And yes, he’ll get to have some good rest tonight. Wow, two retirements in a row for his matches, wonder what it feels like. Frustrating? Bit of a guilty feeling? Hope none of either :)
    Vamos Rafa dear. Tomorrow is most certainly going to be a tough one. Davy is playing so well it’s not funny. Especially since he just won the KL title, he’ll be feeling well. Hhhmmm..
    I so long to see Rafa hoisting a trophy. What more a Masters 1000! That would lift his spirits up so high. And put him still at the forefront of the whole tour with ATP wins this year I think. You can do it Rafa!!!

    • CC says:

      I felt sorry for Ivan yesterday, but don’t feel much sorry for Feli today. Don’t know why. I’m weird.

        • Zoe says:

          Maybe cause it’s because Ivan won the first set and could have possibly taken the third as well? Feli seemed to have a blister problem as far as I could tell. Must be frustrating to win two matches in a row cause the opponent had to retire.

          • CC says:

            Yeah, it didn’t feel at all like Feli tried. But he obviously couldn’t. He must have been tired from yesterday as well, because he just looked like he’d run out of steam before it even started.

          • mary says:

            I have to dissagree with you about Ivan. Rafa hac the ascendancy, momentum thing going. He had fought back from love 40 & then broken Ivan.
            Maybe CC isn’t a Feli lover, as neither am I.

            • CC says:

              Feli to me means nothing. I know nothing about him or how he normally plays. I just know I prefer him with short hair. ;)

              • nic says:

                I saw Feli at the Sydney tourney this year, and he was oh so pretty. I swear he was extremely hot. And he was practising with his shirt off and yowza, he was kinda pissed at himself cos he wasn’t hitting his shots very well, so he was even more fired up. And with shirt off, I must repeat. Anyway, I got his signature and he was pretty nice to fans even when he was clearly not in a great mood, and I think he’s a colourful character. Not had a chance to catch much of his play seeing that he hasn’t gone very far of late, but a good friend of Rafa’s is a friend of mine :)

                • CC says:

                  I’m sure he’s lovely! I think he looks weird. Too pretty face, but very strange body. Don’t like the legs or the bum. Heh. Sorry!

                  • mary says:

                    Yep, I’m with you there CC. He doesn’t do a thing for me either, even after I saw that pic of him coming out of the blue glittering curtain with all the smoke bellowing up around his lower abdomin & filtered light streaming from behind him. As sexy as he looked I still can’t get into him. I’m a one eyed Rafanatic.

                  • nic says:

                    Haha, so fussy CC! I was actually admiring his physique tonight :)

                    Btw I couldn’t help but laugh when the commentator Robbie Koenig said F-Lo was his diva name, and started to explain that people who follow tennis very closely will know that he’s always perfectly groomed, etc. Those commentators are hilarious, always gossiping over the course of their commentary.

                    • Mim says:

                      Even though I felt as sorry as I could when Feli was getting his blisters looked at (When I noticed the fuss Feli was making over his blister it made me go into a proud speech on how Rafa won a tourney against Federer last year with blisters the size of golf balls on his feet! You could actually SEE the blisters bulging out and SEE how swollen his foot was!)

                      Anywhoo, back to what I was saying, I couldn’t help but LOL when Robbie suggested that Feli looked like he had gotten shot when we were watching the reply/slow-mo of Feli’s reaction at the end of the first set.

                      Jason also cackled shamelessly into the mic. At first I was torn between feeling indignation at their mockery and blatant LOL @ Feli, and then I couldn’t help but completely let those feelings go and laughed until my sides split! Feli is such the actor! I thought he broke his ankle or something with the way he reacted!

                      Rafa didn’t even BLINK. I guess he’s used to it. :)

                      Fe-Lo…LOL! He’s SUCH the diva isn’t he? XD

                    • CC says:

                      I think Feli seems to be a sweetheart, but something was obviously not right with him today.

                    • mary says:

                      Yeah they crack me up as well nic. I love listening to them almost as much as I love watching Rafa play tennis. :)

                    • Carol says:

                      Good words about Rafa’s courage over his blisters in the match with Fed, Mim: but he IS unique, our Rafa!

                      And, yup, Feli is a bit of a diva, but that’s partly why I like him: there’s nothing wrong with a bit of pretty (just get rid of the horrid beard) – just wish his form wasn’t so patchy!

                  • Lee says:

                    Heh heh! With a butt like Rafa’s, who could blame you? That’s like going from filet mignon to chopped liver.

          • Ch F says:

            It is frustrating but it’s also luck. He would win anyway I think. The winning return shots are back, it’s a great thing. He really needs to step up if he wants to beat Davydenko, and being in his first final after months will be good for his confidence. Let’s hope mentally he hasn’t forgot how to deal with it ;-)

  4. Emily says:

    Fingers crossed for tomorrow! Can’t wait to see the broad smile on Rafa’s face as he hoists the trophy. Davydenko will be a good test for him and if Rafa comes through, it would definitely boost his confidence!

  5. mary says:

    “Non-sizzling Spanish semi”
    Yep that summed it up perfectly. I feel for both of them. Rafa wanted so bad to prove himself, yet at the same time he must have felt so bad for Feli. Hope Feli hangs around to support Rafa in the finals. After the epic match against Nole, Davydenko hopefully will run out of puff!!! Mind you it was a great match, one in which Rafa would like to play tommorrow & win it

  6. Carol says:

    Oooooh, much as I adore Rafa, I feel bad about him moving on by default, as it were – I think he really felt for Ivan in the quarters. And now Feli, his mate, as well.

    This has been a depressingly crap tourney for injuries – is it because it’s near the end of the (very intense and long) season, the dominance of hard courts or what??

    But Feli…??? *shrugs* when he’s good…etc. Feli is Feli. That’s what’s so damned fascinating… oh, yeah and he’s hot too *blush*.
    *whispers – I think right now my #2 Feli needs a hug & kiss & Carolsnuggle more than Rafa* :-)(Or a game of Sardines, ha, ha)!

  7. CC says:

    I was just going to comment on the fact that I thought Rafa served well today, but then I saw that his first serve percentage only was 58. I really think I will stop trying to pretend I know anything about tennis…

    • mary says:

      But when he did get his first serves in he won over 80%. That is what you are seeing. So technically you are right.

      • Ch F says:

        I agree. If we compare Rafa’s first serve percentage to other players’ we will see it’s higher. But that doesn’t mean the percentage of the points won on a first serve is higher as well. Actually, what happened today is his first serve percentage was not that high but it was more successful in terms of converted points. For example Djokovic had a much lower first serve percentage yesterday but you wouldn’t notice because of the actual points won. Statistics is the best way to lie, they say ;-)

    • nic says:

      geez, I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way. sometimes I think he’s just not playing too great, or yeah, the serve is not the best, then the match stats totally say otherwise. i think also when we have so much vested interest in how he plays, everything seems more amplified. I probably get way too involved to the point even the smallest mistake makes me freak out.

      • Mim says:

        You remind me of my mom with your reaction :)

        During Rafa’s matches, it is my Mom’s job to frazzle, freak out and even leave the room entirely! And it is MY job to keep her colm, reassure her and root Rafa on during the very tight spots (like his 0-40 game against Ljubicic!)

        Hehe, my Mom says that she just can’t take it sometimes! When I point out that I stay and watch, she snaps “But you’re not likely to have a heart attack! I swear, this boy one day is going to be the end of me!” <3

        I find that so very interesting. She can be so critical of his game and worry about any error he may make. It's the fact that she's so INVESTED (like you point out) that she cares for him so much.

        I love my Mommy :D

        P.S. Not that I'm not just as crazy, but in a different kind of way. Aren't we all insane on some level when it comes to our Rafa? ^_^ He just has that effect on people! In spite of all the torture he can subject us to, we wouldn't trade him in for any other tennis player in the world. Would we? <3

      • Ch F says:

        Plus you can’t trust stats all the time, cause not everything is quantifiable. When I don’t see Rafa’s matches and then look at the stats after reading that he played a bad match, I’m always surprised cause the figures do not necessarily show that. And as you said we are his fans so we also know his body language, his routine, the way he is on court and sometimes we get a different feeling than the one reflected in plain percentages. For example when he is not happy, I’m sure all of us see it straight away. So even if he wins-which happens for a reason and the stats show it-we know it was close or we are worried because we just know him.

  8. Rafafan says:

    Well how ironic is this. After A Rod and Nadal being very vocal about the long season and it needs to be looked up with the ATP calendar and the injuries to these guys, A Rod pulled out with injury and then our Rafa with 2 opponents pull out with injury. Talk about the meaning of ironic!!

    Anyhow, the match was no match coz of Feli game plan – why on earth didn’t he go to the net from the off! and then of course the injury.

    Let me tell you Davydenco is no walk in the park! He may not be the most dazzling personality but heah is tennis is really dazzling – even I had to say when I watched the whole match against Novak. He was absoluely awesome and if Davy plays to this form he will definitely outgun our boy. Hope Rafa surprises Davy and comes to the ne more – coz Davy has the same powershots as Blake, Del Potro, the Sod and Lubicic (backhand). Also Davy has won a few matches with Rafa. Not sure what their h2h with recently but I don’t think it is pretty reading.

    Anyone else see Novak/Davydenco match today? I think Rafa needs to study it and do his homework pretty quickly!!

    Vamos tomorrow and yes those dreamy dreamy eyes looking into space was so fu…king brilliant!! – anyone got the link to see it again – utube?

    • Mim says:

      I totally agree with you about the long season. ATP: Get a freaking CLUE already!

    • Ch F says:

      I think the h2h is 4-2 in favour of Rafa, but Davydenko won their last match in the Miami final last year, which was the only time they met in a final.

  9. Mim says:

    I feel bad for Feli’s injury (though I feel he was hamming it up quite a bit). But I DON’T feel bad that it was Rafa who is the beneficiary of the walkover. For ONCE there is a 3 hour/3 setter, marathon of a match on one side and a quick one on the other..and Rafa’s on the side of the quick match. I do not begrudge him this “easy one” one bit.

    Rafa was all business in this match and I found it interesting how he didn’t let Feli’s….Feliness get to him. From the get-go Rafa had the match under control and I don’t think Feli had the right tactics (or weaponry) to hurt Rafa. When Feli began hopping around at the end of the first set, it was interesting to watch Rafa just stride right past him with a look of focus and intensity on his face. He knows Feli and knows that he can be a Drama King. He wasn’t going to let his guard down and allow Feli to disrupt him because of their friendship.

    Oh yeah, I loved the close up of Rafa during the MTO, as well! Did anyone else notice how during one of the close-ups, Rafa seemed to be mouthing the words to the song playing? Jason Goodall (ugh!) and Robbie commented on who the singer was, but it slipped my mind.

    The Djokovic/Davy D. match was so much fun to watch once it reached the third set. Davy D. played some aspiring tennis and an AMAZING tie-breaker. He, as well as Rafa, are very much deserving of their wins. Djokovic hasn’t played particularly good tennis throughout this tourney. Congrats on helping your cause to qualify for the Master Cup Davy D.!

    Vamos Rafa! Good luck tomorrow against Davy D. You can do it!

    • CC says:

      “Rafa’s on the side of the quick match. I do not begrudge him this “easy one” one bit.”

      I agree that it’s nice for Rafa to get some rest, however, part of me thinks that Rafa would have benfited from a really competitive and slightly longer match. I always think that’s how he likes it.

      • Mim says:

        Of course Rafa would’ve preferred to actually FINISH the match! Although I don’t think that it would have mattered to Rafa if it were long or not. I think what would’ve been MORE important to Rafa is that Feli actually PLAY tennis and put in an effort and Rafa STILL trounce him anyway. Rafa would have been satisfied with the match even then. He’s clearly working on ending matches quicker and with less aggravation (o-40 heart attack, anyone?!) His quote after the Tommy Robredo match says it all.

        As Rafa’s fan, I’m happy for the extra time and “rest”. But of course if you leave it to Rafa, he’s actually out on the practice courts right now to make up for the lost time :) .

  10. Rafafan says:

    PS: Am hoping coz of the 2 retirements in his 2 matches – he feels he still needs match practice and therefore will enter Valencia (his ime country for God’s sake) – yes I know did hark on about his long schedule….. but knowing Rafa this is an opportunity not to be missed b4 Paris (of all places with the crowds that don’t like him) to do a tourney b4 with the crowds that love him – surely that would give him bags of confidence.

    Anyway his scheduling tune down is next year – so please please enter Valencia (and it’s on Sky so I can watch!!)

  11. dutchgirl says:

    I’m glad he got to a final again, first time since Madrid. I don’t know if Rafa would have gotten more confidence of a win completely on his own efforts, but hey, to be in an ATP 1000 final is what counts!
    So bummed I cannot see the match tomorrow, since I agreed to stand in for someone in a tennismatch myself… Now I wish there will be storms and loads of rain, so the match will be cancelled (doubt it). Or I could pull out, claiming I’m injured (where did I see that before this week?);)

  12. Phyzzie says:

    The singer Rafa was lip-syncing to is Yas or Yaz. I think he has said that is one of his favorites.

  13. Eliana says:

    After watching the end of the match (sad for me :() now I’m watching the beginning. And at least the beginning of the presentation was funny! The commentator was distracted by Rafa’s weird jumping, then they were talking about how much they like his pants(for all the haters, jeje!) and at the coin toss, instead of asking heads or tails, Carlos Bernardes asked building or numbers, couldn’t stop laughing after that!

    Sorry, I don’t need much for a good chuckle ;)

  14. Rafafan says:

    That made me really chuckle Eliane. What do you mean when he said the comm was distracted and the pants? What exactly what was said word for word?.

    I have to say everyone – I was watching Sky and Barry Cowen was so much into Rafa and praising him so much (I think he is in love with im?!…). He was also very much f..cked off with all the media about him being burnt out with the knees etc and retiring. And how much he adored Rafa and how many years left we have in him. He even said that he gonna be more or less even better…. It was so refreshing after all the media putting him so down. Anyone else see / hear this? It was so refreshing? – makes a change when the media wanna put a good sportsman down all the time. Heay that’s their job and it sells papers I guess? (Is that why Fed sorry! don’t like to say the name was boring coz he was always winning). Yet for the reporters Rafa was a breath of fresh air. Don’t know what to expect with

    • Eliana says:

      Hey Rafafan! I’m at work right now but I will check my tape(yes, I still have a VCR recorder)to listen exactly what they were saying. I remember that one of the commentators was saying that he really liked Rafa’s pants while the other was agreeing with him and also talking about how much he liked the lime green shirt. Girl talk, if you ask me ;)
      Didn’t watch the first set cause of work, but I will be listening to the commentators to hear Rafa praise-always good!

    • Emma says:

      Yes I heard him say that Rafa had many years left and all the people who had been shaking their heads and saying he would be done by the age of 23 were talking out of their ass now because he has worked so hard to change his game and lessen the impact on his body. It was really refreshing because the pundits are usually so melodramatic and wanting to cause controversy by focusing on the negative. I like Barry, he is like a cheerful little hippo.

      Rafafan, you are definitley watching the same commentators that I am – have you heard that damn Peter Fleming keep saying how he doesn’t really believe there is anything wrong with Rafa’s knees, and it’s all a smoke screen to cover up emotional problems? He said it in the USO Almagro match, and again this week. He’s entitled to his opinion, but he says it in such a snarky manner that it’s starting to really bug me.

      • mary says:

        Jesus Emma I’m sooooooo glad I don’t get him. I am so sorry you have to put up with that shit!!!
        I get Robbie K & he loves Rafa. So most of the time he gives him rap after rap.
        You should try live streaming as Robby seems to be on the fromsports & atdhe sites. Well for the masters anyway. Then you don’t have to put up with the bagging

    • Eliana says:

      As I watched the tape again, they were discussing how Rafa needs the consecutive tourneys and matches to feel good about his game, mentally, and the commentator got quiet, but now I think it was because of a woman who was passing behind Rafa, and not by his jig.

      About the clothes, one of the commentators asked the other one (sorry, don’t know the names) how does he like the checkered shorts, he answers that he likes them and that the shirt is really cool, that the lime green is a fashion statement of the autumn season. Now, this comment is even more hilarious because exactly before this they were saying that there are rumors that Feli has a couple of Ricky Martin posters in his room. Don’t nkonw were they heard this!

  15. Atch2 says:

    Would’ve liked to hve seen a full match, and so Rafa could get some momentum going and build more confidence. Everyone has said what I thought, but just wanted to add that Rafa is still making too many loose shots and giving away too many unforced errors. We correct these and we will be fine.

    Really feel bad for Feli bec he’s not use to getting this far in tournaments his body is not coping.

    Davydenko and Nole were playing a really tight match. 3hrs and 5mins long of shot for shot, exciting see-sawing rallies. If Rafa was one of the guys I would have started to drink. Davydenko will be in there fighting but it also depends on if his body will recover that quickly overnight.

  16. sia says:

    Well I think Feli did really well … this is his first semis in a masters ever! I guess he had some kind of infection on his foot and was playing a little gingerly and so twisted his ankle at the end of the first set.
    Too bad … so many injuries … something has to give with this schedule and unfortunately it seems to be the players. I think a strike might be in the future.

  17. An says:

    So, there he is, in a final again!
    Sure he didnt want to reach it this way, but still he is, thats what he wanted all along, No?

    For sure gonna be a tough match, No? Davy D is a verry good player…
    he’s gonna have to play his best tennis for have chances to winn, No? Gonna have to be agressive, No?

    Yes! But at least he has a chance to gonna try!:)
    Let us all believe in him!

  18. Phyzzie says:

    Does anyone know what Rafa and Feli were saying at the net? It almost seemed as if they forgot they were supposed to shake hands with the ump. and leave the court! They were having a long discussion, obviously as to what the injury was, but I would be interested in what exactly they said…. Thanks.

  19. faeaki 7 says:

    Oh if anyone can post the #rafa moment on Utube would be great, I missed it, went to the loo!
    Davydenko is playing awsome tennis right now and is reminiscent of the Miami final form he had last year, and Rafa was in great form last year too, I am worried for Rafa tommorow Davy looks unstoppable! he also says he feels confident to play Rafa! Rafa needs to serve well and not miss those mid court f/h down the line shots! so unNadalike! Davydenko today was so precise and quick he takes the ball early which upsets Rafa’s rythum, this is going to be one hell of a tough afternoon for him, lets hope the crowd support him well>

    • Emma says:

      I know, D was amazing agaist Nole, and it was one almost unreturnable shot after another. Terrific to watch, but my heart was quailing for Rafa – assuming he got through Feli at that point.

      I am really scared about this encounter on the basis that I am not sure Rafa is match tight against the best players to make an impact – let’s face it, he isn’t. But this has to happen if he is to get back to his top form, he has to step up to the plate and get that imperious confidence back. We have seen signs of it this week, and this is the test. It should be, it’s the final.

      I am a total tennisaholic in general, but am getting to the point with Rafamatches where I get so worked up I barely enjoy them. Don’t mind going down fighting, but if he does a Cilic I am personally flying to Majorca to wait at the airport in order to slap his succulent backside. Make me eat my words, treasure.

  20. CC says:

    “…but if he does a Cilic I am personally flying to Majorca to wait at the airport in order to slap his succulent backside.”

    Hah, I’m tempted to join you!

    I’m just glad for Rafa that he’s in a final. It would obviously be great if he won, but if not…that’s fine too, no?