In his first final since Madrid, Rafa played #8 Nikolay Davydenko in the Shanghai Masters today. Davydenko had a tough and long match against Djokovich in the semis, but showed no signs of that bothering him today. He was playing smart, aggressive tennis and pushed Rafa back on his heels for most of the match. Rafa fought back from being down a break in the first set, but Davydenko dominated the tiebreak. He broke Rafa in the 6th game of the 2nd set and that’s all it took. Rafa loses 6-7(3-7) 3-6.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||69%||70%|
|1st Serve Points Won||29/42 (69%)||39/53 (74%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||9/19 (47%)||12/23 (52%)|
|Break Points Saved||5/7 (71%)||3/4 (75%)|
|Service Games Played||10||11|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||14/53 (26%)||13/42 (31%)|
|Second Return Points Won||11/23 (48%)||10/19 (53%)|
|Break Points Won||1/4 (25%)||2/7 (29%)|
|Return Games Played||11||10|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||38/61 (26%)||51/76 (67%)|
|Total Return Points Won||25/76 (33%)||23/61 (38%)|
|Total Points Won||63/137 (46%)||74/137 (54%)|
As it happened blatherings:
Ulrich in the chair.
Rafa will serve to get the match started. First point is a long rally (21 shots) that ends in a forehand error from Rafa. A nice serve that Kola can barely get a racket on and it’s 15-15. Lather, rinse, repeat: 30-15. Second serve. Forehand from Kola goes long: 40-15. Rafa controls the point and finishes with a winner from mid-court. Nice stress-free hold to start the match.
Kola tries to step in a rally, but Rafa pushes him back and, in the end, draws the error: 0-15. Good serve and Kola cuts off the return at the net: 15-15. Ace. Kola nets a forehand: 30-30. Forehand return shanked wide and it’s 30-40. Another long rally ends with a forehand error from Kola: deuce. Rafa sends a return sailing: ad Kola. Rafa sends a shot way wide and Kola holds: 1-1.
Kola steps up mid-rally and smacks a forehand down the line for a winner. Beautiful shot. Rafa sends a shot long and he’s down 0-30. Both guys trying to angle the other one off the court and Kola wins: triple break point. Excellent serve saves one. Kola sends a shot barely wide and another bp saved. Kola steps up mid-rally and he breaks.
My cable TV is again acting up – only showing me about every third second of the play. I fucking hate cable monopolies. I’m going to be depending on TennisTV.com. Twitter also appears to be dead. I’m getting very grumpy.
Rafa’s shots landing short and Kola steps up and smacks a winner. Kola sends a shot just long: 15-15. Rafa returns the favor: 30-15. Massive forehand winner from Kola – 40-30. He holds: 1-3.
Kola nets a ball: 15-0. Kola sends a ball long: 30-0. Rafa holds at love: 2-3.
Kola smashes a winner: 15-0. Kola sends Rafa wide to this backhand side and then hits a fierce winner to the open court: 30-0. Rafa sends a slow second serve return long: 40-0. Rafa wins the battle of the angles this time: 40-15. Rafa nets an easy looking slice backhand and Kola holds: 2-4.
Wonderful serve, popped up return, Rafa smashes a winner from the net: 15-0. Kola angles a forehand and draws an error from Rafa: 15-15. A short sitter from Rafa and Kola moves up the court and takes control: 15-30. Rafa sails a backhand long: 15-40. Kola barely misses an angled forehand: 30-40. Rafa stops mid-point and challenges an overrule from the chair, but is incorrect. Replay point. Kola sends a shot wide and it’s deuce. Again – game point Rafa. Kola sends a shot long and Rafa holds: 3-4.
Kola sends a shot just wide: 0-15. He beautifully cuts of an attempted passing shot from Rafa with a soft well-placed volley: 15-15. A long rally ends with an error from Kola and a big fist-pump from Rafa: 15-30. Another forehand winner from Kola: 30-30. Kola nets a forehand and Rafa has a break point. Kola steps in when Rafa hits a short ball and smacks a backhand cross court winner: deuce. Second serve. So-so return from Rafa, but Kola sends his shot way wide: break point. Kola’s ball was called out, but he challenges the call and wins: replay point. Kola sends a shot just long and Rafa breaks. They are back on serve at 4-4.
Second serve. Rafa sends a ball way long after being pushed into the corner: 0-15. Kola again working the angles, but Rafa stays in the point with a strong down the line forehand and then a slice backhand. Kola sends a shot just long: 15-15. Kola again runs Rafa all around the court and hits a ball that Rafa can’t reach: 15-30. Again Kola runs Rafa, but then he blows a smash: 30-30. Rafa taking way too much time between points. Kola sends a shot just long: 40-30. Great rally with both players struggling to take control of the point ends with Rafa at the net hitting a winning volley: 5-4.
Kola serving to stay in the set and starts off with an amazing angled backhand winner: 15-0. Second serve. He sends a shot just long: 15-15. Caught off balance a little bit, he sends a shot way wide: 15-30. Rafa sends a shot way long: 30-30. Second serve. Kola sends a shot barely wide: break and set point for Rafa. Rafa attempts a lob mid-rally and Kola comfortably smashes is home: deuce. Good serve, sitter of a return, and Kola smacks a winner: game point. Second serve. Rafa misses a forehand down the line and it’s 5-5. Rafa really blew an opportunity to close out that set.
Kola misses a forehand: 15-0. He sends a service return sailing: 30-0. Second serve. Rafa hits a ball out wide and Kola nets the response: 30-0. Rafa sends a forehand down the line long and it’s 40-30. Good first serve and Kola nets the return: 6-5.
Kola again serving to stay in the set. Second serve. Another flying forehand: 0-15. Fierce passing shots from Rafa – Kola returns the first, but can’t get to the second: 0-30. High floaty return from Rafa: 15-30. Kola steps up at the perfect moment and it’s 30-30. Kola pulls Rafa way wide with a excellent serve and then runs into the net and knocks off a volley in the opposite direction – perfection. Ace. Tiebreak time.
More fierce and sharp angles from Kola and he goes up a mini-break. Again with the angles – running Rafa ragged and it’s 0-2. Odd shot selection from Rafa, but he wins the point and gets the mini-break back. Kola sends a shot just long: 2-2. Kola pounces on a shortish high ball from Rafa and hits a clean winner: 2-3. Rafa angles a shot after a long rally and just misses: 2-4. Change of ends.
Second serve from Kola. Pounces on Rafa’s return and hit’s a clean forehand winner: 2-5. Rafa serving. Second serve. Kola sends the return long: 3-5. Second serve. Rafa totally mis-hits a shot: 3-6. Kola has multiple set points on his serve. Second serve. An beautiful backhand winner from Kola and he takes the first set in one hour and 15 minutes.
Kola serving to start set 2. Rafa sends a sitter wide 30-0. Ace. Easy hold for Kola.
An indecisive shot from Rafa: 15-15. Excellent passing shot from behind the baseline: 30-15. Rafa holds.
Angles galore, but Kola sends a shot barely wide: 0-15. Short ball from Rafa and Kola smacks it for a winner: 15-15. Kola stomps on another short return: 30-15. More angles and then a forehand down the line: 40-15. Ace. Kola holds. 1-2.
Rafa serving with new balls. Ace. Kola smacks a floaty slice from Rafa and puts Rafa on the defense. He sends a shot long: 15-15. Kola angles Rafa into the doubles alley and Rafa misses on the reply: 30-15. Second serve. Kola nets a ball: 30-30. Kola just misses on a cross-court: 40-30. Kola nets a ball and Rafa holds: 2-2.
Second serve from Kola. Double fault. Again, Kola moves Rafa well and Rafa can’t get his racket on a ball: 15-15. Rafa sends a ball way wide: 30-15. Kola miss-hits a ball: 30-30. And then he nets one: break point for Rafa. Rafa flubs the return: deuce. Second serve. A long rally (28 shots) ends with Rafa sending a ball long: game point. The net cord shows Rafa some love: deuce. Second serve. Kola angles a totally un-returnable forehand: game point. Second serve. Rafa blows the return hitting it wide and Kola holds for 2-3.
Second serve. Rafa does well to stay in the point as long as he does, but he ends up sending the ball long. Kola keeps pushing Rafa around the court at will. Second serve. Kola angles an amazing return. Amazing! 0-30. A shot from Kola is call out, but he challenges and the ball is right on the line – replay the point. Second serve. Rafa sends a shot barely long: 0-40. Kola miss-hits a ball and one bp saved: 15-40. Rafa’s turn to miss-hit and he’s broken.
Rafa nets a ball: 15-0. Kola returns the favor: 15-15. Second serve. Kola working Rafa’s backhand and pulls him wider and wider until Rafa nets the ball: 30-15. Rafa runs around a backhand and leave the court open for one of Kola’s excellent, hard-hit angled forehands: 40-15. Kola holds. Rafa to serve to stay in the match.
Rafa actually plays a point inside the baseline and wins: 15-0. Second serve. Rafa sends a ball long: 15-15. Beauty of a forehand winner from Rafa: 30-15. Nice serve: 40-15. Another good serve and another point won by playing inside the baseline. Rafa holds. Kola will serve for the match…
Kola nets a ball: 0-15. Great serve out wide and a good follow-up: 15-15. Serve down the middle and Rafa poofs a return wide: 30-15. Second serve. Deep return from Rafa and Kola sends a shot way wide: 30-30. Kola pounces on a short ball: 40-30. Second serve. Rafa’s shot is called out, he challenges… Kola has won.