Another squeaker

Photo by REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

Photo by REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

Another day, another Spaniard v. Spaniard match in Paris as Rafa took on Tommy Robredo in the round of 16. While Tommy doesn’t have the showy shots that Almagro has, he’s more consistent and he appeared to have adopted Almagro’s game plan: attack the forehand. Rafa’s forehand wasn’t quite as willing to help his opponent out today as it was yesterday, however. He had better rhythm on all his shots and, importantly, his serve…until a crucial moment in the 3rd set. He didn’t let that get to him, though, and did his usual refuse to die thing. He’s through 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. He’ll play Tsonga in the next round.

Stats:

Nadal Robredo
Statistics on Serve
Aces 5 7
Double Faults 2 0
1st Serve % 72% 59%
1st Serve Points Won 45/64 (70%) 36/49 (73%)
2nd Serve Points Won 16/25 (64%) 20/34 (59%)
Break Points Saved 4/6 (67%) 4/7 (57%)
Service Games Played 15 15
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 13/49 (27%) 19/64 (30%)
Second Return Points Won 14/34 (27%) 9/25 (36%)
Break Points Won 3/7 (43%) 2/6 (33%)
Return Games Played 15 15
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 61/89 (69%) 56/83 (67%)
Total Return Points Won 27/83 (33%) 28/89 (31%)
Total Points Won 88/172 (51%) 84/172 (49%)

As it happened blatherings:

Saw Rafa’s name pop up on the live scores and hurried home for lunch so I could at least watch part of the match.

After getting down 15-30, Rafa goes on to hold to start the match.

More fluff in the scruff today. They need to work on their towel fluff in Paris.

Tommy holds.

At 30-0 on his next service game, Rafa steps in to hit an aggressive forehand and…nets it. Then Tommy tees off on a service return and it’s 30-30. Rafa holds: 2-1.

That’s two attempts to step in and hit an aggressive forehand…and two netted balls. Oh, but that was good one: 15-15. Now that? Was a backhand down the line. Oye, way to force a forehand way wide. Tommy saves a break point with a fierce shot. Beautiful wide serve followed up with a sharp volley to the other side of the court gets Tommy a game point. He holds.

Nice serve from Rafa. Going wide to pick up a shot, Rafa slips, but manages to catch himself. Tommy’s moving Rafa around well and he has a break point. Second serve. Tommy nets the return: deuce. Rafa sends a shot long: break point. Tommy nets another ball: deuce. Nice approach from Rafa and he has a game point. Ace to hold serve: 3-2.

Tommy holds at love: 3-3.

It’s always so much fun to see Rafa at the net hitting the ball behind his opponent. It makes me happy. Nice easy hold for Rafa.

15-30 on Tommy’s serve – slight opening for Rafa. Two baseliners at the net! Point ends with Rafa smacking a winner past Tommy – break point. Rafa sends a ball long: 30-40. Tommy flings a shot wide and Rafa breaks: 5-3.

Double fault. Another power-swing volley at the net gives Rafa set point. First set to Rafa in 45 minutes: 6-3. 10 winners; 11 unforced errors. Not stellar, but not yesterday either. First serve % is 63 which is much better than yesterday.

Beauty of a forehand down the line from Rafa to get to 30-30 on Tommy’s serve. Sends a forehand barely long to give Tommy a game point. Service winner from Tommy to take the opening game of the second set.

Tommy runs Rafa until Rafa nets a forehand. Tommy sends a return long: 15-15. Ditto: 30-15. I miss a few points…Tommy wrong-foots Rafa for 40-30. Nice serve/forehand combo from Rafa gives him the hold: 1-1.

How the hell did Rafa get to two of those balls???? Vintage stuff from him. Tommy sends a shot long and is down 0-30 on his serve. Rafa nets a ball: 15-30. Tommy works himself back to game point and he holds.

And…I have to go back to work. :(

Okay, wait. In the few minutes it took me to get back to work Tommy broke? WFT!? Rafa’s suddenly down 5-2 in the second set.

Rafa holds; Robredo serving for the set. Three set points for Tommy. Second set to Robredo: 6-3. Third set to decide it.

Horrible, horrible double fault from Rafa to give Tommy the break. He can serve for the match next.

Tommy chokes; Rafa breaks. Rafa holds….and then breaks Tommy. The end.

33 Responses

  1. dutchgirl says:

    My miri, you’re fast!!!

  2. Natalia says:

    yay, I’m so happy!! Rafa won!

    and this post was so fast, good job! :)

  3. marla says:

    At the end of the 3rd, I was swearing that I was not going to watch anymore Rafa matches live – I’ve gone of my blood pressure medicine – but I am sure after these last two days – I will need to refill that script. My kids think I’m going insane, but they are used to that. I just hope he finds that forehand before tomorrow.

  4. dutchgirl says:

    Tsonga will be next… That could be a lot tougher.

  5. CC says:

    Never is easy, no?

    Awesome, awesome, awesome…

  6. An says:

    Right. It was awesome!

    I’m actually quite happy with this one, he played good, Robredo did too but Rafa deffintly executed his plan ( to play more aggresive ) this time!

    And yes:

    ” did his usual refuse to die thing ”

    Again!
    This must be good for the confidence.

  7. mary says:

    Well Tommy can walk away with his head held high. First time ever he has taken Rafa that far in a match. First time he has taken a set off Rafa. He definitely will be picked for the Davis cup. He is soooo consistant, which btw our man seems to have stored away somewhere. You had your game plan on in the 1st set, then woops it went on a holiday for almost the remainder of the match. Thank god you found it again when it counted.
    Is this something we will have to accept from now on, cause it’s like an ugly habit, get rid of it me amigo por favor!
    Oh those fist pumps & no shirt combo had me gasping for air!!! I’ll remember to have a ventilator handy next time. :)
    Again the no sleep was worth it. And yep it’s kids up & off to work again.
    Ciao, have a great day, night, arvo, whereever you are!!! Hasta manana. ;) ;)

    • mary says:

      Oh btw, did anyone realize that Rafa posted a messege in response to his Baeleric isl add on facebook? It just so happened he posted 2 minutes after I sent him a messege. Coincidence? Maybe!

    • Nic says:

      Have a gorgeous day Mary! I will! On my way to work now.

  8. emir says:

    well sure he can still played a lot better than this…..you know i have better feeling abaut the way he played in this match…..I AM SO HAPPY AGAIN…you know what STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN IN LIFE THESE KIND OF MATCHES where he is ON THE BRINK OF LOSING but win in the end will help him end…i am so happy…but you know i can stop thinking abaut maybe i won have LONG LIFE BECAUSE OF RAFA…is it our destiny TO SUFFER rafa fans…

  9. Nic says:

    I’m grinning on my way to work now after watchin the match. I swear, what a heart stopper first thing in the morn! Rafa, you keep doing this to us! I was squealing to my pillow on Rafa’s last service game, so suspenseful. I’m glad he pulled it out in the end. I think he played some pretty good shots and the confidence is coming back. Importantly, his mental strength gets him thru when he needs it the most! So happy to see him celebrate the victory after. And for the shirt change too of course :D
    tsonga’s not gonna be an easy one to squeak thru. Anyone know what his recent form is like? Rafa, please improve even more tomorrow! You can do it! Vamos rafa!

  10. sia says:

    15/17 points at the net!! :) This was much better tennis … from both players (Tommy played really well).
    A good confidence builder. Rafa was so exciting to watch at the end of the match … Vamos!!

  11. rafandready says:

    Isn’t it great to think of us all over the world – some of us getting up early to watch Rafa and now off to work…some of us rushing home from work to watch him and now off to bed.

    And all of us happy! Vamos Rafa!

    • aRafaelite says:

      And some of us unable to watch who love all you guys for keeping us up to speed! Delighted to hear he won this more convincingly, especially now Fer’s out and his fate in the finals rests mainly in the hands of Tsonga (acceptable) or The Sod (no comment)! Vamos Rafa!

  12. Rafangel says:

    Only caught the final set but he seemed way better than yesterday :-D including some flashes of the old Rafa brilliance. It’s like oxygen, that. Still, Tsonga’s on fire, I fear he will eat Rafa tomorrow… (my job, Jo-Wil).

    Off to watch the 1st two sets now. I thought I saw TennisTV offering 24-hour watch-again options for the Beijing matches, but it doesn’t seem to be there for Paris. Does anyone know about this?

    • Ch F says:

      Everybody alive? Ok, just checking ;-) I couldn’t watch this one, but it seems it wasn’t worse than yesterday.

      • Nada H. T says:

        I started to have palpitation !!

        Sometimes I feel RAFA wants us to be on the EDGE !!

        I don’t like the feeling of being on the edge , it is so scary

        I WISH HE WILL BE COMFORTABLE AND AGRESSIVE NEXT MATCH :)

    • Ch F says:

      Sorry Rafangel, I wanted to post this as a general comment but somehow ended up writing a reply to you…Sorry, it’s been a long day ;-)

  13. Dale C. A. says:

    Thank u so much, Miri for that blow by blow account of the match ( and to think u were in between working):-))
    Vamos Rafa!!

  14. mary says:

    Sorry miri but thought I’d share this as I subscribe to zimbio to get these pics quickly.
    http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/0gRBAqpkcBR/ATP+Masters+Series+Paris+Day+Four/Te20_lVOf6m/Rafael+Nadal

  15. mary says:

    Btw, did anyone notice how our man threw, yes threw his racquet at his seat in relief I’m sure!!! Or frustration at almost losing, Again!

  16. Rafafan says:

    OK even my son (12 ) came off the ex box 2 c me cheering! and then he said he didn’t feel well not 2 go 2 school 2mo – OK I did say Rafa may be on about 1-3 (my ex had him 2dy and said he not well and didn’t go 2 school. My ex hates tennis but he will tape it 4 me! thank god). Anyway shall i get my boy 2 school or not? ill or er … not ill coz the way I am feeling about our Rafa! – haven’t seen the order of play yet. But heah lets be honest I am not gonna put my mortgage on it 4 Rafa to win againt Tsonga. Dont u think? I just hope its not a white wash like Cilic, del potro or Tsonga (2 yr ago.)
    Help!! Where the hell is my confidence gone!! Haave u got it???

  17. Rafafan says:

    PS – my son knowss what what in tennis and even he things Tsong gonna win – and he is a novice!!!

  18. Maya says:

    Head to head play between Rafa and Tsonga is 3-1 in favor of Rafa (all on hard courts and at least once this year). Tsonga has run hot and cold all year, the thing is, he reigns in France and as decent as the crowd has been these last few days, I think this is where the rubber meets the road. If Rafa has to battle Tsonga and a nasty crowd that grit may just give way. Anyway…….anythings possible with Rafa!!VAMOS!!!

    • mary says:

      I did see a match yesterday. I’m way tired & can’t at the momento think who was playing but it was definitely a french man & someone else. The crowd jeered & boooood at this player. Thankfully he didn’t take much notice & got on with the game. So I do believe Rafa will have some opposition. This is to be expected, but our man is tough & will take it ok if it happens!!

  19. Rafafan says:

    Yep – anything is possible with our Rafa. I will c how my boy is in the morning – sick/tennis/sick… tennis/ex box! By the way did anyone see the del potro v gonzo match. Gonzo was unbelievable. Couldn’t believe he pulled out in the third. Must have been major as he was fightng for O2. Heeh he is so awesmoe when on song. My favourite after Rafa. But I have to say he is so much more exciting to watch than Rafa sometimes (hate to admit it – but of course not so consistent!)

    • sia says:

      Yep, Rafafan, I saw the match … it’s always fun watching Fernando play (although he doesn’t thrill me the way Rafa does). He really should have won that 2nd set (and the match), but Delpo pulled a Rafa on him and he was in too much pain to continue (bad knee).

  20. MJ says:

    Thanks for all of the great pictures and info about the match…Miri, I lved reading your tweets throughout the match.

    Rafangel, I think that the 24hr matches will be on tennistv for the London Finals…

    Vamos Rafa…It is really fun following these matches with all of you!!

  21. Atch2 says:

    Much better play. Happy he improved from yesterday’s match. Luv seeing him at the net too. Sparks of vintage Rafa are returning, little by little.

    Rafa did a lot of staring at ball marks didn’t he?

    Tsonga took about 54min to beat Simon, but didn’t play his later doubles match bec of a wrist injury. Wonder what that’s about. We’ll see how the crowd reacts to Rafa playing a Frenchman.

    Nando lost to Cilic, so Rafa is the only Spaniard left in the singles.

  22. faeaki7 says:

    Watched this match on the edge after yesterdays performance, I was shouting “you can’t lose to Tommy, you can’t comon Rafa damn it Comon get your act together” like a lunatic, my kids thought I was possessed! 2 more weeks to go till I go to the O2, and if he plays like this, I am gonna lose it for sure! he is just killing me of late, today I gotta go to night school, and I just know tsonga is gonna be ruthless and really take it to Rafa, this is so tough, but on a plus side its nice that he used once again his superior mental strength to find his way through, he needs some serious make over in the off season thats for sure.