Rafa met world #3 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters. These guys have had some tight matches this year and we were all hoping for another exciting one today. It started out looking like it was going that way, then cyborg Nole showed up and wiped the court with Rafa. It’s not like Rafa was playing bad; Nole was on fire. He was seeing the ball well and anticipating all Rafa’s shots. Rafa’s Paris tournament is over as he loses: 2-6, 3-6. Onward to London.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||66%||58%|
|1st Serve Points Won||14/25 (56%)||24/29 (83%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||6/13 (46%)||13/21 (62%)|
|Break Points Saved||0/3 (0%)||0/0 (%)|
|Service Games Played||8||9|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||5/29 (17%)||11/25 (44%)|
|Second Return Points Won||8/21 (17%)||7/13 (54%)|
|Break Points Won||0/0 (%)||3/3 (100%)|
|Return Games Played||9||8|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||20/38 (53%)||37/50 (74%)|
|Total Return Points Won||13/50 (26%)||18/38 (47%)|
|Total Points Won||33/88 (38%)||55/88 (63%)|
|Net Approaches||3/5 (60%)||11/18 (61%)|
As it happened blatherings:
Okay, I’m awake. Really I am.
Nole in the hallway waiting on an ever late Rafa.
Mo’s in the chair!
Rafa won the toss and will receive.
Nole does a dropper on the very first point…followed by a lob and a tweener from Rafa. It’s going to be one of those days! Beautiful backhand cross-court pass from Rafa! Double fault from Nole: 15-30. Uh, tennis gods? Why does my picture keep going black? Mo overrules a call that’s just in…Rafa looks at him like, dude! First game to Nole.
Rafa playing closer to the baseline that Nole – ahhh. Nole pulls Rafa into the net with a drop shot and then lives to regret it: 30-15. I’m so glad I’m not dependent on livescores today because according to it the match hasn’t started yet. Rafa holds.
Koenig warmed Rafa up? Why does that crack me up?
Blistering cross-court backhand from Nole! 30-15 Stress-free hold for Nole. 1-2 on serve.
Rafa works his way into the net and blocks a nice volley for a winner: 15-15. Two aces and an easy hold for Rafa: 2-2.
Wide serve, deep serve from Nole followed by a hard, deep shot to the other corner: 15-0. Weak second serve return from Rafa. Double fault from Nole. Ace.
Nole wins the first two points on Rafa’s next serve. Second serve. Double fault: 0-40. Nole only needs one as he breaks to go up 4-2.
Rafa sends a shot just wide. Serve and volley from Nole: 30-0. Rafa flings a return almost into the stands. Nole holds at love. Rafa to serve to stay in the set.
Nole totally dictating play. Serve goes way wide. Pushed far wide, Rafa nets a cross-court passing shot attempt. Triple set point for Nole. First set to Nole in just 32 minutes: 6-2.
Drop shot from Nole. Rafa tracks it down and hits it down the line for a winner: deuce. Way to hit the ball right back to him, Rafa. Game point, Nole. He holds to start set 2.
Second serve. Rafa nets an easy looking ball. Second serve. Nole tees off on the return and bosses the point until he hits a winner: 0-30. Second serve. Rafa almost on his knees trying to hit one ball. Triple break point. Nole breaks at love. He’s won 23 of the last 29 points.
Longish rally ends with Nole netting a ball. Rafa sends a return long: 15-15. Another long ball from Rafa and it’s 30-15. Blistering forehand from Nole: 40-15. Another and Nole holds. He’s up 3-0.
Nole continues to fire at will: 0-15. Nole misses 2 returns in a row: 30-30. Second serve. Nole shanks a ball into the stands: 40-30. Rafa holds; praise be.
Double fault from Nole: 15-15. Again, he moves Rafa all around the court: 30-15. Another double fault: 30-30. Longish rally ends with Rafa pushed deep and wide and firing a defensive shot long: 40-30. Sadly, the double faults were the only points Rafa won in the game. Nole holds for 4-1.
Double fault. Rafa into the net and guesses right on the passing shot – blocks back a nice drop volley winner: 15-15. Nole into the net this time and he knocks off an angled cross-court volley that Rafa can’t track down: 30-30. Nole sends one ball into the net and one long. Rafa holds for 2-4.
Nole sends a shot just wide: 15-15. Nicely placed forehand winner for Rafa: 15-30. Second serve. Nole drop shot, down the line return, winning cross-court passing shot from Nole: 30-30. Nole turned his ankle a bit in that last point. Ace. Nole sends a smash just long – or did he. He challenges the call and it’s good. He holds for 5-2. Rafa to serve to stay in the match.
Rafa’s only made 7 unforced errors and yet is still being dominated.
Nole drop shots; Rafa hits a cross-court winner. Second serve. Nole nets a ball: 30-0. Ace. Second serve. Nole sends Rafa left then right and then nets an attempted drop shot: Rafa holds.
Rafa gets a new racket out of his bag for a game he must win?
Nole barely manages to track down a passing shot for a winner. Rafa sends a shot long. Down the line passing shot from Rafa: 30-15. Rafa nets a return: double match point for Nole. Second serve. Nole wins: 6-2, 6-3.