Tight

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

For his first round robin match in this year’s WTF, Rafa took on Robin Soderling. Yes, the guy who beat Rafa in the French Open, but that was so a few months ago, right? And that was the only match Soderling had taken off of Rafa in their 4 prior meetings. This was their first time to meet on a hard court – a surface that favors Soderling. At first, it looked like Soderling was going to blow Rafa off the court, but it ended up being a tight match in few ways. Rafa played tight in a few points that made a huge difference. He loses: 4-6, 4-6.

Stats:

Nadal Soderling
Statistics on Serve
Aces 5 5
Double Faults 1 2
1st Serve % 59% 54%
1st Serve Points Won 21/34 (62%) 27/37 (73%)
2nd Serve Points Won 13/24 (54%) 17/32 (53%)
Break Points Saved 3/7 (43%) 2/4 (50%)
Service Games Played 10 10
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 10/37 (27%) 13/34 (38%)
Second Return Points Won 15/32 (27%) 11/24 (46%)
Break Points Won 2/4 (50%) 4/7 (57%)
Return Games Played 10 10
Statistics on Points
Winners 18 23
Unforced errors 24 27
Net Approaches 2/3 (67%) 10/18 (56%)
Total Service Points Won 34/58 (59%) 44/69 (64%)
Total Return Points Won 25/69 (36%) 24/58 (41%)
Total Points Won 59/127 (46%) 68/127 (54%)

As it happened blatherings:

Not a full set of blathering today since I’m at work and mainly just listening to the action. I might not get to see the end of the match either. :(

Back to The Clash for the intro music. Yay!

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

Oh, and now we’ve gone to U2 over the PA. I still approve.

Soderling holds and then breaks to go up 2-0.

Rafa breaks! Back on serve: 2-3. First Vamos! of the match.

Rafa aces and holds at love.

Soderling holds.

@RD_Tennistalk: Soderling won 12 of the first 14 points. Nadal won 12 of the next 15.

@TennisConnected: I’m thinking I really enjoyed Nadal hitting an aggressive return of serve.

Rafa goes down 0-30 when serving at 3-4. He works his way back into the game and holds for 4-4.

Soderling holds; Rafa serving to stay in the set.

At 40-30, Rafa should have challenged a service call. It was called long, but was in. He loses the point and it’s deuce. He then nets a ball and Soderling has break point. Second serve. Crap. Soderling breaks and takes the first set: 6-4.

I take it back. I don’t mind if this match goes beyond 4:15 London time now.

Soderling holds to start set two. Rafa holds at love. 1-1.

@Ataraxis00: The other two singles matches have gone 3 sets. Why shouldn’t this one. Shouldn’t be a shocker just because it’s Rafa.

Second double fault by Soderling in this game gives Rafa a break point. Second serve. Rafa breaks!

Rafa starts the next game by tracking down balls most people couldn’t, but he still loses the point. He gets behind 0-30 on his serve. Soderling takes control of a point and has triple break point. Soderling nets a ball. Second serve. Soderling sends a shot long. A shot of Rafa’s is called in…Soderling challenges. The shot is out and the game is Soderling’s. He breaks. That’s how and when you challenge, Rafa.

Rafa takes forever to decide if he wants to challenge an out call. He challenges and loses. Deuce on Soderling’s serve. Game point Soderling, but he sends a shot long: Deuce two. Second serve. Rafa sends a shot out. Excellent passing shot attempt draws a poor volley and we are at deuce again. Deep shot from Soderling that Rafa can’t get back. Game point, Soderling. Soderling stiff arms a forehand – deuce. Second serve. Rafa nets a return. No one can put two points together. Longest game of the match so far. Deuce again. Excellent serve – game point. Second serve. Decent return and Soderling sends a shot long. Bad approach and an excellent pass; Rafa has break point. But he follows that with a long forehand return: deuce again. Game point Soderling. Second serve. Soderling holds for 3-2.

Rafa holds at love. Soderling holds.

Rafa serving at 3-4. Rafa nets a ball: 0-15. He takes the next two points, but then sends a shot long. He challenges, but the call is correct: 30-30. Serve out wide, volley to the other side of the court. Nice: 40-30. Rafa holds.

Rafa barely gets his racket on an angled ball and somehow pulls off a cross-court passing shot winner. Good length from Soderling, however, gives him the next point: 30-15. Soderling sends a shot long: 30-30. Short high return from Rafa and Soderling pummels it: 40-30. Down the line winner from Rafa: deuce. Another defensive return from Rafa allows Soderling to boss the point: game point. Rafa sends a shot long and Soderling holds. Again, Rafa will have to serve to stay in the set/match.

Seriously. I don’t need the match to end in 15 minutes anymore. Keep playing. I’ll be okay with that.

Soderling nets a return: 15-0. Second serve. Amazing return from Soderling and he bosses the point: 15-15. Second serve. Soderling sends a shot long: 30-15. Second serve. Rafa sends a shot long: 30-30. Second serve. Soderling nets a ball: 40-30. Second serve. Rafa sends a shot long: deuce. Rafa sends a ball WAY wide – match point for Soderling. Match point saved – barely. Excellent shot from Soderling: match point #2. Rafa sends a shot long and Soderling wins.

120 Responses

  1. elyo says:

    xta where this longetivity talk begins again because he lost to soderling give it a rest people…..

    • xta says:

      give your thoughts a rest…
      it has nothing to do with the loss today — i had this thought this morning watching the doubles before rafa’s match…i said i’d look forward to rafa playing doubles after he finishes with singles — whenever that is…my thoughts on rafa are entirely positive…always — no matter his tennis results…

  2. shani h says:

    Shame for Rafa today…although I’m glad that the British fans gave him a huge cheer…we so missed him in the Summer. I just hate it when he loses to the Sod.

    You can see Rafa’s confidence is not sky high and especially on Hard Courts..his least favourite surface. It’s going to take a while for him to be back to his best and he must feel frustrated with his own game.

    However we will keep the faith with him..he is the best and we all love him…win or lose.

  3. Rafangel says:

    Great to hear he played better – improvement is what it’s all about, right, you keep improving and eventually you’ll get there? C’mon Rafa!! Bit unnerved by Miri’s account of the final game of the 2nd set especially though – sounds like he tightened up and made errors when usually his game’d lift. I hope he finds a way back with that confidence soon – and I hope WTF doesn’t leave him feeling unconfident going into next year. Still, he’s his ever-lovely self and his ever-brilliant one. Shine on, beautiful, we love ya.

  4. Rafangel says:

    Miri – how was your day? OK I hope.

  5. Rafangel says:

    I’m sorry :(

  6. Sofia says:

    Listening to Someday by Rob Thomas makes me feel better. Maybe someday Rafa will figure all this out,and he’ll be better off somehow, someday.

  7. Rafafan says:

    MmI was looking at all your positive thoughts of Rafa. Watched the match at the 02 and couldn’t really get into the atmosphere. I guess therthere were a lot of people subdued at the end like me. I wouldl have put money for him to have got a set or have the mental toughness to keep in the fight but seemed to make errors at the worse possible time. lifted me with your comments when I got home while i was in and out watching the Novak Davy match. That was a cracker. Was OK until I saw the leader board and they said about Rafa being bottom of the group and by the way he was playing not likely to come out of the group. Made me really upset and also them saying he was clinging by a thread and looks like Novak could b a real possibility of oveertaking him for n0 2. Not in anyway that Rafa still may have an outside chance of gaining no1! Oh God can it get any worse.. I mean if he can’t beat the sod how the hell can he beat Djok and Davy which he has to now and I think in two sets both.

    Loved the white shorts but not nearer enough to the court to see “inside the c through shorts”. I have the match taped so I will watch all the scrummy close ups of our lovely Rafa. Vamos and lets hope for Wed – I think he is up against Davy “the two losers” who need a win. Aggressive, positive Rafa with no unforced errors please and you can still do it. We believe in you always xxxx

  8. Izzy says:

    You know what, I am a huge Rafa fan and I am glad he lost!
    SO that he can learn that he will continue to lose until he gets it through his head that he needs to acquire another weapon and that is a flattened forehand.
    He will not be able to beat any of these flat hard hitters on hard courts if he doesnt learn to do this.

    But something tells me that he will unleash this and his new racket at the AUstralian Open.

  9. nadaal says:

    Rafa 2008 till before ronald garros , isn’t Rafa now…..i’ve seen all his matches , im a big fan of him , but he’s still not at his top like he used to be …he was a beast in the court no 1 could match him , but after the injury :( everything changed either he wins hardly or ends up losing , he cant beat any of the top 10 after the injury and he loses to them easily , well i wish everything changes in 2010 and that we could see a beast again in the court….oh yea Rafa didnt have alot of unforced errors before the injury..now he does ALOT errors…:(