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.
|Statistics on Serve|
|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|
|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.
@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.