WTF? Done & dusted

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Rafa was a dead man walking today in London – he had no chance of making the WTF semis. The match wasn’t totally without consequences, though: Djokovic needed to win in order to have a chance to make the semis and Rafa needed to protect his #2 ranking. The first set went to a tiebreaker with neither contestant playing that well. Rafa’s back stiffened up in the second set and a massage couldn’t keep him from being broken in the 4th game. It felt rather inevitable after that. Nole wins: 6-7(5), 3-6.

Stats:

Nadal Djokovic
Statistics on Serve
Aces 4 2
Double Faults 1 3
1st Serve % 77% 51%
1st Serve Points Won 33/55 (60%) 29/37 (78%)
2nd Serve Points Won 8/16 (50%) 19/36 (53%)
Break Points Saved 2/5 (40%) 4/6 (67%)
Service Games Played 10 11
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 8/37 (22%) 22/55 (40%)
Second Return Points Won 17/36 (22%) 8/16 (50%)
Break Points Won 2/6 (33%) 3/5 (60%)
Return Games Played 11 10
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 41/71 (58%) 48/73 (66%)
Total Return Points Won 25/73 (34%) 30/71 (42%)
Total Points Won 66/144 (46%) 78/144 (54%)
Other Stats
Winners 12 21
Unforced errors 35 37
Net Approaches 5/12 (42%) 17/21 (81%)

As it happened blatherings:

At work – yeah, the day after Thanksgiving *sigh*.

Rafa forgot the mascot – awww…poor kid. He does eventually notice him and give him a pat on the head.

Rafa won the toss and elects to serve. Shocking!

Blistering forehand winner from Djokovic to earn a break point. Rafa nets a ball and is broken.

Sloppy service game for Nole and he goes down triple break point. He saves one with a nice, crisp volley at the net. Another with an ace. Nole nets a ball and is broken.

Rafa double faults to give Nole another break.

Koenig reads a stat about how Rafa’s ground-stroke speed has dropped significantly since last year’s AO.

Break point for Rafa and a second serve from Nole, but Rafa’s return is well wide and it’s deuce. Beauty of a drop and lob follow-up takes Nole to game point. Rafa tries to be aggressive with a forehand down the line, but sends it just wide. Nole holds. 1-3

Pushed to deuce twice, but Rafa manages to hold: 2-3.

Stress-free hold for Rafa – he holds with his first ground stroke winner of the match.

Nole can’t seem to get a first serve in and he double faults to give Rafa a break point. Nole nets a ball and he’s broken. We are back on serve: 4-4.

Oooo! Nice backhand down the line winner from Rafa. He follows that with a service winner. Rafa holds. Nole to serve to stay in the set.

Rafa sticks close to the baseline for a change, bosses the point and ends up a winner. Nole holds for 5-5.

Nice and easy hold for Rafa: 6-5. Nole to serve to force a tiebreaker.

Nole holds. Tiebreak time.

One of Rafa’s shots is called long, but he wins on a challenge and they replay the point. He could have had a mini-break – instead it’s 1-1. Rafa totally flubs a shot and sends it way wide – mini-break to Nole. A very long rally with both players making good shots ends with an unforced error from Rafa…and I let out a sound that frightens my co-workers. Massive forehand winner from Nole: 2-5. Nole runs Rafa up and back and Rafa ends the point by netting a ball: 2-6. Nole sends a ball barely wide: 3-6. Another goes long: 4-6. Nole nets a drop shot: 5-6. Rafa sends an easy shot wide and Nole takes the set.

Rafa at least seems to be going for a bit more and not being 100% passive. He’s just making too many errors for that to work for him right now. 7 winners/ 20 UFEs from Rafa that set.

Nole holds to start set 2. Rafa holds: 1-1.

Whoever is sitting next to Uncle Toni is a gabber.

Easy hold for Nole: 1-2.

Rafa on the ground not looking happy. Trainer is working on his lower back.

Okay, Rafa’s back up and ready to serve. Shot out wide to Nole’s forehand followed by a angled volley out wide to the backhand – beautiful. But Nole breaks.

Nole holds and leads 4-1.

Pushed to a break point, Rafa manages to hold for 2-4.

Nole holds. Rafa will serve to stay in the match.

Rafa holds: 3-5. Nole to serve for the match.

Down 0-30, Nole serves an ace, but it’s overruled on a challenge from Rafa. Rafa blows the second serve return and it’s 15-30. Nole hits a drop shot that ticks the top of the net, but manages to go over: 30-30. Second serve. Good length from Nole draws an error from Rafa: match point. Second serve. Massive backhand winner down the line from Rafa: deuce. Excellent serve from Nole: match point #2. Second serve. A series of fierce forehands from Rafa draws an error from Nole: deuce. Why does he only play this aggressive when it’s do or die? Nole sends a shot wide and Rafa has a break point. Beauty of a shot down the line – held to the last second – saves the break point. Rafa sends a return flying: match point #3. Nole wins.

118 Responses

  1. Alison says:

    I was at the O2 yesterday for the match and was positively amazed at the amount of overwhelming love the crowd there openly displayed for Rafa. It was fantastic…they were constantly cheering and really willing him on at every point. I was proud to be a Rafa fan. He seemed to be trying hard to place his shots effectively but amongst other things the net god was certainly not his friend that day. It just seemed to me that his timing is a little off, which is quite understandable as he recovers from his injuries and once he can get back to a proper practise routine I’m sure we’ll see the genius play return.
    I was also sitting close to his camp and they were very up beat and relaxed about the whole match…laughing, joking and pulling faces at Rafa throughout. At one point Rafa was waving his racquet playfully at Toni because some girls were asking Toni to sign something for them. I too was concerned when the trainer was called on and it was obvious Rafa was in some pain with his back but he also began to laugh hysterically at some comment a member of his camp had shouted across to him while he was still on the floor. I also enjoyed the Rafatum time we got when he got up ..yum!
    So I came away yesterday with a very positive feeling about Rafa and the future..I am convinced his troubles are only temporary and we just need to be patient and wait a little longer for him to recover. Can’t wait to see him play another match ….tennis needs him so much..what a star! Love you Rafa.

    • Stf says:

      I was there as well and I agree on every single thing you said. I was very proud to be a Rafa fan, it was amazing how much support he had from the crowd. I thought I would be very upset if he lost but no, I wasn’t, not at all. I realised that he’s my hero because he’s such a fighter and he’s just such an inspiration. And I’m confident that he will be back and he’ll be better than never. Don’t give up, he’s always been a fighter, I’m absolutely certain that he will find his game, probably when he plays more on clay court. He’ll make us all proud again soon. :)

    • sia says:

      Thanks Alison, what a great post … I thought I saw him laughing when he was face down on the court. Seems like he is in a positive place. Congrats on seeing Rafa live.

    • fae7 says:

      Yep I was there too, he’s camp certainly did seem relaxed, after all for him to come to London on an indoor hard court against the top 8 and do well was a long shot, we always expect so much from him. the atmosphere was awsome though, I had tickets for the whole day to assure that I got to see at least a good match and since I had tickets since March I consider myself lucky to have gotten to see Rafa live! I also watched him practice before the match and sneaked up to the O2 for the 2.00 practice session on the Thursday! it was the highlight of my year, he is a star indeed and its great I can share my enthusiasm for this wonderful athelete on here, and yes the tennis world needs his tennis and his charisma! Vamos Rafa indeed!