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.
|Statistics on Serve|
|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%)|
|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.