Rafa greeted the 2010 season by playing David Ferrer in the second round of a high dollar exhibition match in Abu Dhabi today. While his tennis wasn’t the best we’ve seen from him, it was a huge improvement over the WTF. He was hitting the ball harder, deeper and more consistently. Ferrer played a good first set, but couldn’t pull it out despite having 5 break points. The second set was more one-sided as Rafa broke early and rolled on through. He wins 7-6(3), 6-3.
As it happened blatherings:
*yawn* Dang. It’s early. Got up at 5am and watched the Fed/Sod match.
Rafa and Ferrer warming up. Commentators talking about Rafa’s strings – saying that perhaps he’s changed them.
george_mccauley: @nadalnews. He has. To black strings
But are they just painted or a true change?
george_mccauley: @nadalnews. A change. Perhaps less spin to adopt flatter shots
Rafa’s making his grumpy face.
Ferrer starts the match by serving an ace. Rafa paints a line to keep Ferrer from holding at love. Easy hold for Ferrer.
Rafa sails a ball long: 0-15. He slips on the next point, but recovers and smacks a forehand winner from the doubles alley. Rafa into the net and Ferrer sends the ball into it: 30-15. Ferrer sails a ball: 40-15. Stress-free hold from Rafa. He seems to be hitting with more pace than he was in London.
Angled shots until Ferrer nets the ball: 0-15. Good length from Ferrer draws an error: 15-15. Rafa nets a ball after being pushed back: 30-15. Ferrer running Rafa well. Decent return from Rafa and Ferrer sends his ball wide: 40-30. Longest rally yet ends in an error from Ferrer: 40-40. Ace. Ferrer holds. They remain on serve: 1-2.
Ferrer nets a return: 15-0. Rafa sends a forehand down the line just wide: 15-15. Another forehand goes wide and it’s 15-30. Wow – that was a fierce return from Ferrer to give him double break point. Ferrer sends a shot long and one bp is saved. Rafa saves another with a good serve out wide followed with a forehand in the opposite direction. Good serve: game point, Rafa. Ferrer hits a wonderful passing shot and it’s deuce. A fierce backhand winner gives Ferrer his 3rd break point of the game. Excellent serve down the line from Rafa: deuce. Ferrer sends a backhand return way wide: adv Rafa. Rafa challenges a fault call on a serve and is correct. Rafa holds.
Twitter seems to hate me at the moment.
Ferrer moves Rafa around until he draws an error: 15-0. Rafa nets a passing shot: 30-0. Ferrer is taking the ball early. Rafa is bent over and breathing heavy. Hmmm. Rafa totally flubs a shot and Ferrer holds at love.
Rafa hit a bit of a sitter volley, but Ferrer can’t quite get to it in time to do anything with it: 15-0. Ferrer nets a forehand: 30-0. And then a backhand: 40-0. Rafa holds at love: 3-3.
Rafa tees off on a second serve return and sends the ball way out. Smash winner from Rafa: 15-15. Beautiful angled cross-court shot from Ferrer pulls Rafa way wide and Ferrer just punches the high return into the other side of the court. An ace from Ferrer closes out the game.
Rafa into the net again: 15-15. Double fault: 15-30. Rafa moves Ferrer from side to side and goes into the net when he’s stretched Ferrer wide: 30-30. Ferrer sends a shot way wide and lets out a bellow of frustration. Rafa holds: 4-4.
Rafa nets a ball: 0-15. I get distracted by a bright, shiny object and Ferrer holds at love.
Rafa runs Ferrer well: 15-0. Rafa sends a shot long: 15-15. And then nets a ball: 15-30. Second serve. Rafa nets another ball and Ferrer has two set points. Good serve out wide and the return is just long: 30-40. Second serve. Rafa paints a line and Ferrer nets the reply: deuce. Drop shot to the left, next shot down the line on the right side of the court: game point. Service winner and Rafa holds.
Rafa’s saved 5 break points. Ferrer hasn’t faced a bp yet.
Rafa goes up 15-0 on Ferrer’s serve, but miss hits a shot wide and it’s 15-15. Nice serve and follow-up from Ferrer: 30-15. Ferrer jumps and taps a winner at the net: 40-15. Service winner and Ferrer holds easily. Rafa will serve to stay in the set.
Rafa frames a ball and goes down 0-15. At the net, Rafa digs out a low return, but David tees off on the passer: 0-30. Service winner: 15-30. A long rally ends with a fierce forehand winner from Rafa: 30-30. Another bellow of frustration from Ferrer and it’s 40-30. Ace. We are going to a tiebreaker.
Ferrer nets a ball and Rafa gets a mini-break. Ferrer sends a forehand just wide: 2-0. Service winner from Rafa: 3-0. Rafa sends a second serve return sailing: 3-1. Double fault, Ferrer: 4-1. Ferrer sends a service return just long: 5-1. Service winner and Rafa has 5 set points. Ace from Ferrer: 6-2. Rafa hits a service return just wide: 6-3. First set to Rafa: 7-6 (3).
Once again, Rafa manages to win a set despite struggling a bit on serve while the other guy was cruising on his.
Rafa starts off the second set with a good serve and a forehand winner from mid-court. Service winner. Rafa holds at love.
Ferrer double faults. Deep shot draws an error from Rafa: 15-15. Rafa pushes David wide and runs into the net. Ferrer’s return sits up, but he still manages to run down Rafa’s next shot. Rafa finally finishes off the point with a mini-smash. Fierce forehand winner from Rafa earns him double break point. Service winner from Ferrer. Ferrer moves Rafa from side to side, but then nets a ball. Rafa breaks to go up 2-0.
Stress-free hold for Rafa: 3-0.
Rafa’s mom and Xisca in the crowd. The announcer saying he can’t recall mom coming to a tournament. He’s not very observant. He’s also wondering if Xisca is his sister.
Kalliopeia: do these commentators on this stream ever actually watch Rafa’s matches?
Kalliopeia: how can they not know that is his mother? How could they think Xisca is his sister?
Kalliopeia: I wonder what Rafa would think if they asked if she was his sister? Haha
Kalliopeia: “I hope not, no?”
Oh. Ferrer held while I was distracted. 3-1
Rafa’s down 15-30 on his serve. Ferrer sets the point up just how he wants it, but nets a forehand down the line: 30-30. Rafa holds with an ace: 4-1.
Twitter hates me again.
Rafa had a chance to earn another break point, but hits a bad shot…and starts talking to himself. Ferrer works his way into the net and smashes a winner. He goes on to hold: 4-2.
Beautiful forehand down the line winner from Rafa gives him game point. He nets a backhand. Ace. 5-2.
Fierce backhand winner from Ferrer and he holds: 5-3. Rafa has a chance to serve for the match.
Ferrer plays aggressively – taking the ball early – and wins the first point of Rafa’s service game. Wide serve, next shot to the other side of the court and then a volley back to the other side. Well constructed: 15-15. Ferrer nets the ball and almost smashes his racket in frustration: 30-15. On the run, Ferrer sends a ball just wide: match point, Rafa.