Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am

Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/ AFP/ Getty Images

In what looked more like a first round match up than a quarterfinal, Rafa played qualifier and #122 Steve Darcis in Doha today. I didn’t get to see the match and, even if I did, it would probably be difficult to gauge Rafa’s level of play given the opponent, but the score suggests a slaughter. It took less than 30 minutes for Rafa to take the first set 6-1. Darcis retired early in the second set. Rafa is through to the semis where he’ll meet Troicki: 6-1, 2-0 R.


Nadal Darcis
Statistics on Serve
Aces 2 3
Double Faults 0 2
1st Serve % 63% 67%
1st Serve Points Won 11/12 (92%) 8/22 (36%)
2nd Serve Points Won 5/7 (71%) 5/11 (45%)
Break Points Saved 0/0 (%) 2/6 (33%)
Service Games Played 5 4
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 14/22 (64%) 1/12 (8%)
Second Return Points Won 6/11 (64%) 2/7 (29%)
Break Points Won 4/6 (67%) 0/0 (%)
Return Games Played 4 5
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 16/19 (84%) 13/33 (39%)
Total Return Points Won 20/33 (61%) 3/19 (16%)
Total Points Won 36/52 (69%) 16/52 (31%)

20 Responses

  1. emir says:

    darcis retired because he didnt want to lose 60 61 not because if injury or something,ecen commentators joked abaut the issue…

  2. Phyzzie says:

    Miri, I “saw” the match. The streaming was terrible and the language may have been Eastern European – but Darcis was definitely ailing and holding his stomach. He looked very apologetic to Rafa but a W is a W. Rafa did look good as far as I could see. I am also getting used to the orange!!

    • CC says:

      Yeah, Mr Darcis was stretching his side/back already at warm up, not looking like he was feeling too good physically throughout. :(

  3. CC says:

    Indeed very difficult to get any feel for Rafa’s play, as it was only a quickie! A couple of loose shots, but some great ones too. Felt a bit for Mr Darcis.

    Apart from that lots of other action, like Marc! entertaining us with the most dorky dance I have EVAH seen (making Roig and Maymo laugh embarrassingly). Oh, and Rafa just being Rafa of course, lots of OCD today with racquet bag, towel being the correcto way up on his lap (ie not with wash labe facing upwards, muy importante, no?) etc. etc. So adorkable it makes me die… :D

  4. faeaki7 says:

    Well Rafa looked okay, he didn’t have to do much actually, a few sloppy mistakes in the 5th and 6th game of the 2nd set, its understandable to lose focus when your opponent is putting up zilch resistance, he didn’t look happy about his mistakes though! also the after court interview he seemed a bit agitated like “do I have to go through this crap again?”face , its hard to tell where his level is when his opponents are well belove his level, tommorow should be a match much more competative with Troicki I feel.

  5. Emma R says:

    Yeah it was a massacre. I do have a good feel about him though, think body language is more positive and all about perfectionism on his shots.

    Troicki should be a good match unless he is knackered after today. That was great to watch.

  6. Atch2 says:

    My streaming suxed big time.

    Shame Rafa couldn’t have more time on court. Feel bad for Darcis and other lower ranked players like him. They have to play Challengers and Qualifiers, and each match doesn’t pay that much. And if he was in pain from the start, playing against Rafa’s game would’ve made it worst. Goodluck to him in the AO Qualies.

    Was there any head-in-hands or unbent-legs during changeovers today?

    Hope the match with Troicki will be more challenging for Rafa.

    • aRafaelite says:

      Didn’t notice anything much in the changeovers (apart from the gratuitous shirt change and towelling off at the end of the match – not quite Safin-esque, but not quite as modest as usual)!

      • CC says:

        The towel rub was adorkable as well, he struggled a bit with the back, no? So sweet. Need help next time, Rafa…? ;)

  7. aRafaelite says:

    I found a decent stream eventually (thanks to the fellow fan who tipped me off but swore me to secrecy :) with the entertaining Robbie “I luv Rafa” commentating, and it was virtually an annhilation. Playing aggressive, lots of short points, only a handful of errors, not too grumpy, and altogether very clinical. All over a bit too quickly and easily given that I stayed up so late (it’s now 2:30am in Oz) to watch it!

    Very encouraging, despite the sudden retirement. I couldn’t figure out what was going on – at first I thought Darcis was challenging a line call when he approached the umpire. Rafa looked puzzled too. Goodall & Koenig joked that Darcis was probably retiring with sore bottom rather than a back injury after the spanking he’d just been given. He should have watched his compatriots earlier – Clijsters and Henin both made extraordinary comebacks after being nearly annhiliated in their matches in Brisbane today.

  8. Ch F says:

    I saw the match too. I agree we can’t tell what Rafa’s level is, but only compared to the big guys. It is certainly an improvement from the epic matches against average opponents. Some months ago we were here rambling about Rafa’s not so great game against average players who took him to third sets or gave him a much harder time than they should have. At least that part seems to be water under the bridge now. So I’m happy for not watching Almagro type matches anymore (not that Almagro is a bad player but you know what I mean).
    As for his mood, he seemed eager to get the job done fast. The legs were bent all the time during changeovers. I only thought his expression was kind of strange at some point, but I think it was just me being oversensitive because of our chat here yesterday. The commentators went on and on about his solid tennis and great depth and no one seemed to be picking up any kind of physical stress.
    It seemed like he was taking advantage of his comfortable lead to try new things. A bit like practising during the match.

    • Emma R says:

      You’ve managed to say there what I was thinking but hadn’t put into words. Last year end he was totally playing the epics against the lower ranked players, and just getting blown off court by the top ten. Now my feeling is he is going back to the Rafa of old with the wallopings of the lower echelons….let’s just hope he fulfills the other half of this theory and takes on the top guys as well as he did Robin.

      I guess this is just finding his way back to form. I was a serious doubter last year, and got into some right tizzies. My New Year’s res is to stop it. Got really cross with myself on Sat as found self thinking Robin would take Rafa out in 2 sets on a hard court – totally proved wrong, so positivity from now on. Yay.

      • Ch F says:

        Everyone doubted a bit, even Rafa himself!! And even if, I say if, he doesn’t make it past a top 5 player now, well it will be for next time. I’m so relieved his focus and mental strength seem to be back for good that I only wish for him to be healthy and keep up the good job of constantly progressing. The rest will hopefully follow!

  9. An says:

    Yay! Good to hear all looked well!

    We probablly did worried for nothing indeed yesterday. If there was something i’m sure Maymo worked his magic;)

  10. shanih says:

    Think Rafa is finding his old level this week…much more positive in body movement and he seems to be finding the length and depth on his shots. Hasn’t been tested too much this week and today wasn’t a match at all!!!

    Should be much more competitive against Troicki tomorrow and Feds will have to raise his level as well…Gulbis gave him all sorts of problems today and just couldn’t finish it off…he’s a tricky so and so to play!

    I like the shirt…the bright colours suit him and I do like white shorts…hope the plaid ones don’t come back for Melbourne!!!

  11. Rafafan says:

    I was so looking forward to seeing the match when I came in fighting the snow (my ex taped it) and when I was comfortable only to see Trokic win in a bit of a cliff hanger. Just I was ready to see our Rafa – they bloody turned it over to Euro sport 2. Of course the ex hand’t a clue, but what I gather I didn’t miss much.

    Anyway don’t really know what happened with Rafa’s warm up last year but heah we can read ANYTHING in this – only Rafa knows and to be honest all I worry is his head in his hands and the knee flexing from the whole of the expo tourney so far! Lets hope Davy v Fed gives a good match tomorrow (I do have to say I reckon Davy will win a grand slam – he does look (well not look, but tennis wise awesome!)

  12. mary says:

    I think Rafa is playing way better. As he has stated he is experiencing “good sensations” & I’m not even there (CC?).
    He is feeling more confident in the way he is playing. With the combination of his win at DC, his win over Soderling (major) & his new strings giving him what he needs for his first serve he has found his balance. Hopefully by the AO, he will come out guns blazing.
    One concerning note though, his first serves only 63%. Maybe as the match was sooooooooo easy for him he started to experiment on his serves. Hope so cause he is coming up against a much tougher opponent in troicki

    • Stf says:

      I’m happy with the fact that his winners are back. He does need to reduce his unforced errors but at least something seems to be changing. I remember at the WTF and before, his winners were hardly over 10 in the entire match. Yesterday, during the first set, he hit 17 winners I think, which is an awesome number for a set that went by so quickly. At least all his shots are much deeper and he hits more difficult angles. And I’m pretty sure he will improve his serve, he’s already giving his opponents a hard time with it.

  13. George McCauley says:

    we didnt really get to see how well rafa was playing in this match. Still looked to be hitting the ball well though