No Super Mario today

Photo by REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Rafa took on Mario Ancic in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open today. Ancic’s ranking has dropped horribly thanks to a prolonged bout of mono, but he’s doing his best to work his way back up and got off to a good start in this tournament. But it’s one thing playing against lower ranked players and another playing against the top guys. Rafa was smacking the ball and looking confident as he rolled over Ancic: 6-2, 6-2.


Nadal Ancic
Statistics on Serve
Aces 5 2
Double Faults 3 2
1st Serve % 65% 60%
1st Serve Points Won 23/24 (96%) 15/31 (48%)
2nd Serve Points Won 9/13 (69%) 9/21 (43%)
Break Points Saved 0/0 (%) 5/9 (56%)
Service Games Played 8 8
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 16/31 (52%) 1/24 (4%)
Second Return Points Won 12/21 (52%) 4/13 (31%)
Break Points Won 4/9 (44%) 0/0 (%)
Return Games Played 8 8
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 32/37 (86%) 24/52 (46%)
Total Return Points Won 28/52 (54%) 5/37 (14%)
Total Points Won 60/89 (67%) 29/89 (33%)
Other Stats
Winners 23 10
Unforced errors 8 24
Net Approaches 4/5 (80%) 8/14 (57%)

As it happened blatherings:

Dear Tennis Channel – I could hear Rafa being introduced in the background while you show me a match I don’t care about. Switch courts, please.

The shorts are back. I don’t approve, but I prefer Rafa clad in ugly shorts to him injured or playing like crap, so I need to shut up.

Marc! in the stands.

Ancic serving to get things started. He nets a ball after a longish rally: 0-15. Rafa steps up and smacks a forehand: 0-30. Good serve from Ancic: 15-30. Ancic takes a huge swing at a forehand and sends the ball way wide: 15-40. Rafa breaks to go up 1-0.

Serve down the middle goes wide and one in the middle of the service box goes long: 0-15. Ancic sends a return wide: 15-15. Mid rally, Rafa smacks a forehand winner into the corner: 30-15. Ancic nets a ball: 40-15. Rafa holds: 2-0.

@astraldrops: He looks on mission. That focused look would scare a panther out of hiding.

Nice serve and volley from Ancic gives him 15-0. Ancic sends a ball just long: 15-15. Nice serve from Ancic: 30-15. Ancic doesn’t do quite enough with a volley and Rafa blasts a forehand by him: 30-30. Nice serving from Ancic saves a break point and then gives him a game point. Ancic nets a return and we are back to deuce. Rafa sends a forehand wide and deep and Ancic can barely get a racket on it: break point. A long rally ends with an unforced error from Rafa as he nets a ball: deuce. Rafa sends a ball long: game point. Nice volley from Ancic and Rafa nets the return; game to Ancic.

Running forehand down the line, oh how I’ve missed you: 15-0. Ancic sends a return out: 30-0. Rafa’s got writing on his hand again – every time at Indian Wells… Ancic sends a ball long and Rafa has a game point. Nice forehand and Rafa holds: 3-1.

Rafa smokes a cross-court angled return, but it’s just wide: 0-15. Ancic nets a ball: 15-15. Double fault: 15-30. Rafa totally blows a shot and the ball lands somewhere in the desert: 30-30. He follows that up with a beautiful forehand down the line banana shot: break point. I loves me a good banana. The net cord shows Ancic some love: deuce. Rafa sends a return long: game point Ancic.

@kefuoe: does the writing say anything about bad lobs?

Drop shot from Ancic dribbles over the net, Rafa runs up and at the last second flicks a cross-court winner. Ace: 30-0. Rafa conquers another net cord: 40-0. Rafa holds at love: 4-2.

Two loose shots from Ancic and he’s down 0-30. Another running forehand just drops in: 0-40. Rafa holds at love.

@theshiznik: Rafa is playing some sick tennis. Love. It.

@kefuoe: Only the 6th game, and the match has at least 4 highlight shots

Hey, Tennis Channel, the match is back on. Stop with your stupid “court report” thing. Thank goodness for

Up 30-0, Rafa double faults and SMACKS the ball back in frustration. Smart point: serve one direction, second shot in another: 40-15. Stress-free hold for Rafa and he takes the first set: 6-2.

@kefuoe: Seems like this match will be too short; not enough of this amazing Nadal tennis. :(

@LuvCurlin: Exactly, we want to see Rafa Tennis Channel – even if he is wearing ugly shorts! LOL! He’s playing well.

Nothing going right for Ancic now – Rafa has triple break point. Ancic comes into the net and pops off a nice volley: 15-40. Rafa breaks to start set 2.

@kefuoe: I’ll tell you one thing: I’m totally NOT noticing the shorts at this point.

@Ataraxis00: Goodness!! Rafa’s just full of awesome passing shots today. Like .. more than normal.

@bgtennisnation: Nice to see Ancic in a big match but Nadal looks very sharp with crisp movement – the ball really JUMPS off his racket on this court!

Sexy ace: 30-0. Ancic nets a shot: 40-0. Rafa smacks the heck out of the ball and wins a game at love.

Rafa sends a forehand down the line just wide: 15-0. Ancic miss hits: 15-15. Nice serve: 30-15. Ancic holds. Rafa still in lead: 2-1.

Ace: 15-0. Another amazing forehand down the line: 30-0. At 40-0, he hits another forehand down the line to hold.

Rafa sends a shot wide: 15-0. Ancic hits behind Rafa for a clean winner: 30-0. Rafa sends a shot just long. Ancic sends a shot long. Ancic holds: 3-2.

@RagingBitch: Yeah I can’t get too excited about a match w such a rusty opponent. Isner or Sam will be the real test. Hope he kicks ass.

Double fault from Rafa: 0-15. Nice wide serve and an angled reply to the short return: 15-15. Forehand winner: 30-15. Ancic stops play to challenge a call, but is shown to be wrong: 40-15. Easy hold for Rafa: 4-2.


Ancic sends a shot long: 15-15. Rafa hits a return right at Ancic’s feet as he’s trying to move forward: 15-30. Forehand winner from Rafa thanks to a short, high ball: 15-40. Ancic sends a shot wide and Rafa breaks for 5-2. He can serve it out next game.

Rafa holds at love and is through to the next round. Where he’ll take on the winner of the Querrey/Isner match.

75 Responses

  1. Arwen says:

    Rafa was really at his best.He hit a few inside-out forehands that I loved to watch.He was very confident with all of his shots.
    if he manages to play this way,I am sure he can defend his title.
    vamos rafa…..

  2. SHerry says:

    He was excellent. Sharp, focused and making incredible shots. Well done Rafa, I’m so proud! :)

  3. Wendya says:

    I really enjoyed watching him today – without the usual stress. He seemed to be super-confident and playing better than he has for a long time – and did he have an ‘R’ tattooed on his left hand, or was I dreaming!!!

  4. sia says:

    I can’t wait for his match with Isner. I know it will be super tense. They have never met (always tricky for Rafa), and Isner is getting better day by day. Vamos Rafa take that crazy forehand and that stunning backhand that were working so well in this match and give John a lesson in Rafa tennis!

  5. Emma R says:

    Really enjoyed it, and some of the shots were just artistry – kept re-winding the sky+ back to watch them again, and ended up about half an hour behind the live play! Hopefully a real confidence builder for him that he can use to sustain his level and take on higher ranked opponents.

    Did anyone see the interview at the end with him where they asked him about the shorts and he was giggling and grimacing saying that he’d liked the pictures of them, but having seen them on “in the real” he now wasn’t so sure. Promised they would be changed next week. Bless him.

  6. Cora F says:

    The Rafa strokes are back… keep up Rafa!

    • karen says:

      Thank goodness for that great match with Ancic and that 110mph bullet of a forehand Rafa puled out,also the banana shots and ‘with colm’ attitude,good show.I’ve decided on the outfit.Shorts are a crispy crunchy waffle cone and tshirt creamy vanilla icecream with raspberry orange and chocolate sauce with a cherry on top!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. mj says:

    in a really boring class this morning, and just have to say that I loved reading all of your comments…It made me smile each time I read a new one on my phone…while pretending to be looking at very important work messages…so looking forward to this next match with Isner…VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Kathy says:

    It was so good to see him playing well and moving well. I did see that tatoo on his left hand as the camera zoomed in on it in the match last night a couple of times. Wasn’t totally sure what it was, though. I am so happy to see him happy and well.

  9. mel says:

    I got home last night and my partner was out so actually had the remote to the tv which is unusual. Turned on the sport and who was on but Rafa! What a beaut way to finish off a boring day at work. Is it me or has he fone something to his serve? he seemed to be bending his back a bit more than normal and really serving well, I think we all know that when he is confident he cuts loose a bit more and that crtainly seemed to be the case.

    isner will be an excellent game, I think the key is movement, its not esay being 6’9 and having to reach down to balls right at your feet or a low slice. Im looking forward to seeing Isner doing a lot of runnign from side to side to side to side to side to side and then boomph a big Rafa forehand to finish it off.

    Its great to see him back on the court, and funny how he isnt too keen on the shorts either.

    Vamos Rafa, keep winning, its make work that much easier!!

  10. EJL says:

    ooo deary me, i didn’t watch this match :() what a shame that eurosport sends out only women’s part.thanks to this site i can get mself informed properly, i’ve flicked through everything here and finally got pretty good mental picture of the match happy for Rafa, will hold back to praise him myself.cause there’re plenty of them and afraid of jinxing:))
    and have to say that want him keep wearing the shorts, they aren’t eyesore in any case, to me they’re fairly original and funny besides some colors not working together can’t spoil this..(hope automatically enrolled in shorts F-club:))