MC: Breakfast with Rafa

Photo by REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Rafa started his clay court season by taking on #77 de Bakker who qualified for the event and then knocked of Schwank in his first round. It was an easy and routine win for Rafa but the level of play from de Bakker made it difficult to judge how Rafa was moving and feeling on the court. But who cares! I’m feeling a bit bloated thanks to a bagel and breadstick. Can’t argue with that score line. Rafa’s through to the next round 6-1, 6-0.


Stats:

Nadal de Bakker
Statistics on Serve
Aces 2 0
Double Faults 1 4
1st Serve % 57% 41%
1st Serve Points Won 18/24 (75%) 6/14 (43%)
2nd Serve Points Won 12/18 (67%) 4/20 (20%)
Break Points Saved 3/3 (100%) 1/6 (17%)
Service Games Played 7 6
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 8/14 (57%) 6/24 (25%)
Second Return Points Won 16/20 (57%) 6/18 (33%)
Break Points Won 5/6 (83%) 0/3 (%)
Return Games Played 6 7
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 30/42 (71%) 10/34 (29%)
Total Return Points Won 24/34 (71%) 12/42 (29%)
Total Points Won 54/76 (71%) 22/76 (29%)

As it happened blatherings:

Rafa and de Bakker are warming up. Rafa’s switched from Lemon to Blueberry

kefuoe: @nadalnews Blueberries are superfoods!

Rafa’s started serving and, so far, de Bakker can’t’ get a ball back: 30-0. He finally does and tries to end a point with a drop shot which Rafa easily runs down and pops over the net for a winner. Lovely backhand winner from de Bakker: 40-15.

Double fault from de Bakker. Down 15-30, de Bakker moves Rafa well and then ends up the rally with a drop shot winner: 30-30. Forehand down the line winner from Rafa: 30-40. Rafa sends a ball way out with an unforced forehand error: deuce. Another break point and a second serve. de Bakker nets a ball and Rafa breaks: 2-0.

de Bakker sends a shot long: 15-0. Again: 30-0. Nice second serve return from de Bakker: 30-15. Another nice hold for Rafa.

Ataraxis00: So, De Bakker won 3 or 4 titles on clay last year? Granted, they were Challengers – but not bad for him.

Beautiful lob from Rafa caps off a point where the players had pulled each other around and up and back. Rafa’s up 4-0.

Some errant shots from Rafa in this game: 30-30. Rafa holds for a 5-0 lead. de Bakker to serve to avoid a bagel.

raindelaysplay: De Bakker struggling with serves too. Poor thing. Rafa doesn’t even look like he’s broken a sweat yet.

Drop shot from de Bakker after a longish rally, Rafa can’t get to it in time and de Bakkers’s on the scoreboard.

Game and first set to Rafa: 6-1.Took just over 30 minutes. First serve % only 57. 4 winners and 4 UFEs.

de Bakker broken to start set 2.

Rafa holds for a 2-0 lead. And soon after, it’s 3-0.

Nice lob from de Bakker. Rafa gets to it, but hits a looping moon-ballish shot that de Baker gets back with a winner: 0-30. Rafa nets a ball and de Bakker has triple break point. Second serve. de Bakker sends a shot long: 15-40. Another goes just wide: 30-40. Nice serve and de Bakker nets the return: deuce. A totally mishit drop shot attempt gives Rafa a game point. Ace: 4-0.

Rafa holds and finishes out the match in 10 seconds less than an hour.

88 Responses

  1. JK says:

    Great start – Vamos Rafa!

  2. jba says:

    “It was an easy and routine win for Rafa but the level of play made it difficult to judge how Rafa was moving and feeling on the court.”

    totally agree with you on this, miri. watched the match and i’m still pretty confused about how he’s doing right now. can’t complain too much though, a win is a win. VAMOS!

    • Isabelle says:

      Agreed. Glad to see the win but thought a bit more of a challenge would be good warm up for what is to come.

  3. An says:

    Yep…. My countryman de Bakker ( and to add more bread to the breadstick and the bagel bakker is what we call a baker :D )sucked!
    Rafa did what he had to do… we’ll have to wait for a more challeging match to judge his play. But he’s in the last 16!

    • dutchgirl says:

      I felt a bit sorry for Thiemo (my fellow countryman as well) that he didn’t do better, but ofcourse I’m only glad that Rafa is through!

      • An says:

        Off course Thiemo is our countryman Dutchgirl! I didn’t mean to sound selfish;) Sorry!

        And yes i too did hope that they could made it a nice match and that Thiemo could challenge Rafa a bit, but this apperently wasnt Thiemo’s day or he had big troubles with Rafa’s spinballs, we’ll have to wait and see iff we hear anything about it from Thiemo but we cannot be honest and don’t say he sucked, No?

        • An says:

          Thiemo lets us know on Twitter:

          “HHHHHHMMMMMM, maybe Nadal isn’t the right opponent to get nervous for a match, has somebody found my serve, i’m looking for it! ):”

          • An says:

            *to get nervous against

            • Atch2 says:

              Your countryman is still young. And he lost to Rafael Nadal on CLAY. There’s nothing embarrassing about that. And he got to play on center court. Those are great memories and experiences.

              • sia says:

                yep he did seem very nervous … when he forgot about the match surroundings and who he was playing he put in some nice work. You can see he has skill and a very wicked forehand.

          • Rafangel says:

            Poor Thiemo, I felt for him. Hope he can pick himself up quickly.

        • dutchgirl says:

          No need to apologize at all, An, I didn’t think you sounded selfish at all! Just explaining the fact that the 3 of us are Dutch, that’s all.

          I agree with you I had hoped for better play from Thiemo, apart from all he errors he made, his service was off as well.
          In advance he had said that he knew the tactics to use with Rafa, but I guess it’s so much easier said than done, and Thiemo just found that out.
          So yes, he sucked…

      • natch says:

        I like that kid a lot. He has top ten potential. He needs another year, maybe eighteen months, of *baking*.

        Also? I thought of both you girls during the few minutes of the match I saw. Wondered if you both were fans of Thiemo.:)

        • An says:

          He was the no. 1 in the juniors ATP list for quite some time but has bin injured quite a lot i think too…

          He’s 21 and this is the first year i guess that he realy is trying to play a lot off ATP tourneys so yeah when he has a little more experience in playing the top-players on “big” courts… he could do well!
          Off course i’m his fan, and root for him against any other opponent… but Rafa remains, no.1 ( off course )

          • natch says:

            I think I first saw him a year or two ago. I liked him then. I also saw him last summer…I think maybe in LA? Any way, he was working out with a coach or trainer, and I really liked his attitude (for such a young kid.)

            I didn’t root for him this morning because I liked what Rafa was wearing better! ;)

            • miri says:

              They were talking about how young, inexperienced and full of potential de Bakker was during the match. Rafa’s just 2 years older than him….

              • natch says:

                But Rafa’s got…what? Six or Seven years on tour now? Big difference.
                He’s damaged goods! BWHA! I cracked myself up there!!! :D

        • dutchgirl says:

          Nice to hear that we were in your mind today, natch!
          For me, it’s the same as with An: I’d root for Thiemo in any other match, but when it comes to Rafa, I always want him to win!

    • CC says:

      Awww…don’t be too harsh on the young baker, An. Maybe he was going on court thinking he needed to impress you and dutchgirl and then couldn’t live up to it.
      Is the whole of the Netherlands helping him looking for his serve now? ;)

      • An says:

        Uuuuuh….. He never could have felt pressure from Duchtgirl and me as he could have known we would only be happy with a Rafawin! But okay we will give him another chance next week in Barcelona, maybe he can play Rafa again, a little later in the tournament?

        The whole tennis Netherlands yeah;) That outcall actually got some press! I’m sure he’ll have him back soon enough:D

  4. Stf says:

    I watched the match and I really couldn’t tell how he played. He seemed to be moving well, to be using the clay like he knows, a couple of mistakes here and there, no unnecessary running back and forth. And a bit of a problem with his serve. De Bakker just didn’t play well, too many unforced errors, bad serve. It didn’t give us a chance to see if Rafa is fit. Let’s just hope that he will step it up in the next match because he seemed a little uncertain at times. This should be his comfort zone, I hope that he’ll improve with each match.

  5. Rafangel says:

    Bagel me baby!

    Could’ve done without the concentration lapse in his first two service games of the 2nd – circumstances permitting but it’s still becoming a habit. We’ll have to think of a way to keep him awake.

  6. Nic says:

    I was so nervous going into this match and at the start of it for some reason. Guess there’s been just so much anticipation for the clay season that I’m a little scared. Neways, maybe I’m glad he had a none-too-challenging first encounter to help get some rhythm going before a major test ahead. Next few encounters could be Monaco then either Jo-willy or JCF so pretty tough from here on in. Vamos the king of clay!

    • Nic says:

      Btw no mouthguard?

    • Stf says:

      Monaco just lost, so Rafa will be playing Berrer. But if he manages to win against JCF in the quarter finals, because I’m not sure Tsonga can beat JCF, then I think he’ll do just fine.

      • Madi says:

        I was hoping to see Rafa play Monaco, aren’t they like really good friends? wanted to see how they compete against each other.
        Oh this time zone fits nicely with work so I get to see all the matches.
        I saw the second half of the match and I felt that Rafa is not that bothered to chase the ball, just taking it easy. Well he did save 5 break points though. Hope this gives him confidence.

      • Stf says:

        Murray just lost as well. This leaves Ferrer and Ljubicic, as well as Kohlschreiber. This should be an interesting half. I think that if Rafa beats JFC, he can look forward to get his revenge from Ljubi, no? ;)

        • Atch2 says:

          Read Murray was booed walking off the court. I could never boo anyone that just lost, even if I disliked them.

          • Stf says:

            Well yeah, that sucks. I don’t really like Andy all that much but it’s just a shame to see him struggling so much lately. This makes me appreciate Rafa even more. He has never lost against anyone else but a top 10 player ever since he came back from an injury that was pretty serious and personal issues that can screw with your head. Still, people heavily criticised Rafa for not winning a tournament and losing to top seeds, when all three Fed, Djokovic and Murray have lost in early rounds by lower seeded players. Out of the four, he has been the most consistent lately. It just shows how much better Rafa is compared to the other guys his age. Roger is older and has nothing to prove anymore anyway.

            • Ch F says:

              If I can just add to that, not only hasn’t he lost to anyone but a top 10 player, the reasons for that were a lot more serious as well. Three injuries in a row let alone the personal problems.

            • CC says:

              “He has never lost against anyone else but a top 10 player ever since he came back from an injury…”

              *gulps*

              *tries desperately to think of way to un-jinx Rafa for today’s match*

              *thinks of Rafa lathering himself in the shower*

              Phew… Hope that works! ;)

          • Ch F says:

            It’s awful and disrespectful. I could never boo anyone at all. I mean it was an ugly loss, and Murray had tears in his eyes, but why boo him? It’s like implying that he did it on purpose.

      • Anita says:

        Dang! Monaco lost?! Well that’s the pitts! Better luck next time Pico.

    • Rafangel says:

      I was really nervous, too. It’s cos I’m nervous about this CC season – even more pressure than usual and his head’s not good at the moment. Not sure he’s going to win MC this year, maybe a bit too early in the CC season and it’s a tough draw.

      No-one has won 6 straight tourneys in the Open era (which he’s on to do this year at MC); to do so I imagine you’d have to be at your best. He has another chance to do that at Barcelona, and it’d be great if he did one :) But yeah, feeling more trepidation about this part of the season than the last part…

  7. Marilyn Wasserman says:

    Awww, Juan Monaco lost in straight to Michael Berrer. Don’t think I’ve ever seen him play. Anyway, he’ll be next on Rafa’s menu.

    • sia says:

      juan wasn’t playing very well in his last match and Berrer is doing his best atm. Don’t think his best can get past Rafa though.

    • faeaki7 says:

      Don’t be surprised Michael Berrer is a fighter and will give Rafa a hard time, I watched him in Indian wells and he can play!

  8. Ch F says:

    Well much like Stf, I think it’s difficult to know how Rafa feels. The serve seemed to be a bit off. Not many awesome Rafapoints, but then again Rafa was not challenged at all so it’s very difficult to judge. He did face one triple break point, but came back to hold serve with a little help by De Bakker, I must confess.

    Off to the next round, Rafa! (not against Monaco, it would seem)

    • Rafangel says:

      I was a bit concerned that he didn’t chase down a couple of balls he could’ve got to. I’m hoping that’s general policy and not specific reason. But I flinched when he screwed up his face at one point, which was almost certainly because he missed the ball rather than cos he tweaked the knee. Rafa’s not the only one paranoid about the knees.

      I’m sounding really depressed and nervous and actually I’m really happy to see him playing, dominating, and just being utterly Rafa. sorry people.

      • Nic says:

        Yeah me too. Don’t wanna sound like such a downer from my posts, just nervy. But v happy to see him back on the dirt.

      • dutchgirl says:

        I noticed that too, he didn’t run for a couple of balls where we’re used to seeing him do just that. But I reckoned he was being efficient – he didn’t have to go all the way.

        • Ch F says:

          Hope so. Cause thanks to the slide on clay he would have reached the ball easily-not the case on hard courts. I guess he’ll remember that once he’s challenged more.

  9. Atch2 says:

    This was Rafa’s first competitive match, so he did well enough for a win, and has time to improve in some areas like his serve. I don’t think he should push himself on every point to reach every ball if it’s not necessary at this stage, to save his body.

    I am reminded in this match that I have missed the whacking of dirt from his shoes, the cleaning of the lines before serving and his sliding.

    Did Rafa have to change his shirt at all during the match? Luv blueberries by the way :)

    Great day for the Armada with 5 Spanish guys into the next round today. Marc! and Ferrer also playing today too.

    Didn’t see Xisca in the crowd.

    Also hate it when ball kids bare their hands out and ask for player’s gear. Aren’t they barred from doing that?

    • Nic says:

      Yeah in a way I think I agree with your first point. No need to play balls out yet. And yes I really do love to see his clay routines again. Feels like home :) Do you find the blueberry shirt makes Rafa look more beefy than usual? Hot cakes with blueberries on top!

      • Atch2 says:

        Beefy and Hot, yes. And there seem to be some horizontal stripes happening on his shirt too.

      • djb says:

        I noticed that his chest looked really defined in that shirt, which I didn’t really notice when he wore the yellow one in Miami. Nonetheless, he looked smart and played brilliantly.

        • Ch F says:

          Yes I noticed that too. The shirt has more of a stretch fit, and I think it goes inside the shorts and not outside like the other ones. It looks great.

  10. natch says:

    LOVE the outfit! Bright blue and checks shorts. No sign of pink. Natch very happy.

    Rafa, if you want to make Natch more happy, you will choose green for the FO, no? ;)

    • djb says:

      The blue looked great on him. He really looked smart in it, and it blended well against the red clay. By the way, for Paris, he’ll be wearing something with blue, green, and white in it.

      • natch says:

        Oh, Thanks for that. I likey! :)
        Just as long as there isn’t too much white. I find white boring. (Plus, I have never worn white that didn’t immediately find a stain to attach itself to. ;) )

  11. djb says:

    Stunning performance!!! Excellent way to start off the clay court season, serving up a breadstick and a tasty freaking bagel to go with it, lol. De Bakker was simply awful out there, especially with that serve of his. This was a complete mismatch from the start, and it took just under an hour to finish. Rafa should be very proud of the way he’s started so far. As usual, he has to continue taking one step at a time and slowly build up his momentum with each match.

    Every win he gets is a step in the right direction, and today was certainly no exception to that. By the way, the BLUE looked AWESOME on him, didn’t it??? What a nice way to start the week in that gorgeous city of Monte-Carlo!

  12. faeaki7 says:

    Yeah I loved the blue really smart, not sure his game was that on song and hard to tell with such little resistance! I thought he left a few shots as not to over push himself, I mean its not like he was threatened at all so he is doing the right thing even if it is less entertaining! for the crowd. His 1st serve% is very low by his standards *worries* and a few missed inside out forehands in the second set, I didn’t see the 1st set, tommorow is going to be tougher for sure..

  13. CC says:

    Nice. Rafa won. Kind of felt he should, but I guess you never know.

    Onto the important stuff:
    1. What happened with the mouthguard? (Can’t wait till when he forgets to take it out for an on court interview! ;)).
    2. I don’t like his outfit, at all. The blue is…whatever…and I really dislike the white bit at his collar and I dislike the white bits on the side of the shirt and I dislike the fact that the shorts have white bits on the inside of the thigh and… *takes deep breath*
    3. I don’t dislike Rafa.

    • miri says:

      The outfit is exactly same as the lemon one…only blue.

    • natch says:

      2. Whaaaaaa??!!
      That blue is spectacular. That shade looked great on me yesterday and better on Rafa today. For the first time, CC, I question your judgment! ;)

      I also like the white bit because it reminds me of a peepshow. You know, guess what else is underneath this? It’s like Rafa is flirting with us.

      • CC says:

        You’ve never questioned my judgement before? I’ll take that as a compliment. ;)

        I like the blue in the shorts more, because it looks like a slightly more turquoisy (what the hell!?) shade. The top blue is a bit wishy washy, not bold enough for my liking.

    • tiemyshoe says:

      I still don’t get why the checked shorts. White shorts would make this outfit sing, but as it is, the upper half is blue, rippling torso and the lower half is old-man leisure wear. Not cool.

      • Maya says:

        I don’t get it either. I love the shorts he wears for practice. The checks seem to be catching on though because the Bryan brothers were wearing them at a tourney last week. The blue is
        GORGEOUS!

  14. CC says:

    “Rafa’s switched from Lemon to Blueberry”

    Hey, what do blueberries look like where you guys come from?! :)

    • Atch2 says:

      It’s more like blueberry bubblegum or blueberry ice cream. Both are yum.

      • CC says:

        More like the sea here… I want to swim in it. Rafa’s shirt, that is. ;)

        • An says:

          ” want to swim in it. Rafa’s shirt, that is. ;) ”
          With Rafa in it too… Nice idea! Me likey;)

          And yes, i agree, its the coulour off the sea!

          • CC says:

            Yes, Rafa needs to be in it as well, of course! Actually…screw the shirt, I want to swim with Rafa. No shirt. ;)

            Who knows, we might get to see him in that swimming pool in Barcelona next week!

            *crosses fingers that Rafa will bring his speedos*

            *changes mind*

            *crosses fingers that Rafa will FORGET to bring speedos*

            OK, OK, I know… One match at a time. One tourney at a time. ;)

            • An says:

              Swim with Rafa….. hhhhhmmm i saw he has a verry nice private swimming pool by the beach house in Mallorca, No?

              * crosses fingers for a Rafa invitation to come swimming with him one day, no shirt, no speedo;)*