MC: Carbo loading

Photo by REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

For his third round match in Monte-Carlo, Rafa took on #51 Michael Berrer of Germany. They’d only met one previous time in their careers – last year at Indian Wells – and Rafa dominated that match. Sure Berrer beat Monaco in straights to get here, but given their ranking differences and Rafa’s record against lefties, I think many of us were anticipating a fairly stress-free win. I’m not sure I was expecting another carb heavy breakfast, though. Rafa’s through: 6-0, 6-1.



Stats:

Nadal Berrer
Statistics on Serve
Aces 2 0
Double Faults 1 1
1st Serve % 71% 52%
1st Serve Points Won 21/27 (78%) 6/16 (38%)
2nd Serve Points Won 8/11 (73%) 3/15 (20%)
Break Points Saved 0/0 (%) 1/6 (17%)
Service Games Played 7 6
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 10/16 (63%) 6/27 (22%)
Second Return Points Won 12/15 (63%) 3/11 (27%)
Break Points Won 5/6 (83%) 0/0 (%)
Return Games Played 6 7
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 29/38 (76%) 9/31 (29%)
Total Return Points Won 22/31 (71%) 9/38 (24%)
Total Points Won 51/69 (74%) 18/69 (26%)
Other Stats
Winners 28 5
Unforced errors 8 14
Net Approaches 4/7 (57%) 1/3 (33%)

As it happened blatherings:

Chair going on about how everyone’s in white and blue.

Did someone put these blue shirts through the dryer a few extra times? They seem to be much more snug than the yellow ones.

rafannie: @nadalnews ;) that was me. ;))) you’re not too upset, are you?

kefuoe: @nadalnews I was thinking the exact same thing.

kefuoe: @nadalnews In the meantime on the other court, Ferrer’s shirt is about to swallow him whole!

kefuoe: @nadalnews If he needs a shirt change in this match, it’s going to be an epic battle getting that thing off when it’s wet with sweat.

tennishead: Not-quite fact of the day: Rafael Nadal throws like a girl.

Rafa to start us of serving since Berrer won the toss and elected to receive. Berrer hits a change-up drop shot early in the rally and it’s a winner: 0-15. Rafa moves Berrer well with some angles and finishes off with a forehand winner: 15-15. Rafa sends a ball long: 15-30. Berrer nets a ball. Rafa takes control of the point with a fierce forehand and follows that up with a forehand winner. Rafa holds: 1-0.

I didn’t realize Berrer was a lefty. D’oh!

Rafa frames a return: 15-0. A longish rally ends with Berrer sending a shot way wide: 15-15. Rafa backs Berrer up wide and deep with a fierce forehand and then follows that up with a deft drop volley winner: 15-30. Pulled wide, Rafa flicks a backhand that lands at Berrer’s feet. Rafa breaks for a 2-0 lead.

risha_: I think I need to start counting all the reasons why I love tennis. But near the top: watching Rafa play on clay. Seriously.

Left, right, left…forehand winner: 15-0. Ditto: 30-0. Berrer sends a service return wide: 40-0. With an angled forehand winner, Rafa holds at love: 3-0.

raindelaysplay: If you can’t return his second serve into the court Berrer, you’re in trouble.

Another drop-shot winner from Berrer: 15-0. Rafa moving well and fires off a winner mid-rally: 15-30. Berrer nets a ball: 15-40. Berrer sends a ball out to the sea and Rafa breaks: 4-0.

Berrer sends a ball long: 15-0. Lovely backhand winner: 30-0. 10 winners; 1 UFE: 40-15. Easy hold for 5-0. Will my breakfast be a bagel or a breadstick?

Yay! Ferrer won.

kefuoe: @nadalnews Marc! was watching the Ferrer match. I imagine he’s scurrying over to catch Nadal’s now.

sapphireswell: I love clay season. I’m less stressed out, and watching matches doesn’t involve cursing :)

RD_Tennistalk: generous Nadal is taking Berrer to the same local bakery to which he took De Bakker yesterday and bought the Dutchman some items

Rafa breaks at love with some wonderful play. First set is his: 6-0.

14 winners; 2 UFEs; 60% first serves; 22 minutes.

Rafa double faults to donate a point to Berrer: 15-15. Berrer nets a ball: 30-15. Another easy hold for Rafa: 1-0.

Berrer sends a shot long: 0-15. Forehand down the line winner from Rafa: 0-30. Rafa hits a shot that Berrer thinks is out. The chair asks Rafa if he should check it and Rafa says no, gives the point to Berrer: 15-30. At 15-40, Berrer plays a nice point where he manages to move Rafa along and then hit a winner: 30-40. Berrer follows one of his best points of the match with a miss hit and Rafa breaks: 2-0.

Rafa nets an overhead – that doesn’t happen often: 15-15. Forehand winner: 40-15. Berrer has yet to win 2 points in a row. Rafa holds: 3-0.

Storming the net, Rafa sends the ball right into it: 15-15. Amazing angled cross-court forehand winner: 15-30. Takes control of a point with a forehand and finishes it off: 15-40. Rafa breaks for a 4-0 lead.

Forehand winner: 15-0. Berrer pulls Rafa into the net with an angled dropper and Rafa nets the reply: 15-15. Ace for 40-15. Rafa holds: 5-0.

Total points won so far: 44 for Rafa; 11 for Berrer.

RD_Tennistalk: you know there’s a problem when NADAL of all people finishes a match in less than an hour

Rafa just misses a shot: 15-0. Berrer gets a horrid bounce and nets the ball: 15-15. Rafa sends a shot wide: 30-15. Berrer pulls Rafa in with a drop shot and finishes the point off: 40-15. Wonderful half-volley passing shot by Rafa: 40-30. Berrer wins a game! 5-1

Beauty of a forehand down the line winner from Rafa. The net cord shows Berrer some sympathy: 15-15. Rafa finishes off a point with an overhead smash: 30-15. Rafa sends a ball out: 30-30. Berrer sends a shot sailing: 40-30. Hey, deuce! How exciting. Rafa wins: 6-0, 6-1.

58 Responses

  1. An says:

    Opponents should be carefull to out-dropshot Rafa in one off the first points off a match! Thiemo did yesterday and Berrer did today…. Rafa makes them pay with a bagele and a breadstick after! :D

    Serious, still hard to say anything but liked what i saw off Rafa’s play more then yesterday. I think it was agressive and good! Well done Rafa!

    • miri says:

      I agree – I thought Rafa looked much sharper today. His serve was better and his movement was down right pretty at times.

    • aRafaelite says:

      Absolutely. The stats pretty much say it all. I didn’t particularly enjoy watching this one-sided affair any more than I did yesterday, but it was good to see Rafa was playing good, sharp, ruthless tennis. All in all, a much more convincing performance than yesterday, despite the startling similarity in the scores!

      • miri says:

        All in all, a much more convincing performance than yesterday, despite the startling similarity in the scores!

        I feel exactly the same way. Odd how the scores can be almost identical and yet you can walk away with a completely different feeling for how the match went.

        I also have to say: it’s matches like this that can make me understand why some people root against Rafa on clay (as much as I can understand rooting against anyone). If I wasn’t such a fanGirl, I would have hated today’s match – matches that lop-sided are not fun to watch.

  2. Silhouette says:

    First post here. Great website!!!
    Rafa was awesome in this match. Great shots and seems like he’s playing better than yesterday!
    Vamos!

  3. tessa says:

    Oh.. carb overload.. bagel and a breadstick. I get it. Finally. My brain is not fully functioning yet today.

    And thank you for the play by play. I am saddened that there was no shirt change. It would have provided a bit of excitement in the match.

  4. Nana says:

    I am in love with Rafa and clay =)

    • Stf says:

      I love Rafa, clay and the combination thereof. ;) I just don’t understand how some people find clay boring, I find it really spectacular. The slide, the rallies, the build up of the points. It’s just awesome. Okay, maybe the fact that Rafa dominates clay helps as well. :p There is seriously no better player than him there.

      • Nana says:

        Clay is not boom boom boom like hard courts but is more interesting as u get to see the different tactics and setting up of points. The only thing is matches can drag on esp in 5 setters.

        But of course Rafa adds a huge factor to my appreciation of this surface =)

        • tiemyshoe says:

          Yes, Rafa’s definitely a factor. :)

          I love clay court tennis because most booming serves can be returned, and there are more interesting points. I just love natural surfaces in general because there’s more variability with how the ball bounces, and how players work the angles.

          The bounce is more predictable with hard courts, and if it’s played by the current purveyors of big-hitting baseliners(Cilic, DelPo, Sod, etc.), it’s like watching machines play. Not so fun.

    • Ch F says:

      I love clay and Rafa on it as well! It’s always been my favourite surface and not because Rafa is good at it, on the contrary, I first noticed Rafa because he was a great clay courter and then in the process madly deeply fell in love with the way he plays. I think clay allows a more balanced and constructed game.

  5. Stf says:

    Now THAT was so much better. I had no idea how this match would turn out but it was easier than I expecter. After all, Berrer beat Monaco. But Rafa’s movement on the court was so much better than yesterday and all of his shots were really good. Some crazy angles with the forehand, the backhand was working as well today and the serve was a little off at first but he eventually improved it. Then again, when I was thinking that he would serve yet another bagel in the second set, he seemed to lose focus and want to wrap up the match quickly, so he made a couple of mistakes that he might want to leave out in the next match. Then again, only 8 unforced with 28 winners…that’s awesome. I’m very happy with today’s match. :)

    If he manages to play the same way and beat Tsonga or JCF in straights, then I don’t think anyone can actually beat him. I’ve been going on about JCF but I think he’s a very serious opponent that could give Rafa a run for his money.

    • GB says:

      Monaco’s got a wrist injury and is going to be out for 2 months after RG to have surgery:( I didn’t see his match and don’t know how much of a role that played, but Rafa and Pico definitely didn’t think Pico played well (from Rafa’s presser). I think it’s gonna be a huge step up next match. I’m kinda having a preemptive nightmare of Tsonga ironically beating him after the beatdown last match (just like Sod after Rome)…

  6. tiemyshoe says:

    Omnom baked goods. I thought he was better today than yesterday – much more aggressive. Loved those one-twos off his first serve and big inside-out FH winners.

    Next match should be of an entirely different caliber.

  7. arwen says:

    very comfortable indeed although berrer is not a real opponent for our guy.vamos rafa….

  8. CC says:

    “tennishead: Not-quite fact of the day: Rafael Nadal throws like a girl.”

    Mwhahaaa… My thought exactly!

    The other match highlight was when Rafa got stuck at the net after the handshake!

    Apart from that, Rafa looked good I guess. Will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow against Tsonga or Ferrero.

    • CC says:

      Oh, and it kind of cracked me up a little that one of his few unforced errors came on his first match point. You know Rafa, if you have problems *finishing things off*, I’m more than happy to help… ;)

      • An says:

        “You know Rafa, if you have problems *finishing things off*, I’m more than happy to help… ;)”

        On the other hand, CC, its not so bad if he’s able to delay things a bit, No?

        • sia says:

          Yes An … something I’ve always liked about Rafa … he does take his time and is more then willing to play those long matches.

          • CC says:

            An, sia… It’s not a bad thing to delay things a bit, on OR off court. I totally agree. I’d just be…happy to help ;)

    • Nic says:

      Hehe yeah I thought it was pretty adorbs how he got stuck at the net after the handshake :) How very typical Rafa hee

    • Atch2 says:

      Uncle Toni has said that he has a weak throw, even from his right side.

      • tiemyshoe says:

        Ha! In that “lefty” Nike ad, right? I thought that was just Uncle Toni’s usual ‘taking down Rafa a few pegs’ ritual. But it’s totes true. :)

        He comes from a footballing culture, so I expect his throwing is dreadful. Apparently, Americans growing up playing baseball and American football is one of the reasons why they serve so well, as serving is basically throwing.

  9. jba says:

    does anyone know what he was saying to the ball boys after the match?

    • Nic says:

      The kids were asking for his sweatbands but he said something to the effect of not this time sorry but maybe next time. It’s kind of annoying that they bother players like that on court. I guess it’s ok but just seems a bit inappropriate. Well, the tourney organisers seem to be cool with it so ok.

      • CC says:

        Yeah, and I think I heard him say something like “I don’t know if I have enough…”. :)

        • Nic says:

          Always wondered why those things were like gold for Rafa. Surely Nike could send him a dozen per match if he needed.

        • Nana says:

          Yeah he said that. Yesterday he gave his handband to one kid so they’ve started to line up….

          • MJ says:

            I may be wrong, but yesterday, he got really impatient with a ball boy who didn’t give him a towel quickly enough…He had a really annoyed look on his face…I think he gave him the headband…so then all the others probably wanted one…

            • aRafaelite says:

              Yeah, I saw that too. I was a bit taken aback at how pissy he was with the ball boy and tweeted about it not being very cool. It wasn’t a huge thing, he just spoke sharply and looked angry, and I’m not used to him being anything less than unfailingly polite! Given how completely he was in control of the match, there didn’t seem to be any explanation for his sharpness! But everyone’s allowed an off-moment. Even Rafa.

      • Atch2 says:

        I find that bloody annoying. Little kids begging for freebies. I don’t see it so blatantly at other tournaments.

    • kefuoe says:

      The ball boys were asking for something (wristband maybe? Quely cookie? shirt that was actually their size?). He said, “Maybe next time”

      • tiemyshoe says:

        shirt that was actually their size?

        Are you suggesting Rafa’s shirt was tight today? Didn’t notice. Nope.

        • Eliana says:

          Ha! That shirt looks like the one he used some years ago, the high performance gear for athletes. You know the one that I’m talking about, the one in the Nike ad with his beautiful back? BTW, great fit choice Nike :)

          Oh, and to not deviate too much from the topic, hooray for Rafa! Love that his service improved! It will come in handy since tomorrow’s match is against Ferrero, definitely not a walk in the park.

        • CC says:

          The thing that really made me notice that Rafa’s shirt was nice and tight, was that it made his arse look huge! Especially in those shorts. I mean, I’m not complaining… ;)

  10. Nic says:

    I think today it was really evident that Rafa was playing brilliantly. Lots of great angles, beautiful forehand winners and fantastic movement all over the court. Gahd I’ve really missed this. Rafa is glorious on clay. And hell yes that blue shirt is so snug to that gorgeous bod. And it’s a little short too :) I felt so sorry for Berrer at the later part of the second set. All he wanted was to just get a game! Was almost ridiculous. He was so thankful for that breadstick haha. Btw I don’t know why but all the baked goods analogies are totally giving me the shits and giggles :D
    Vamos Rafa!

  11. teejustice says:

    Good match by Rafa. As. Verdasco match went on I didn’t think I’d see much of Rafa before heading to work and I saw the whole thing. He looked scrumptuous too!

  12. djb says:

    Blueberry Boy Bashes Berrer!!!!

    First of all, let me just say, WOW!!!!!!!!!! Something about the red clay really ignites a fire in Rafa. He’s come to Monte-Carlo with his game face on, and right now, he’s got everybody on definite notice. I can’t even remember the last time Rafa got off to this kinda start at any tournament. Just stunning!

    If he can bagel/breadstick two guys like DeBakker and Berrer, playing this well right now, imagine what he could do to some of the guys at the top, like Tsonga or Djokovic. He’s looking very determined to win and I must say, it’s an absolute joy to watch. If Rafa keeps playing like this, he’s gonna have one hell of a summer season.

    And if that’s the case, the weather won’t be the only thing that’s hot around here this summer! Vamos, Rafa!!!! Loving the BLUE on U!!!!

  13. faeaki7 says:

    Glad to hear Rafa played better today but I always get worried when he has easy matches! tommorow is going to be really tough in comparison, I hope he is well prepared! Can’t wait to see highlights. Vamosss Rafa!

  14. Ch F says:

    Concerning Rafa’s much better performance today, I’ll have to take your word for it since due to work I tuned in at the last two games and Rafa seems to have made all his UEs there. So my sample is rather limited and I’d rather believe what all of you are saying.

    Even though this is clay of course, I won’t cheer just yet, cause we’ve seen that pattern before. I’ll only say I’m happy he played great and seems to be injury-free!

  15. sia says:

    Looks like a great match uo tomorrow with Ferrero. So many Spanish winners today. :)

  16. Atch2 says:

    So Happy Rafa won. Also happy that Berrer got at least a game. It was like yesterday again. The commentators has a lot of quiet moments and so did the crowd. I can understand that it would’ve felt awful to clap or cheer loudly after Rafa gradually bashes his opponent and denies him of all but one game.

    Berrer may not be the high calibre opponent Rafa will meet in the future, but you can see everything starting to click. There were so many beautiful, vintage Rafa shots. Man that forehand is deadly. And his service % improved satisfactorily.

    And again I didn’t see a Rafa shirt change (did he sweat at all?). I know Berrer did.

    CC, luved Rafa getting caught at the net after the handshake as well. I blame Nike for the loose threading.

    Also thought the cameraman spotting umpire’s lookalike was hilarious.

  17. Necitas says:

    Rafa getting some more Love! Not bad, not bad at all. :)

  18. Sofia says:

    High carb breakfasts are so delish:)

  19. GTF says:

    Rafa – Berrer Final Games

  20. kyukee says:

    great win for Rafa!

    although i agree with most of you in saying that i’m not quite show how to judge rafa’s form based on his first 2 matches. i still think that he’s still hitting some short returns on the second serve no less and he might not be that lucky when he plays the tougher and higher ranked opponents and he’s not nailing those nail biter line shots that like he used to. i also miss his passing shots, he’s not done a lot off these lately.

    anyways, i’m hoping i could catch the match today against Ferrero i’ve always thought of him as a wildcard in these events. you can never count him out given his experience and that his a spaniard so he probably knows rafa style of play more than any other player and not to mention that he has great success on clay.

  21. GTF says:

    I guess you don’t want any videos or updates from Monte Carlo since my posts haven’t shown, so i won’t post anymore. I can’t understand why in the million of web pages and billion of users some people consider that having a site in the same category as theirs participate is harmfull. The pie is limitless. I would die for an opportunity like this regardless of the person/website that made the contribution.
    Hope this get read and not spammed as everything else.

    • miri says:

      The problem is, you’ve often been using different usernames and/or email addresses and are posting mainly links so the spam filter is suspicious of you. I don’t check the spam folder as often as the pending one, so there’s a delay in getting your stuff through. Each of your comments, however, has been eventually approved.