MC: This is history

Photo by AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau

Today’s Monte-Carlo final was an all Spanish affair as Rafa took on #12 Fernando Verdasco. Both players were trying to do something for the first time: Rafa would become the first player in the open era to ever win a tournament 6 times in a row; Verdasco was trying to beat Rafa for the first time ever and win his first Master Serious title. After Verdasco’s trouncing of Djokovic yesterday, we were all expecting a tough match today, but it wasn’t to be. Be it Verdasco’s nerves (including his troublesome sciatic one) or just the awesomeness that is Rafa on clay, the match had a blow-out score line: 6-0, 6-1. Verdasco wasn’t playing horribly, but Rafa was just that much better. He’s made history.

Stats:

Nadal Verdasco
Statistics on Serve
Aces 2 2
Double Faults 1 3
1st Serve % 69% 58%
1st Serve Points Won 20/31 (65%) 12/31 (39%)
2nd Serve Points Won 9/14 (64%) 7/22 (32%)
Break Points Saved 5/5 (100%) 8/14 (57%)
Service Games Played 6 7
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 19/31 (61%) 11/31 (35%)
Second Return Points Won 15/22 (61%) 5/14 (36%)
Break Points Won 6/14 (43%) 0/5 (%)
Return Games Played 7 6
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 29/45 (64%) 19/53 (36%)
Total Return Points Won 34/53 (64%) 16/45 (36%)
Total Points Won 63/98 (64%) 35/98 (36%)
Other Stats
Winners 16 14
Unforced errors 14 32
Net Approaches 7/9 (78%) 2/9 (22%)

As it happened blatherings:

Players on the court for a little ceremony. Rafa trying very hard to stand still during it.

Rafa’s out first as Nando makes him wait for a change. Rafa wins the toss and elects to receive.

Nando tries to tee off on a forehand, but nets it: 0-15. Again, but this time he sends the ball wide: 0-30. He hits another ball well wide: 0-40. Make that 4. Nando is broken in the first game.

Nando nets another ball: 15-0. Rafa hits a ball deep and draws another error: 30-0. Rafa sends a ball just long: 30-15. Ace: 40-15. Nando hits a good deep ball drawing a sitter of a reply from Rafa. He paints a line for a winner: 40-30. He repeats that pattern – Rafa’s reply was better, but he still hits a forehand down the line winner: deuce. Beautiful angled backhand winner from Rafa: game point. How the hell did Rafa win that point??? He should have been completely out of it and flicks a winner cross-court. He holds: 2-0.

RD_Tennistalk: holy good lord. that is all.

Rafa runs down a dropper and hits it down the line for a winner: 0-15. Nando nets a ball: 0-30. Fantastic backhand down the line winner: 0-40. Beautiful cross-court forehand winner from Nando gives him his first point won on serve: 15-40. This time it’s a backhand winner: 30-40. Another good point from Nando and it’s deuce. Nando nets a ball: break point #4. Lather, rinse, repeat and Rafa breaks for a 3-0 lead.

Nando sends a ball long: 15-0. Beauty of a drop shot from Rafa: 30-0. Nice deep shot from Nando draws an error: 30-15. Rafa sends a shot just long: 30-30. Nando sends a service return out: 40-30. Rafa can’t’ get a first serve in this game and yet he holds for 4-0.

kefuoe: Commentators are discussing Nadal’s “court craft”. I often feel like that’s an under-appreciated part of his game.

Rafa pushes Nando deep and wide and draws an error: 0-15. Nando nets a ball: 0-30. Nando smacks a fierce forehand winner: 15-30. Rafa can’t get a return back: 30-30. Lovely down the line forehand from Rafa: 30-40. Rafa breaks again: 5-0.

Trainer out for Nando. Looks like they are trying to loosen up his neck.

Kalliopeia: I want to go down and make some french toast but I fear if I do this match will be over by the time I come back.

Nando drop shots and sets up his shot, but sends it long: 15-0. Double fault from Rafa: 15-15. Rafa hits to Nando’s backhand a few times and then hits a forehand winner to the forehand side: 30-15. Beautiful short angled forehand from Rafa followed by a smashed overhead winner: 40-15. Rafa sends a shot just out: 40-30. First set to Rafa: 6-0. 35 minutes; 9 winners; 5 UFEs; 70% first serves in.

Backhand winner from Nando: 30-0. Nando nets a ball: 30-15. Nando tees off on a forehand, but sends it just wide: 30-30. Sends a backhand wide: 30-40. Pushed wide, Rafa misses a forehand: deuce. Another shot goes out: break point. Ace: deuce. The net cord shows Nando some love, but he fluffs the follow-up shot: break point. Beauty of a shot from Nando: deuce. Service winner: game point. With an ace, Nando holds to get on the score board: 1-0.

Excellent forehand from Nando to take control of a point, but he nets a drop shot attempt: 15-0. Beauty of a forehand return of serve from Nando: 15-15. Pushed wide, Nando sends a ball out: 30-15. Service winner: 40-15. Fierce forehand from Rafa and he holds: 1-1.

Rafa pushes a ball just wide: 15-0. Nando tries to tee-off on a forehand and nets it: 15-15. Nando bullies a point with some excellent forehands and follows that up with a drop shot. Rafa tracks it down, but can’t quite get the reply in: 30-15. Rafa nets a ball: 40-15. Double fault: 40-30. Another: deuce. Excellent serve that Rafa barely gets back, but Nando nets the ball: break point. Pushed wide and deep, Rafa nets a ball: deuce. Nando’s turn to net: break point. Fierce forehand winner from Nando: deuce. Excellent point from Nando – well constructed and executed: game point. And he follows that up by netting a ball: deuce. And then sends a ball long: break point. With a brilliant passing shot, Rafa breaks for a 2-1 lead.

Trainer working on Nando again.

Ataraxis00: It’s not your day Nando, even the net cord knows this. Just go down peacefully. Be proud you made the final.

The net cord shows Rafa some love: 15-0. Rafa nets a ball: 30-15. Rafa runs around a backhand and hits a forehand well wide: 30-30. Nando tracks down a short angled ball and sends one in reply, but Rafa digs down and hits another angled shot that Nando can’t get to: 40-30. Rafa holds for 3-1.

Nando sends a backhand well out: 0-15. Double fault: 0-30. Nando nets a volley: 0-40. Nando nets another ball. He’s not moving well – neck/sciatic nerve must be really bothering him.

Ace down the middle: 15-0. Nando pushes Rafa back and Rafa can’t handle the ball: 15-15. Rafa nets a ball: 15-30. Again, Nando pushing Rafa around: 15-40. Second serve. Nando tries to play aggressively, but a super low ball from Rafa gives him trouble: 30-40. Another ball out from Nando: deuce. Short ball from Rafa and Nando pounces in it – beautiful forehand winner: deuce. Rafa serves into the middle of the doubles alley. Rafa pulls Nando wide and Nando sails the reply: deuce. What a bizarre point!! Rafa got too cute with a dropper, but stays in it with excellent defense until…well, I’m not really sure: break point. Another possibly misguided dropper, but Nando nets the reply: deuce. Rafa hits a ball just wide: break point. Second serve and Nando totally misses the return: deuce. Second serve. Long rally ends when Nando sends a ball long: game point. Time violation to Rafa. Second serve. Pushed and playing a bit more tentative, but Rafa manages to hold: 5-1.

Beauty of a point by Rafa: 15-15. Nando completely off balance: 15-30. Long shot from Nando: 15-40. And with a forehand winner, Rafa wins: 6-0, 6-1.

158 Responses

  1. arwen says:

    I watched the whole match. it was really fantastic.rafa,you are the best clay court player ever. watching you on a clay is an awesome experience. you did everything right, you put every shot in where they belong.what a deserved win. I think we all rafa lovers were waiting this very moment when rafa bites the trophy. you made my day big champion,vamos…..

  2. miri says:

    Another thing to think about: Rafa is now tied with Federer for number of Master 1000 titles (they’ve been going back and forth on this) at 16. They are both one behind Agassi’s record of 17.

    • Stf says:

      Wouldn’t it be cool if Rafa beat Roger in Rome and got there first? :p

      • rubik says:

        You’re absolutely right on this, miri. A tie now with Federer at 16 for the no of Masters 1000 titles. And sorry for Agassi’s 17 Masters 1000 titles record, but it’s only a matter of time before Nadal’s 18 Masters 1000 titles record.

        Agassi got to that specific record, true, but Agassi played as an ATP professional player from the age of 16 until he retired at a couple of years past 30 (I don’t remember Agassi’s exact retirement age, but at least a couple of years past 30, for sure).

        Federer got to the 16 Masters 1000 titles mark last year when he won the Madrid Masters 1000 final against Nadal. Federer was 27 years old at the time.

        Nadal tied up Federer’s 16 Masters 1000 titles mark today in Monte Carlo. Nadal is 23 years old. Somewhere, that says it all, in my personal opinion, considering that Nadal also made history today by winning a Masters 1000 tournament for the 6th consecutive year.

        Nadal now holds 16 Masters 1000 titles (= Federer and 1 short of Agassi’s record) and a record with a 6th consecutive Masters 1000 tournament.

        Oh, and I forgot to mention : Current Olympic gold medalist in singles, 6 Grand Slams, Grand Slam titles on all three surfaces (clay, grass and hard), etc.

        Did I mention this? Nadal is 23 years old… HOLY GOD!

    • aRafaelite says:

      By the end of his career, Rafa will have smashed Agassi’s record into smithereens. Matchsticks. Sawdust.

  3. CC says:

    I’m sure everything’s been said about the match here already, I’m not even going to read the comments, so I will just say:
    Vamos Rafa, you were fantastic and that was well deserved!!!

    Oh, and niiice aaaass, of course! :D

  4. Kathy says:

    So happy for Rafa’s win. NOBODY does it better. Loved seeing him rolling in the clay again and rubbing tears of happiness from his eyes. He has had so many disappointments in the last year and kept working hard and kept his resolve. So good to see him smiling and biting another trophy! All of your fans are so happy to see you so happy.On to Barcelona FTW! :-)))))

  5. EJL says:

    i’ve put pressure on my eyes and read deliberately all the stuff (tried but couldn’t make mself flick through) this comments are a kind of sweet dessert that make me whoop joyously again and again.well congrats to everybody here and bravo Rafa ..AND CC u never get tired of appreciating Rafa’s bum no? let me join u now .. it really blossomed out together with it’s owner today:))

  6. rubik says:

    BRAVISSIMO, NADAL!!!!!!!!!

    I’m so happy and proud to have witnessed such a wonderful page of the tennis history!!!!!!

    And a million thanks to you, miri, for your outstanding work covering Nadal and the Monte Carlo tournament! I greatly appreciated!

  7. Emma R says:

    Only just watched it as was a day behind due to work. Absolutely thrilled to pieces for him, and snivelled like a true wuss at the end. Normally would feel sorry for Nando (or anyone else) getting ass kicked in their first 1000 final, but in the context of the year’s drought, it’s all joy.

    The way he was grinning and clutching the trophy proudly for our insepction in that little clip uploaded to Facebook just melted my heart. Feel like been waiting for this for so long. Feeling dippy with joy.

  8. Fay says:

    Agree with everything you say Jimmy, and I am more than ever glad he won MC like he did conceding so few games, after Novaks comments on vulnerability!… He has further tougher challenges on clay to come against more credible foes but if he can keep his level of play like this weeks up then things should go well for him, I agree that his serve could find room for improvement but still nice to see him finishing off points quicker thus less time on court!

    • Ch F says:

      Most importantly, he will be calmer now.He’ll probably face more difficult opponents but he’ll also be more confident. He won a title which means he managed to deal with his nerves a lot better this time. The level of play is very important, of course, but his technique has been ok for quite some time now, it’s the mental part that was blocking everything. Hopefully that’s in the past now.

      • ava says:

        That’s exactly what I’ve been saying!
        Confidence is what he needed and after this he has it! Go get ’em Rafa!

  9. kyukee says:

    HE IS BACK!!!

    Damn he is good. Total domination.
    I’m so happy Rafa won. He needed this and we all need this. Hopefully his victory in MC will propel him to do even greater things up to RG.

    Vamos Rafa. You see what you can do if you are well and healthy??? So pls. pls. pls. take care of your knees.

    I’ll be watching you lift that cup in Roma next week.

  10. mel says:

    Great work Rafa, I thought there might be tears when you won, and there certainly was. A big game and with that sort of form the rest of the tennis world will be ‘worrying about the runner up pay check’ as one of the commentators said.

    Form is temporary and class is permanent, and today Rafa was all class. So happy for him and for us, his supporters, be strong Rafa and keep up the marvellous work.

    Mel

  11. Atch2 says:

    Hope the final’s score makes De Bakker and Berrer feel better about their losses.

  12. annabelle says:

    So happy for you, Rafa! Enjoy your well deserved victory and your new record of six straight victories at Monte Carlo. The blue brought you luck for sure. Always wear a little bit of it somewhere.

  13. efi says:

    ::Atch2- u sO funny=)im hOpe so=p

  14. jenny says:

    I am a very happy fan and so very happy for Rafa! On to the next tournament. Gee, Soderling is seeded second next to Rafa in Barcelona. I don’t mean to add any pressure to Rafa, but Soderling has to be beat decisively.

  15. tennisfun says:

    i am geedy. think of today. wow.

  16. vamsi says:

    so finally he is backl
    c mon

  17. Rafafan says:

    I know its all been said – but biting that trophy but not only that in such emphatic style – who would have thought 6 0 6 1! I am still trying to get to grips with what has happened!

    Yeah – Rome Rafa v Fed – who get the s ATP 1000 slam first to by pass each other and tie with Agassi. Funny how it is always something that Rafa and Fed are challenging for from each other!….. so the rivaly let it continue! x

  18. Fay says:

    Interesting point RafaFan, to think they are both chasing the same record even though there is like 5 years? between them! awsome!

  19. Susanna728 says:

    Thiemo De Bakker just beat Jo Willie in the QFs and has now made it to the semis of Barcelona. Just reaffirms that Rafa’s easy decisive victory over De Bakker last week wasn’t just because of DeBakker’s inexperience or ranking. Not that any of us thought it was…but interesting to see someone Rafa trounced last week go so far this week.