Rome: Steamy

ALBERTO PIZZOLI/ AFP/ Getty Images

After the first two quarterfinals of the day saw 2 Spanairds advance to the semis in Rome, Rafa had a chance to make it 3 for 3 when he took on #16 Stanislas Wawrinka. Stan came out full-steam ahead – sending a message that Rafa was not going to be allowed to boss him around the court. Things were going his way – easy service holds and pushing Rafa on his serve – until Rafa broke in the 10th game to take the set. It was one of those, “how did Rafa win that set” moments. After that, try as he might, Stan started to lose steam while Rafa started to steam-roll. Rafa’s through to the semis: 6-4, 6-1.


Stats:

Nadal Wawrinka
Statistics on Serve
Aces 2 2
Double Faults 2 1
1st Serve % 75% 58%
1st Serve Points Won 35/48 (73%) 18/25 (72%)
2nd Serve Points Won 8/16 (50%) 9/18 (50%)
Break Points Saved 2/2 (100%) 3/6 (50%)
Service Games Played 9 8
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 7/25 (28%) 13/48 (27%)
Second Return Points Won 9/18 (28%) 8/16 (50%)
Break Points Won 3/6 (50%) 0/2 (%)
Return Games Played 8 9
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 43/64 (67%) 27/43 (63%)
Total Return Points Won 16/43 (37%) 21/64 (33%)
Total Points Won 59/107 (55%) 48/107 (45%)
Other Stats
Winners 20 17
Unforced errors 18 19
Net Approaches 12/14 (86%) 7/7 (100%)

As it happened blatherings:

So far, two Spaniards have made it through to the semis, will this make for the third? (I’m thinking, hell yes!)

Players on the court getting ready to warm up.

Stan wins the toss and chooses to receive.

Papa Nadal in the house.

Rafa sends a shot long: 0-15. Ace. (Followed by a sneer as he heads back to get a new ball – heh). Stan sends a shot long: 30-15. Rafa decides to pick on Stan’s backhand. After a few shots, Stan replies with a stunning backhand down the line winner: 30-30. Stan sends a forehand long: 40-30. Stan runs around his backhand to hit a fierce forehand winner: deuce. Service winner: game point. Stan nets a ball. That was a promising start – excellent shots from Stan, but Rafa holds for 1-0.

Stan proves he’s not going to let Rafa boss him around no matter how fiercely Rafa hits his forehand. Longish rally ends with Rafa netting the ball: 0-15. Stan pushes Rafa back and Rafa hits his backhand down the line wide. Rafa hits a service return long: 40-0. Stan holds: 1-1.

Rafa hits a smash right back to Stan, but it handcuffs him and he can’t return the ball: 15-0. Another smash winner, this time into the open court: 30-0. Mid rally, Rafa nets a ball and then makes an intense looking tight-lipped face: 30-15. Rafa hits a forehand wide: 30-30. Stan sends a service return long: 40-30. While running back, Rafa nets a forehand: deuce. Forehand winner from Rafa: 40-30. Rafa holds for 2-1.

Moving back, Rafa nets a backhand: 15-0. Stan moving Rafa and he can’t keep up: 30-0. Into the net, Stan pops off a winning volley: 40-0. Stan sends a backhand just wide: 40-30. Easy hold for Stan. He’s defending well AND playing aggressively. This could be a tight match!

The net cord slows down Stans ball, Rafa tracks it down and hits a winner: 15-0. Rafa sends a backhand wide: 15-15. Stan pushes Rafa way deep with a forehand, but Rafa hangs in…he can’t recover enough to take control of the point though and it ends with Stan hitting a winner at the net: 15-30. Stan nets a backhand: 30-30. Again: 40-30. Rafa runs up to tee off on a shortish ball from Stan and hits his forehand into the net: deuce. Long rally ends with Stan sending a ball just out: game point. Both players are all over the court until Stan hits a stretch winning volley at the net: deuce. Angled backhand shot from Stan goes just out: game point. Rafa holds…after a tough game. His holds are taking much, much longer than Stan’s.

TennisConnected: Nadal is going for Wawrinka’s legs early. As the legs go, Nadal begins to roll. Plain and simple.

Ataraxis00: What a point! Stan is serious about this. No roll over today.

Based on how it looks on TV, I don’t think Rome is the tournament to attend if you are prone to vertigo.

Rafa’s not sure about a service call and asked Carlos to come check the mark. Carlos says it’s in and the unofficial hawkeye agrees: Ace. Pushed back, Stan nets a ball: 15-15. Stan runs way around a short ball and hits a winning forehand. Rafa sends a service return sailing: 40-15. Another easy hold for Stan: 3-3.

Stan sends a forehand wide: 15-0. Rafa pulls Stan wide and draws a forehand error: 30-0. Rafa moves Stan wide to his backhand and draws an error. Rafa holds at love – that’s more like it.

Couple caught snogging on the jumbotron – everyone whistles and applauds.

Rafa send a ball long: 15-0. Wide this time: 30-0. Pushed deep and wide, Rafa pops up a long defensive shot: 40-0. Still strolling on his serve, Stan holds a love again: 4-4.

Rafa hits and aggressive forehand, follows it into the net and Stan nets the passing attempt: 15-0. Pushed wide, Stan sends a forehand way wide: 30-0. Smash and a vamos! 40-0. Double fault: 40-15. Fierce forehand winner from Stan: 40-30. Stan is constructing his points very well. Stan sends a serve reply wide and Rafa holds for 5-4.

Mid rally, Rafa nets a ball: 15-0. Rafa pulls Stan in with a dropper that he can’t reach before the second bounce: 15-15. Rafa pulls Stan wide to his forehand and then follows it up with a fierce forehand down the line to the other side of the court: 15-30. Stan sends a backhand wide: 15-40. Good serve draws a defensive reply that Stan smacks for a winner: 30-40. Nice shots from Rafa: Stepping it up at just the right time, Rafa breaks and takes the first set: 6-4. Stepping it up at just the right time, Rafa breaks and takes the first set: 6-4. Amazing. 9 winners; 9 URFs; 5/6 at net, 78% first serves in; 49 minutes.
They are playing Gypsy. I think Stan might be dying a little because of that.

Stan has won 51% of the points and still is down a set.

RD_Tennistalk: think about how Wawrinka played that set, and he did not even win it, or even get to a tiebreaker.

Rafa sends a shot out: 0-15. Mid rally, Rafa attempts a dropper off a horrid bounce and can’t get the ball over the net: 30-30. Rafa sends a shot wide: 30-40. Rafa pushes Stan back and then hits an angled cross-court forehand winner: deuce. Mid-rally, Rafa sends a ball well out: break point. Fierce fast and deep forehand followed into the net and a winning volley: deuce. Beauty of a short angled dropper: game point. Another drop attempt, this one sucked: deuce. Rafa seems to have started more of an “up and back” game with Stan instead of always working him side to side. Will it work? Stan sends a forehand just long: game point. Finally, Rafa holds.

Stan sends a shot just long: 0-15. Rafa returns the favor: 15-15. Excellent forehand winner off of a defensive second serve return from Rafa: 30-15. Stan puts a forehand in the middle of the doubles alley: 30-30. An aggressive second serve return puts Rafa in the driver’s seat, he gives it back a bit with his next shot, but Stan sends his ball wide: 30-40. Rafa steps around a backhand and whacks the hell out of a forehand to break. He’s up 2-0.

Stan sends a ball long: 30-0. Short, angled cross-court backhand winner from Rafa: 40-0. Rafa sends a forehand just wide: 40-15. Stress-free hold for Rafa. He’s up 3-0.

Easy hold for Stan for 1-3.

Stan nets a backhand: 15-0. Fierce forehand; follow into net; winning volley: 30-0. Double fault: 30-15. Stan sends a service return well out: 40-15. Beauty of a backhand winner from Stan: 40-30. Serve out wide; next shot to other corner; into net to deal with defensive reply: game to Rafa. He leads 4-1.

Stan nets a forehand: 0-30. Lovely point from Rafa – gets Stan out of position and then comes into the net for a drop volley winner: 0-30. Rafa tries to tee off on a forehand serve return, but nets it: 15-30. Double fault: 15-40. Stan pushes Rafa deep, comes into the net and Rafa can’t deal with the next shot: 30-40. Defensive serve return and Stan knocks off a winner from mid-court: deuce. Rafa pulls Stan wide and draws a forehand error: break point. Rafa breaks! He can serve it out now.

After taking about a half hour to serve…Ace: 15-0. Stan sends a ball well long: 30-0. Rafa sends a forehand just wide: 30-15. Stan sends a ball long: 40-15. Rafa is through to the semis with a 6-4, 6-1 win.

66 Responses

  1. RAFAHolic1 says:

    Great match! Ready for his Semi!!! VAMOS!!!!

  2. Silhouette says:

    “how did Rafa win that set” moments
    yeah exactly how did Rafa win that set? I suppose he was able to handle the big points a lot better than Stans. It was rather nail-biting for me in the first set. Love the way Rafa came to the net today. I think he played a lot better yesterday though. Still, he’s through!!! Vamos Rafa!!!

    • An says:

      Yep, exactly… Stan was having Rafa under pressure in the rally and was able to push him back in the first set…. ( maybe what Rafa said yesterday about the ball being a lot more crazy during day and being a lot more slow at night explains why he was playing better yesterday ) but on the realy important points Rafa was soooooo determined and that made a difference! Like the commentators where saying, its almost as iff he’s imuum for the pressure this days. When Stan eventually had to serve to stay in the first set tough he cracked under that pressure, that cost him the 1st set wich i realy think he should have won!

      But Rafa stepped it up from there en never looked back!

    • Atch2 says:

      Would luv to read Rafa’s presser to know why he had such a slow start. His timing and confidence wasn’t there from the like in his previous matches.

  3. Stf says:

    I seriously have no clue how Rafa got the first set. :p He just played well the points that mattered. Not as good as yesterday but Stan played a really good match and that kind of unsettled Rafa. Good thing that he didn’t let Stan take over and took control of the match when he had to. On to the semis, we’re getting closer to yet another title. ;)

    Btw, Gypsy again? Are the Italians going to make a habit out of it now? ;)

  4. Nana says:

    This is the sternest test Rafa has faced in the clay season! But he managed to up his level and won the second set 6-1. I’m sure he’s gonna say the scoreline looks easier that it really was and I will agree with him. He had much more difficulty holding serve than Stan in the first set and I was on edge all the while.

    I really should go to bed but I feel I should leave my comments here after the match as I have done this week. It’s like my own mini superstition now…

    • Nana says:

      Btw, maybe the long wait in the locker room explained the tight start. He said on FB he was ready hours ago.

  5. An says:

    Stan was the man! He played UNBELIEVABLE in the first set….
    But Rafa is king!!!!!!

    Awesome job Rafa…
    VAMOS!

  6. tiemyshoe says:

    miri, you scare me how fast you are. Are you a computer? ;)

    Stan the Stern Swiss steady, still stymied by studly Spanish steamroller.

    • miri says:

      *bleep bloop* (Wait, shhh! don’t let anyone hear that)

      Uh, no? :) I hate the title though. I couldn’t think of anything better…and there you go with a better one. Alliteration makes me swoon. kefuoe was rocking it on twitter yesterday.

      • Stf says:

        Title should be Gypsy: revisited. :p

        • miri says:

          Eh, enough with that word – especially since I don’t like it.

          • tiemyshoe says:

            I’m not down with the word or the song itself, but I like what it gets out of Rafa. I wonder if he hears it and is like, “Oh, riiight – I’m a BAD. ASS. MOTHERFUCKER.” *ding*!

      • CC says:

        You hate the title?! I can’t think of anything better than the word “steamy” in relation to Rafa. Rafa in a hot, steamy shower… Rafa in a hot, steamy kiss… Rafa in a hot, steamy…

        *faints*

        • an says:

          Sauna, hot tub, body painting session…. Trying to make up anything else then what you mean, not working… F**k.

          • CC says:

            F-ck. You said it right there! ;)

            • An says:

              I know… ;)

              • rubik says:

                miri, I do agree 100% with these ladies, for entirely different reasons, but the end result is exactly the same : I like your title “Rome: Steamy” a lot.

                Fits very well with Nadal’s tennis game today and his match vs Wawrinka (who played extremely well, particularly in the 1st set, but throughout the match really) in Rome this afternoon: there was something definitely “Steamy” about the Nadal’s match in Rome today.

                But no matter the ups and downs, the rights and lefts, Nadal is truly an unbelievable tennis player! No matter how many times I have watched him play over the years, some of Nadal’s tactics, plays and shots live me breathless!

                Something very nice today: Nadal’s play was more consistently offensive in his overall approach – some very good net approaches/plays – some truly amazing forehands – OUTSTANDING play on the truly important points (in my opinion, this last point is where he truly got Wawrinka today).

                VAMOS, Nadal!

                • rubik says:

                  Correction: I meant “leave me breathless”

                  • rubik says:

                    miri, I forgot to mention: I thoroughly enjoyed reading your “As it happened blatherings” when I got home this evening. I watched the Nadal’s QF match with some guys at the office this afternnon and I must tell you: your “blatherings” on your site during the Nadal’s QF match against Wawrinka in Rome beat those guys’ comments during the match all the way from here to Rome!

  7. Vamos! says:

    Davis Cup Team in the semifinal? :)))

    • Adriana says:

      I hope so! But Feliciano is quite… inestable. Not to mention that clay is not completely suitable for his game. But we’ll see. I’d love that to happen X)))

  8. patzin says:

    Rafa played a very determined first set. Second set is seemed to find his game, flow, and plowed on through to win decisively. Well done – on to the semi’s.

  9. miri says:

    Guess I’m painting my fingernails blue tonight – even though they are very short now.

    WTF, you ask? Well, the Friday evening after the Monte-Carlo semis, I painted my nails blue. (I’ve spent a lifetime biting them, suddenly stopped for no reason and felt like celebrating.) While watching the match Saturday, I realized the nail polish was the exact same color as Rafa’s shirt. So, since I’m not superstitious at all (*ahem*), perhaps I should paint them the same color again tonight…

    • Nana says:

      Just do it!

      =P

    • gundu_nimmy says:

      Atleast you just have to paint your nails once a tournament.

      During MC, I found out me wearing purple brought luck to Rafa, so ended up wearing purple five days in a row (and I had to shower before 7 in the morning and get all dressed up before his matches start!). And this week, I’m all blue, not the lighter one rafa is wearing, a deep dark blue.

      Keeping fingers crossed and wearing blue for two more days!

      • dutchgirl says:

        So, I’m not the only one that wears certain clothes on Rafa-match-days :))
        Not that we’re supersticious or anything…

        • miri says:

          Not superstitious. Just a little stitious.

          • Dolcefuga says:

            Oh, everyone is so witty and quick in this site, I love it! I learn new words everyday, keep it coming.

          • killian says:

            Very funny: just a little stitious. i would wear THAT on a shirt! :D

        • gundu_nimmy says:

          Not just outfits; same jewelery too. And not to mention thousand other things in my house that are arranged to be the same way from one match to another!

    • CC says:

      Heh. I’ve just painted my nails exactly the colour of Rafa’s 2009 French Open shirt. Just sayin’… :D

      • an says:

        well…. I just had my nails done on some market they are organising evrywhere in our country today to celebrate queens day, a day in honour off the birthday off our queen.. in the colours off our flag: red, white, blue and orange.. I’ll be sure to remove it 1st thing tomorrow… Just in case..

    • Fay says:

      Oh please do, paint them blue!

    • miri says:

      Nails are blue – sloppy and way too short to be done a color like this, but blue. (Honestly, I’m far too old to be learning how to do this girlie stuff.)

      • Silhouette says:

        The only superstition I have is that Rafa shouldn’t Facebook during tournaments! When he Facebooked previously during tournaments, he didn’t go on to win them. And he didn’t Facebook during Monte Carlo and he won!!! So much as I love his updates on Facebook, I rather he doesn’t Facebook at tournaments.

  10. Nic says:

    The huge smile when Rafa finished off match point was a big signal of how happy Rafa felt coming through a very stern test. Not his best in the first set, indeed Stan was holding serve much easier, but yet out of nowhere Rafa completely takes the opportunity by the horns on Stan’s service game and runs away with the first set!! Right under our noses. Just shows, patience and persistence eventually bears fruit when the time is right. Then Rafa was tested so heavily on his opening game of the second set, but once he got thru that, it was total anihilation til the end. Poor Stan, to play so well in the first and end up with nothing to show for it. He looked so deflated at the handshake at the net. Love Rafa smiling and smiling after the match. Vamos Rafa!! On to the semis my honey!!

    • Stf says:

      It just shows that Rafa is in that state of mind where he just refuses to lose or be broken. I love it!

  11. loverafa4ever says:

    I saw just the beginning of the set I was really worried. Never ever thought that Rafa will win the second set 6-1. Soo happy to see our guy in the semis! Nobody is going 2 stop him from winning the title now! :D

  12. Isabelle says:

    The first set was a bit of a stomach wrencher for me and then it all shifted soo fast. S.W. came out swinging but couldn’t sustain it against Rafa, one step closer!!! Correct me if I am wrong but it doesn’t appear that they have hawk-eye, why would they build a new stadium and not install it??

    • Stf says:

      I don’t think any of the clay court tournaments have hawk-eye, because the marks are visible on clay. Might be wrong though. We do see an instant replay.

      Anyone can come out swinging against Rafa but to beat him, they have to be in the same level during all the match. Not many players can do that, keep up with him.

      • Isabelle says:

        Thanks, yes that occured to me about the marks on clay but I just couldn’t remember from past clay tournaments whether or not there was ever hawk-eye…

  13. Marilyn Wasserman says:

    I think TennisConnected had it right. Rafa went for Stan’s legs – and nerves. Even if he had to wear Stan down by having long service games of his own, lol. Gotta be a gut-punch, playing like that then losing the set 6-4. And then you look up and see Rafa on the other side of the net, tucking his hair behind his ears and tugging at his underwear. And a set up.

  14. dutchgirl says:

    It was strange, the match seemed so tight in the first set, but Rafa still managed to get that one (as you say, it seemed to come out of nowhere), and got the job done in 1,5 hour!

    It made me happy to see him smiling after the win, it’s like it shows he’s back on his ‘home ground’, ‘his’ surfrace.

  15. Atch2 says:

    WHEW!

    Stan the man, you gave me such a scare. How did You NOT win the 1st set? The stats were in your favour, except you didn’t get any break points which surprised me.

    Rafa, proud that you hung on to your serve and raised your game when it mattered. This scare can only make us stronger.

    (Uncle Toni’s cap seemed to have shrunk)

    VAMOS.

  16. CC says:

    Well, bloody hell Rafa. I don’t think I’ve ever sworn at you as much as I did during that first set. My mum would not have been proud of me. And then you go on and win it! How did that happen?!

    Anyway. Vamos!!!

    May I just add that I love Stan. He’s one of those low profile players that lets his tennis talk. I like that.

  17. MJ says:

    Love Rafa!! Love all of you and your funny comments, love this website…Love knowing that we will all be watching together tomorrow with blue nail polish and purple shirts, etc!!! Very Happy!!!! VAMOS!!!

  18. Fay says:

    Well it was the first time in a few weeks I braced myself to watch a Rafa match, and during the first set I was beginning to think that I had jinxed him by watching him, god that was scary, SW was serving well, defending well and attacking well, coupled with holding serve well and putting Rafa’s underpressure the whole time, I mean for a moment there Rafa got a little rattled and I thought that he was going to lose his colm’, but he surprised me when SW was serving to stay in the set at 4-5, he just wobbled and of course Rafa took advantage… he upped his game, went on the attack and it payed dividence.. I was so relieved, On to Gulbis tommorow, he has troubled Rafa in the past, so I am gonna be even more nervous tommorow… I hope Rafa isn’t nervous, he has to perform well tommorow, Gulbis is serving lights out at the moment..

    • wendya says:

      Yes – I’ve been following his matches…Gulbis is playing really well. I thought he would be tired in his match tonight, but unfortunately he just seems to be getting better with more confidence. I would really like to see Rafa thrash Gulbis because I find him really irritating, but I have a feeling that he might cause Rafa some problems. I know everyone says Rafa is playing well at the moment, but to me he doesn’t seem to be as confident as at MC, and he is making quite a few errors as if he is tired or his focus isn’t quite there, although he did really well to get through such as difficult match toniight without dropping a set to Stan. I hope I’m wrong and he gives that upstart Gulbis a pasting tomorrow! Good luck Rafa! x

      • wendya says:

        It would be really shit if Rafa managed to come through his terrible draw, with the Sod, Nole and Federer all out of the way, just to be beaten by Gulbis!

  19. Louisa says:

    Yay, great news to wake up to ’cause I was a little worried about Stan. What happened in the 2nd set, did Stan crumble or Rafa upped his game? Wish I had seen the Djok vs Fer match too as it looked like a close one. Now I’m worried about Verdasco, seems the dude is on fire!!

    • wendya says:

      Yes, Nando was really on fire against Nole. I’m not sure whether he will have much left in the tank to play Feru tomorrow tho’. It was a great match. They both fought really hard. They knocked seven shades out of one another, it could have gone either way in the end!

    • Marilyn Wasserman says:

      Rafa says he upped his game. I thought Stan crumbled. Take your pick, lol! Rafa did break him at the end of the first set by getting farther into the court and using some nifty drop shots. Really, I don’t know that you’d call it crumbling. Rafa missed a few shots early in the first set. Stan started missing quite a bit in the 2nd set and while he served very well early he had a lot of trouble with his first serve in the games where he was broken.

      Nole’s play was very inconsistent. The first set was competitive, the second set was pretty bad from both, one of those ‘can’t anyone hold serve?’ sets. The third set saw some excellent play from both but Fer got it together – he may have been holding back in the 2nd, resting up for a big push – and Nole did not. Fer’s played a LOT of tennis in the past few weeks and he’s gotta take on “the human backboard” tomorrow. Ferru looked sharp vs Tsonga.

  20. vamsi mohana says:

    sounds like the match was gr8
    again the same case stan plays his best match and ends up being beaten by sticks

    vamos rafa
    the champ of rome

  21. Nada H T says:

    1st set, scared the hell out of me

    I shouted at my little niece and nephew

    who are under 3 years old :$

    I was very nervous ! I guess we all were mad

    but then I enjoyed myself watching the second set

    Considering Gulbis, I saw him once, can’t recall when

    he used to play good tennis. I hope it’s not his best

    this week ;p

  22. Eva says:

    Isn’t it reassuring to read Steve Tignor’s (huge Rafa fan who understands Rafa inside-out) assessment of yesterday’s match?

    “Finding the Next Next Level

    Rafael Nadal looked good in Monte Carlo last week, calm and confident. Today against Stan Wawrinka, who came out firing from the start, he appeared to ascend another step closer to his 2008 form. It’s one thing to go for your shots, and make your shots, when you’re trailing. It’s another to go for bigger shots, and still make them, when you’re down break point. That’s how Nadal overcame and eventually ground down Wawrinka. That’s what he did when he was at his best. That’s what No. 1 players have to do, and which Nadal hasn’t done for months. You know Rafa has it going when Uncle Toni, world-famous hard-a$$, is out of his seat and nodding.”

    http://tennisworld.typepad.com/thewrap/2010/04/10-pensieros.html