Rome: The Master of Rome

Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/ AFP/ Getty Images

Another Master Serious 1000 clay final and Rafa faces another Spaniard – this time, #17 David Ferrer. Oh, and there was a 3rd opponent this day: the rain. Both players were holding serve when play was halted for rain in the 9th game of the 1st set. When they returned, David finished his hold, but was broken in the 12th game and the first set was Rafa’s 7-5. Rafa broke in the 3rd game of the 2nd set and play was then suspended for 2 hours. As it turns out, they could have just called it a day then. Rafa went on to break for 5-2 and served it out the next game. Rafa wins his 5th Rome Master and ties Agassi’s record of 17 Masters: 7-5, 6-2.

Stats:

Nadal Ferrer
Statistics on Serve
Aces 3 1
Double Faults 0 5
1st Serve % 80% 72%
1st Serve Points Won 34/44 (77%) 36/58 (62%)
2nd Serve Points Won 7/11 (64%) 9/23 (39%)
Break Points Saved 1/1 (100%) 10/13 (77%)
Service Games Played 10 10
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 22/58 (38%) 10/44 (23%)
Second Return Points Won 14/23 (38%) 4/11 (36%)
Break Points Won 3/13 (23%) 0/1 (%)
Return Games Played 10 10
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 41/55 (75%) 45/81 (56%)
Total Return Points Won 36/81 (44%) 14/55 (25%)
Total Points Won 77/136 (57%) 59/136 (43%)
Other Stats
Winners 24 15
Unforced errors 17 30
Net Approaches 13/17 (43%) 7/13 (35%)

As it happened blatherings:

Ah, they do the prom picture before the coin toss – this means Rafa can run to the baseline right after without having to stop. Heh. Looks like Rafa won the toss and will receive.

Carlos Bernades in the chair.

David starts us off with a serve that Rafa can’t get back: 15-0. Long rally with Rafa at first moving David right and left and then picking on his backhand ends with a wild miss hit forehand from Rafa: 30-0. Rafa steps in on a short backhand from David and fires off a forehand winner: 30-15. Rafa fires off a forehand that David can’t make it to. Rafa’s return of serve is long: 40-30. David nets a backhand – looked like he was going for a drop shot: deuce. Rafa sends a service return long: game point. A forehand winner from David and he takes the first game.

Looks like it’s raining there.

Drop shot from Rafa that David barely tracks down, but the reply is long: 30-0. Ace: 40-0. Rafa sends a forehand long: 40-15. A long rally ends with a short angled forehand winner from Rafa: 1-1.

Rafa’s backhand service return goes long: 15-0. David’s serve is called out, Rafa looks at the mark says it is good, 1st serve. Drop shot that Rafa tracks down, but the backhand reply goes well wide: 30-0. Rafa miss hits a service return: 40-0. David’s backhand is wide: 40-15. Ace.

risha_: Is it slightly crazy that Rafa’s disgusted, “that was a shite drop shot, can’t believe i hit that” face is something I find ADORABLE? Yeahhh

Another miss hit from Rafa: 0-15. David nets the service return: 15-15. David’s backhand is wide: 30-15. David picking on Rafa’s forehand until he draws an error: 30-30. David takes control of the point with a fierce forehand, but Rafa will have none of that and passes him with a fierce shot of his own. 40-30. Rafa holds for 2-2.

Ataraxis00: I don’t like the Chia Pet look. Rafa needs to shave.

David drops; Rafa replies; David’s lob is just wide: 0-15. David slips, but it didn’t seem likely he was going to get to the shot anyway: 0-30. Rafa sends a forehand wide: 15-30. David sends a forehand well wide: 15-40. Rafa frames a service return: 30-40. Another error from Rafa: deuce. David into the net and hits a decent volley, but Rafa fires a forehand cross court passing shot: break point. David pulls Rafa in with a drop shot, Rafa returns down the line and David hits a cross court backhand passing shot winner: deuce. Again David’s serve is call out, but Rafa overrules and it’s 1st serve. David can’t get a deep slice from Rafa back over the net: break point. Pushed deep, Rafa can’t get a backhand into the court: deuce. Fierce forehand down the line winner from Rafa: break point. David responds with his own forehand winner: deuce. David pushes Rafa wide and draws a forehand error: game point. A forehand winner and David holds for 3-2.

TennisLuvah: Rafa’s bp conversion still kinda sucking ass lol :/

loltennis: @nadalnews and he doesn’t have an excuse like yesterday because ferrer is nowhere as big a server as gulbis

Indeed.

Rafa nets a backhand: 0-15. Forehand down the line winner from Rafa: 15-15. Rafa into the net, but the volley sits up a bit and David hits a winner: 15-30. The windy is waving hello. Serve, defensive reply, Rafa into the net for a winner: 30-30. Rafa hits a forehand behind David for a clean winner: 40-30. Again: 3-3.

Double fault: 0-15. David nets a ball: 0-30. Aggressive play from David pays off: 15-30. Rafa sends a forehand into the net: 30-30. Rafa nets a service return: 40-30. Again and David holds.

kefuoe: Ferrer grunting like he means it now.

What a point! Up, back, behind the back, oh crap, I’m running the wrong way…it had it all. Finished with an overhead winner from Rafa: 15-0. David nets a backhand: 30-0. At 40-0, Rafa sends a shot long and then starts trying to get something out of his eye: 40-15. Rafa holds for 4-4.

Rain is picking up.

Ataraxis00: Rafa’s range is still off. This set should have been over.

Ball kids missed a ball and Rafa’s not happy about it. Rafa nets service return ball: 30-0. Again: 40-0. Rafa pulls David wide and draws an error: 40-15.
I made a vid of the point of awesomeness during the delay: here.

Players back on the court and warming up.

Double fault: 40-30. With a drop shot of perfection, Ferrer holds for 5-4.

Rafa miss times a backhand: 0-15. Rafa nets a forehand: 0-30. Second serve. David nets the return: 15-30. Second serve. David nets a drop shot attempt: 30-30. Pulled wide, David nets a service return: 40-30. David tries to finish off a point with an aggressive forehand, but it’s out: 5-5.

Rafa nets a ball: 15-0. Fierce down the line forehand winner from Rafa: 15-15. Rafa really shouldn’t have let that one ball bounce, but he still manages to win the point: 15-30. Two defensive shots from Rafa, David tees off on a forehand and Rafa’s reply is just out: 30-30. Rafa nets a forehand: 40-30. David goes for a forehand, but it’s wide: deuce. This time, the same forehand works for him: game point. David stepping into the court nicely there. Forehand down the line winner from the baseline for Rafa: deuce. Good serve from David and Rafa can’t get the ball back into play: game point. Second serve. Double fault (oh, Daveeeed): deuce. Forehand from David is wide: break point. David nets a forehand and Rafa breaks for 6-5.

TennisConnected: Gaston Gaudio is the only player to defeat Nadal three times on Clay. Federer has two wins.

Ataraxis00: Uncle Toni approves of the aggressive approach. So do I. Rafa is still off a bit, but breaks anyway.

A long rally ends with Rafa sending a forehand long: 0-15. Ferrer’s turn: 15-15. Short defensive shot from Rafa, David steps in and taps a drop shot winner: 15-30. Ace down the middle: 30-30. Playing inside the court, David hits an angled backhand winner: 30-40. David can’t get a service return back into the court: deuce. Hugging the baseline, Rafa moves David left,right and back and then comes into the net for a winning volley: game and set point. Rafa holds and takes the first set 7-5. 67 minutes; 78% first serves in; 16 winners; 14 UFEs; 9/11 net points won.

TennisLuvah: Hope winning the first set can help him relax a little. He’s playing a bit tight, IMO.

Rafa pulls David out wide, follows it into the net and pops off a nice backhand volley winner: 15-30. David nets a forehand: 15-40. Lovely backhand winner from David: 30-40. Pushed back, Rafa sends a ball long: deuce. Lovely forehand winner from David: game point. David nets a ball: deuce. Rafa nets a second serve return: game point. A forehand from David goes just long: deuce. Pushed deep and wide, Rafa nets a forehand: game point. Another nice drop shot from David and holds: 1-0.

A dropper pulls Rafa into the net and he knocks off a winner: 15-0. Nice backhand winner from Rafa: 30-0. David sends a shot wide: 40-0. With an ace down the middle, Rafa holds at love.

A long rally ends with Rafa at the net (chased down a short defensive ball from David) and knocking off a winner: 0-15. Rafa’s shot is called long, questioned and Carlos overrules. Hawkeye confirms it caught a smidge of the line. David’s shot is out: 0-30. David nets a backhand: 0-40. Second serve. David pushes Rafa well deep with a fierce backhand: 15-40. Rafa sends a forehand wide: 30-40. Fierce down the line forehand that Rafa can’t really get a racket on – he tripped trying to get there: deuce. David sends a shot out: break point. Rafa breaks for a 2-1 lead.

kefuoe: With all this rain, I’m wondering if these boys might be more comfortable playing shirtless.

Play suspended due to rain.

And about two hours later, the players are back on court to start a warm up.

Rafa adds a bit of a skip-jump to his run back to the service line.

David seems content to just send some short balls back. Rafa eventually pushes him deep and wide to draw an error: 15-0. David tries to step in, but Rafa pushes him back again and draws an error: 30-0. David sends a ball wide: 40-0. Oooo…nice, Rafa. He holds at love for a 3-1 lead.

Serve out wide, Rafa nets the reply: 15-0. Repeat into opposite corner: 30-0. David nets a forehand: 30-15. Rafa goes for a down the line winner, but it’s just wide: 40-15. Another serve out wide that Rafa can’t really get to. David holds for 2-3.

How did Rafa get to and hit a winner off that wide forehand? Amaze: 30-15. Pushed back, he hits a backhand wide: 30-30. Rafa holds for 4-2.

David does a good job of moving Rafa and then manages to chase down Rafa’s drop shot and give a nice volley return. He smacks Rafa’s next volley attempt for a winner: 15-0. Backhand winner from Rafa: 15-15. Double fault: 15-30. Again! 15-40. Then he sends a ball long. I think that’s called breaking your own serve. Rafa can serve it out next.

Rafa pushes David deep and draws him wide and gets an error: 15-0. David sends a backhand long: 30-0. Rafa miss hits a forehand: 30-15. Pushed deep and wide, David sends a floater back and Rafa knocks it off at the net for a winner: championship point. David’s shot goes long and Rafa wins: 7-5, 6-2. His 5th Rome Masters and he’s now tied with Agassi’s 17 Masters titles.

83 Responses

  1. Jk says:

    Nothing sweeter than victory. His confidence should be high with French Open around the corner. Funny how the media and critics are all praises for him while only 2 month ago he was written off. People said he has not beaten a top 10 player other than Tsonga since August and actually it’s funny that he is still to beat a top 10 player other than Tsonga.

    But these two titles should do him world of good and shut up his critics.

    Also I am confident that a resugent Rafa will be good motivation for Federer and expect to see a different Federer in Madrid.

    Well done Rafa get some good rest try your best at Madrid but be your best in Paris.

    Vamos!!

    • Stf says:

      Well, it’s not his fault that all top seeds lose before playing against him, is it? :p And actually, I don’t think he would have a problem beating anyone at this point.

      • Jk says:

        Stf you misunderstood me. Of course it’s not his fault he didn’t get to play a top 10 player. I am just saying that winning changes everything and shuts the media people up.
        No one will talk about his knees. And say for instance he decides to pull out of Madrid there will be 1000 reporters asking knee questions.
        I guess that’s the price you pay for being an A list athlete. Hehe

      • Ch F says:

        I think that’s valid for the way he played in MC. In Rome he seemed a bit more vulnerable. But the mentality is slowly coming back; I’d rather see Rafa not at his very best but mentally strong enough to win the big points when he has to than see him play brilliant tennis for a while and then squander championship points (ie Doha).
        Of course the combination of both would be ideal ;-)

      • Fay says:

        I’ll pray for that Stf!

    • Ch F says:

      It’s the media’s job to create commotion. Otherwise their life would be too boring ;-) I’ve noticed that ever since Rafa started playing good on clay, especially after MC, they started seeing the glass half-full instead of half-empty. They’re all too predictable.

      • solaris says:

        Right. And now all the sports writers are questioning Federer after few bad tournaments. It’s nice that Rafa and Federer are defending each other against the media crap.

  2. snowyc says:

    amazing!!

  3. ali says:

    congratulations rafa! everyone is so happy.

  4. tiemyshoe says:

    Oooh, another good thing: Rafa’s got no more titles to defend until NEXT SPRING. So many points possible to gain. *rubs hands together deliciously*

    • Jk says:

      Yup. Well said :)

      • Zooni says:

        Thanks for pointing that out, just the icing on an already very sweet cake this evening! I can’t wait for him to start gaining on the top 2 again, shouldn’t be long I hope!

    • Els says:

      No more titles to defend is correct, but he has 600 points to defend in Madrid (reached the final there last year). But: will he play in Madrid this year, that seems the question. For his knees, maybe he’d better take some rest? Or does he need to play more before RG? I wonder what he will decide …

      • Phyzzie says:

        Rafa’s own website says he will play Madrid.

      • miri says:

        Yeah, he still has points to defend, but the good thing is he has the possibility of gaining points at every tournament for the rest of the year.

      • Stf says:

        Something tells me that he will go to Madrid. It’s still 600 points and he might want to be close enough to Djokovic, points wise. In theory, he could regain not only his number 2 spot but in the best case scenario for him and the worst case scenario for Fed, he could also regain the number 1 spot after RG, someone correct me if I’m wrong on that one. It’s a pretty good thing that he will have a week’s rest when Fed will be playing Estoril and Djokovic will be playing Belgrade. Still, I’m pretty sure that his goal is to recapture RG but maybe he will consider Madrid to be another good test for him.

    • Fay says:

      Yes well said, tiemyshoe. Although considering what happened at the FO last year with the crowd “me thinks” that Rafa will be nervous… these things never used to get to him but it was the way it all happened last year that really upset him prehaps.. It all depends how he is player, too, and of course how the draw is panned out.. I watched the match just now all the way through its much easier I can tell you, knowing he has won, and I thought in the 2nd set he really turned up the heat and found his range on both his inside forehand,up the line forehand but especially the b/h wing, much better today. Uncle Toni looked one relieved man..

  5. Alison says:

    So happy for Rafa and also everyone on this excellent site for keeping the faith as we’ve had some tough times during the last 11 months!
    Loved seeing the return yesterday of my mentally tough Gladiator Rafa. All I need to see now please is that French trophy back in the hands (and teeth)of its rightful owner and the normal order of the universe will be restored! :)

  6. TeamNadal says:

    Vamos Rafa!!!!! Congrats on your 17th!!!!!

  7. CJ says:

    here is a link to the video of that crazy = everything but the kitchen sink shot –

  8. annabelle says:

    Vamos, Rafa!!! You are the King of Clay! Enjoy your wonderful victory!

  9. Fay says:

    Yes, a big Vaaaaammmoooooossssss! indeed..

  10. Silhouette says:

    So happy that Rafa triumphed again!!!! While not as emotional as in Monte Carlo, he was all smiles after winning the championship point to walking to the umpire. I wondered what jokes were going on in camp Nadal during the prize presentation?!?! But I feel for Ferrer. He understandly didn’t look happy and when he stood further apart from the prize presenters during the group photo shots, I felt really sad for him. And then Rafa made it all better by talking to Ferrer and even managed to get a small smile from Ferrer. Don’t we all love him for that?? :D
    Rafa has yet to reach the form he’s got in Monte Carlo. But things are still looking good for him seeing now that he is back to winning the really big points. So, VAMOS Rafa!!!!

    • Fay says:

      No he wasn’t at the same form as MC prehaps because the courts were different, but most importantly it all worked in his favour like he said he was able to win when playing not so well, which in turn was a big step in his favour, he needs some tough wins when things get match tight and especially the Gulbis match, thats excatly what he got. Vamos Rafa always.!

  11. GroundStroke says:

    congratulation to rafa for winning the back to back ATP 1000 titles, surely he will gain lots of point from there..

    such good play with determination, otherwise he could have loose to ernest in the semi.

    although he did brilliantly in this 2 tournamets, i think he urgently need to look back to his recent performance, its kind of dipping on each matches, correct me if i am wrong..

    the coming madrid open will have more tops players like del potro, roddick etc, so it will not be an easy passage for him in the past 2 tournaments. he definately need to be sharper and better then before if he want to win it here.

    good work, and i am enjoying to see him winning and hopefully he can break agassi’s record there.

    rgds,

    • An says:

      Well, i only know this, as Rafa explained it to uss on several ocassions this week:

      On the courts off Rome, compared to MC, the balls fly a lot more, he called it ” the ball is a lot more crazy here” ( i remember him saying that last year too ) and therefore its more difficult to control the ball…
      The court is different, the balls are possibly from a different brand or type…
      All factors that can influence the play!
      And you simply cannot always play at youre peak level….

      Madrid will be another master serious 1000, another tournament with difficult opponents for Rafa… we’ll see waht happens in Madrid!

    • Stf says:

      As far as I know, Delpo won’t be ready for Madrid and if he is, I’m sure he’ll be pretty rusty, with 3 months out of the tour. Roddick…well, he’s known not to like clay so his results there aren’t the best. I think Rafa was supposed to face his most serious opponents in Rome, it just never happened. But definitely, Madrid and RG aren’t going to be a walk in the park.

  12. gio says:

    I don’t feel too sorry for Daveed. He made ove $300,000 yesterday.

  13. gio says:

    Sorry, I meant over $300,000.

    Add to that 7650 euros for 1st round [over $10,000], 14,500 euros for 2nd [about 20 grand],
    27,500 E’s for round 3 [almost 40 grand], 53,000 E’s for quarter [75 grand] 103,450 E’s for semi [$150,000], he made around $600,000 last week. Congratulations, David. That’s amazing.

    • An says:

      Well for one thing, it doesnt work that way! It doesnt add up…. He gets the amount for the loosing finalist.

      It sure still is a lot off money but don’t forget that they have a lot off costs too. All the traveling and staying in hotels, paying a coach a physiotherapist and so on…
      Off course it leaves the top-players more then enough to have a good life, i’m not trying to say that but i do think the players are not there for the money anyway, they are there because they love to compete and they simply love winning, they are there for the honour and i think Daviiiid wanted the honour off wining an ATP masters 1000 just as bad as Rafa wanted to win another… So, David was a little dissapointed for losing and i too do feel a little sorry for him for that!

      • CC says:

        I agree, David would most likely have been happy to swap any prize money for a win yesterday.
        I don’t feel sorry for David either, but can you imagine what it must be like to work sooo hard week in, week out, fight for every point in every match and then…when you’re so close, you still don’t get the trophy?! Geez, I don’t know how they do it! Trulu remarkable.

        • Karen says:

          I’m so happy for Rafa and his whole team. Managed to stay tuned for entire match including rain delays but enjoyed replays of semi’s they kindly showed highlights of. Had to go out 5 minutes after ceremony so really appreciated Rafa finishing off quickly. What an absolute star he is. But we all know that already. A great end to a testing week for our boy. I love seeing him so happy, cheers me up no end!! Here’s to all RAFA fans & especially MIRI. Great work.

        • An says:

          Yep, must be verry hard….

          Imagine.. How emotional was Rafa after his MC win? His 1st win, for what he’d worked sooooo hard in 11 months, but his 16th in his careera and Daviiiid who has worked just as hard as Rafa, who is 5 years older then him but never has won 1 “masters serious 1000” jet… Who knows that no mather how hard he works and how well he plays there always is a Rafa a good friend off his, a teammate, against who’m he played 14 times but lost 11, who has punched him on the nose so many times already…
          Realy i admire his will to go out and try another time, to fight for everything he’s worth to maybe get that much desired win just once and thats why, altough i’m off course more then happy Rafa won, still feel a little sad for Daviiid too!

          • sia says:

            David should be congratulated … this was his first Master’s Final (and the finals are included in all of the most interesting stats). Don’t feel too sorry for him … you wouldn’t really want him to beat Rafa would you?

            • An says:

              No off course not! I did say that i was more then happy Rafa won, No? But that doesnt mean i can feel a little sorry for David too…. Can’t help it, i do….

              • sia says:

                I just watched David’s interview after the match … he should definitely be given some sort of prize for having the most dreamy, bedroom eyes. ;)

                • natch says:

                  Really? He reminds me of the comedian, Richard Lewis. They have the same (generally speaking) body type and movement. Even the shapes of their faces are somewhat alike. Whenever I see Ferrer wandering aimlessly along the baseline, I expect him to be muttering to the linespeople that it isn’t his fault because he is a recovering alcoholic and sexually frustrated! :D

                  • miri says:

                    I used to have a big crush on Richard Lewis. :) But maybe this explains why Richard Lewis showed up in my odd Rafa dream.

                • Susanna728 says:

                  I love his eyes too! Can’t tell if they’re light brown or green. I also think it’s adorable the way he puts his towel between his teeth on the changeovers. Not sure Daveed believes he can beat Rafa on clay in general, but after losing the first set, and in those strange rainy conditions, seems like it would be soo difficult to come back out and believe you could take the next two sets. I’m glad he’s doing better than last year, though. He’s up to #12 in the rankings now.

      • Fay says:

        An I totally agree, I think players like David would consider it an insult if anyone would even suggest that he was in the sport for the money, no these guys love the competition and they play with their heart.. with the exception of a few, its written all over Davids face, I have always liked Ferrer he gives it his all on the court and I respect him for that..