Madrid: Nike > K-Swiss

Photo by REUTERS/ Juan Medina

For today’s second quarterfinal in Madrid, Rafa played #18 Gael Monfils in near matching outfits from different brands. Again, work conspired to make me miss the match, but the scoreline speaks volumes: 6-1, 6-3. The bits I was able to hear sounded entertaining, but like Monfils was in way over his head and trying whatever he could think of but with no luck. Rafa’s through to the semis where he’ll play Almagro.


Stats:

Nadal Monfils
Statistics on Serve
Aces 1 3
Double Faults 1 7
1st Serve % 73% 54%
1st Serve Points Won 27/30 (90%) 24/36 (67%)
2nd Serve Points Won 6/11 (55%) 10/31 (32%)
Break Points Saved 2/2 (100%) 4/8 (50%)
Service Games Played 8 8
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 12/36 (33%) 3/30 (10%)
Second Return Points Won 21/31 (33%) 5/11 (45%)
Break Points Won 4/8 (50%) 0/2 (%)
Return Games Played 8 8
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 33/41 (80%) 34/67 (51%)
Total Return Points Won 33/67 (49%) 8/41 (20%)
Total Points Won 66/108 (61%) 42/108 (39%)

53 Responses

  1. sia says:

    Great photo … I was live streaming at work but not really able to watch … saw the end of the match … nice moment with Rafa and Gael. Rafa on fire … sounds like. Gael not serving so well.

  2. chelez says:

    Good match for Rafa. I think this is the least difficult match for him so far in the tournament. Monfils wasn’t a real threat. He was funny on court and he didn’t look so bitter when he lost ^^

    • Karen says:

      Great match, wasn’t bothered at all even when Monfils had break points as Rafa looked in complete control. Loved the amount of shorter rallies and net shots from Rafa. He’ll have plenty left in the tank tomorrow and might need it as it seems Nico is on fire! Vamos Rafa.

      • Stf says:

        I was just amazed that he didn’t have more winners! It seemed to me that he hit more than 16 winners and he made less than 16 errors. I’ve no idea how that happened.

      • djb says:

        I hope you remember what happened the last time Almagro vs. Nadal got hyped up??? Almagro got steamrolled!! I don’t expect anything less than a nice, comfortable win for Rafa tomorrow.

        • Ch F says:

          Oh I only remember the drama when they met in Paris, I think, Rafa was still fighting his way back to form, and he won the weirdest match ever. I hope tomorrow he’ll be much more focused.

        • ava says:

          Almagro is playing REALLY well. I think the match will be um…interesting.

    • Atch2 says:

      His coach wasn’t too pleased with the playfulness though.

      • chelez says:

        In most of the matches I’ve seen Gael in, he’s always like that. He seems to be playful and funny and he tries to get the crowd going

        • dutchgirl says:

          I like that in Gael. He’s always entertaining to watch. Such a shame his level isn’t always consistent.

      • aRafaelite says:

        Yeah, Roger Rasheed was looking like the dad who doesn’t know whether to laugh at or punish his son’s pranks! I love that “who cares?” attitude Gael has (though sometimes I wish he’d care a bit more ’cause he’s when he’s on, his athleticism and shot-making can be a joy to watch)! Gael had this to say after the match “I enjoy connecting with the crowd,” said Monfils. “I played my game as well as I could, but I was up against the best clay player on the planet and I lost so what can you do.”

        Too right! Rafa played a great game. Solid in every respect. He played really aggressive tennis, moving up the court and coming into the net often and winning points with volleys. He must have been chanelling Nalbandian or something. In just one game he served-and-volleyed 3 points! The joy!

        I thoroughly enjoyed this match, and have every confidence that Rafa is going to remind Nico of his place, and then go on to remind Ferru/Fed why he’s The King of Clay! VAMOS!

  3. An says:

    Gael run out off ideas, Rafa totaly overclassed him at the end off the 1st set and from that point on it looked like Gael had some problems wit his abdominals or so, lost concentration completly and was trying an all or nothing tactic… Rafa kept focus and it wasn’t a match anymore.

    I’d say he played verry well, at least in the 1st set, he was agressive and dominating!
    VAMOS!

    • djb says:

      Monfils is a bit too dramatic, a lot like Djokovic. But at least I can stand watching Djoker…….somewhat, lol. Really, Rafa was spot on today and was aggressive from the start. Doesn’t seem like Madrid is affecting his game all that much, to be honest. He’s just going out there and playing his game, and it’s working very well for him. From the looks of it, I can easily see him making more history on Sunday.

  4. djb says:

    Brilliant, just brilliant!! Great work from Rafa. Good thing the match was quick, because I couldn’t stand watching Monfils and his dramatic personality. He and Djoker are the two biggest drama queens in the men’s game. If Monfils were more focused on the match, he’d do better. Anyway, nice work from Rafa. Kept his cool and concentration, and played his game from the start.

    Is anyone other than me shocked that Almagro is next? I mean really, since when does he do anything in a Masters event or any event for that fact???? I’m already putting Rafa into Sunday’s final. Almagro is talented, but there’s no way he’s winning tomorrow. I doubt tomorrow’s SF will be close. I’m 110% sure of that!!

    Vamos Rafa!!!!! Wonderful work!

    • Fay says:

      We should never say we are 110% Rafa winning, after all ever heard of jinxing??? Almagros on fire and has the ability to sting Rafa with his single backhand, I don’t expect this to be anything but competitive..

      • Ch F says:

        I agree. I expect the match against Almagro to be more difficult than today’s match.

        • GB says:

          Me too. I haven’t seen much of Almagro’s matches this week, but Steve Tignor said he’s been waiting six years to see Nico play like this (not as a headcase who won’t stop going for outlandish shots) and wonders if he can maintain that against Rafa.

          Plus, he sounds really fired up, this is what he said about that hideous Paris match:
          “I have a bitter taste in my mouth because I was so close to winning, because I didn’t know how to finish the game off and because of some physical problems…What I do know is that I have my weapons, I’ve cleaned those weapons”.

          In their last two matches (USO & Paris) Nico had chances but got tight when he was in a position to lead. Obviously Rafa was playing much, much worse then and didn’t have his colm and it wasn’t clay; but I think it will be a difficult match and Rafa will have to have the confidence to fight fight with fire and not allow Nico to dictate.

      • djb says:

        Well despite our different opinions, at least we can agree we want him to win. Please understand that I’ve turned into a die-hard tennis fan since Rafa’s arrival and watching him succeed, has made me think positive about everything he has done and can still do.

  5. Stf says:

    I think that Rafa played a much better match today. The first set was really good and during the second, there was a momentary lapse of focus which, combined with Gael playing a bit better for a couple of games, resulted in 2 break points that thankfully, Gael couldn’t convert. Still, I thought that some shots were awesome, Rafa is really so spectacular. Almagro should be somewhat more difficult, isn’t he left-handed, too?

    Anyone notice again that the ball kids sucked again? Monfils was serving and he had no balls to serve with at some point so he was making gestures so that the ball girl noticed him! Unbelievable.

    • An says:

      Yep, that was a realy bad moment, Gael hit a net serve for his 2nd serve and then had to ask, re-ask and re-ask again for a ball…. and hit a double fault wich you could see comming… Off course ball kids are only human too, but this wasn’t good!

    • miri says:

      Almagro should be somewhat more difficult, isn’t he left-handed, too?

      He’s right-handed – kind of a shame since Rafa’s record against lefties is awesome.

      • Stf says:

        Ah, thanks miri! I was under the impression that he was a lefty too. But I do remember he’s got a pretty good one-hand backhand? I’m not worried though, I think Rafa can beat anyone right now.

        • miri says:

          No worries. And check the sidebar for a link to the next opponent’s info. I usually link to the head2head, but I’m having problems with that via the ATP site right now, so it goes to Almagro’s profile.

  6. tiemyshoe says:

    I love me some Monfils when he’s playing anyone else, but his antics are super grating against Rafa. It’s like, ARGH if you scream ALLEZ and wave your arms at the crowd ONE MORE TIME YOUNG MAN I will TURN THIS CAR AROUND.

    Roger Rasheed had some hilarious on-camera moments, too, when he looked like he wanted to strangle him. I feel ya, Roger.

    • tiemyshoe says:

      Oops, forgot to mention that Rafa ruled. Have I mentioned lately how much I love his recent refusal to get broken? Down two BPs in a dangerous game in the second set, but he wasn’t having it.

      • Stf says:

        Yes, I completely agree with that. He’s just awesome that way. ;)

      • Silhouette says:

        Yep, I’m loving his strong mental strength right now. He’s getting all the big points with this refusal to get broken. Rafa played a very good 1st set; very agressive and was bent on keeping the points short. It’s always nice to see him improving with each match and being able to overcome the slow starts.

        • wendya says:

          Yes, Rafa’s a man on a mission at the moment! Eurosport seem to think that Rafa will be back to No 2 if he wins his next match, is that correct or does he have to win the whole tournament?

    • djb says:

      Believe me, I feel for Monfils’ coach too. Probably wants to punch Gael in the face too. Monfils really needs to stop showboating and concentrate on playing winning tennis.

  7. Atch2 says:

    Rafa continues to step it up. Serves and net working well. Even unforced to winners. Looking good babe ;)

    Monfils can be entertaining, but if I was his coach I’d want to run down and shake him a couple of times and say ‘Focus man, Focus’.

    This clay season has been such a Spanish success story. Almagro looks really determined in his matches and congrats to him for making his first Masters Serious Semis. Hope Daveeed gets thru as well.

    And aren’t the Real Madrid boys suppose to be playing in another city tomorrow? What are they still in Madrid?

    • tiemyshoe says:

      RM are supposed to be away at Malaga, I think, but I suppose they leave tomorrow? I’m not sure. Guess today was their last chance to get in some Rafa Time!

      Seriously, I think like 60% of the RM bench has come out. It was a little freaky seeing Raul in the background as Rafa was returning serve. And even though I hate all things RM, I have to admit – Xabi Alonso is super dreamy. Thanks for the close-up, camera person.

      • wendya says:

        We could do with them staying ’til the end of the tournament, they seem to be bringing Rafa some extra good luck.

  8. Rafafan says:

    Saw most of the match. Monfils (Like Tsonga) are very unpredictable. How come he was almost pulling out with his abs and then make some sintilating passes. The Sky commentators were not at all impressed! Monfills may try to be an entertainer but he was a complete clown and not a very good one at that. Rafa lost his focus then… and I started fretting! but he pulled it together (in time) and with Monfils eratic errors. Not sure what Monfils was trying to do. At one poing he didn#t wanna get up off the clay – probably saying this guy Rafa is out of this world! And if I can’t oust his water bottles I will try and do something else to upset his rythim! As much as an entertainer he might be… it left a sour taste in mine and the Sky commentators and maybe a few more fans no?

  9. Marilyn Wasserman says:

    Monfils had been injured more often that not and he’s not in great shape, stamina-wise. He started off trying to hit with Rafa, that wasn’t working, so he switched to “lights out” tennis but that didn’t work either so he tried his comedy routine, which at least worked with the crowd…but not with Rafa, hehe. Rafa looked in great form. I’m sure he enjoyed the match.

  10. Fay says:

    Oh I am so glad he won and by the comments played well, I hope to catch the replay *fingers crossed* and tommorows match he has to face a dangerous Almagro, keep it up Rafa!!!

  11. Poonam says:

    OMG, I love this blog’s title because it’s so true!! :) Somebody should tell Monfils that copying Rafa’s dressing style won’t make him equally good as Rafa!

  12. Ch F says:

    Much better match today. I felt Rafa was more focused, his moode seemed better and he was in control. Useless ball kid festival though.

  13. Isabelle says:

    I thought Rafa was red hot on red clay! Missed the antics nonsense of Monfils as my computer went down during those games in the sencond set. He, Monfils, reminds me of a jack-in-the-box!

  14. midsun says:

    Maybe because I was so confident Rafa was in control of the match, Monfils’ antics didn’t bother me, whereas usually they do. I think Monfils knew he had no chance, and was just trying to enjoy himself out there after being off so long with injuries. In a presser afterwards he said he tried everything but was up against “The best clay court player on the planet, so what can you do.”

    Almagro looked blazing today, but I have confidence in Rafa. Most of the time these players are hot until Rafa is on the other side of the net.

  15. dutchgirl says:

    I wasn’t able to watch the match, but it sounds like Rafa was on a roll today! I have to say I feel confident about his chances to get to the final, meaning he would retain his #2 spot just before RG!

  16. CC says:

    I thought Rafa was ab-so-lu-te-ly splendid today. And, perhaps more than ever, I realised what far superior an athlete and sportsman Rafa is compared to many of his colleagues. Rafa was concentrate, played aggressivley from the word “go” and didn’t lose focus throughout the match. Gael Monfils came across as a clown that doesn’t really belong on the big tennis stage.

    Vamos for mañana, Rafa!!!

    • John F says:

      I’ll second that CC – I thought rafa maintained great composure and focus when Monfils went to show-time in the second set – by which I mean he basically gave up trying to actually win and started putting on a show for the crowd. Ok the guy has been injured, etc etc, but basically he wasincapaqble of long rallies in the second set and definitely tried palying some mnetal games with rafa as he clowned around, BUT….. I liked the way Rafa maintained focus. The guy is amazzing really i his ability to play in the moment, for the moment, in spite of all kinds of distractions…….A pity Gulbis couldn’t maintain the same concentration against Fed – I do hope he (Gulbris) learns from these high level match experiences, ie learns what Fed obviously does very well, and ditto more so for rafa – fight back when you’re down. Why? coz Gulbis is a great raw talent, on a roll, and we need that!

      Havinf said that, It will be VERY cool to see a nadal and fed final if that eventuates …esp when rafa is playing well and more importantly not f$$%%ing “injured” like last year . I am going to watch the Amalgro match at midnight here in NZ and hope rafa is clinical and makes the final, ditto for Fed. This would be a great re-match. Personally I don’t think Fed will win, but it is great to anticipate and enjoy the rivalry between these two. Go Rafa!

  17. Rafangel says:

    Great news he’s playing so well :))) Almagro may have the weapons but he doesn’t have the mind, I suspect: he rolls over and dies, remember RG 08 when he picked up 3 games against Rafa? He just came out defeated. Possesses neither the belief nor the stability. But since le Sod last year, I truly believe in the ‘can lose to anyone anytime’ thing :S Makes life much tenser.

    I like Monfils but didn’t see today. Probably he was just trying to keep his spirits up with the clownery – what else can you do, as he said? Better than getting stroppy.

    I thought he had to win Madrid to regain no. 2? I have a massive interest in this but only because if he’s no.2 my odds of seeing him at RG are greatly increased :) Please, baby, this time…

    • miri says:

      Since Nole withdrew from the tournament, I’m pretty sure Rafa just needs to make it to the final to regain the #2 spot.

      Okay, just looked and did some math. Nole currently has 6765. He loses 360 points from last year’s Madrid tournament bringing him to 6405.

      Rafa currently has 6480, so as long as he defends his points from last year (making it to the final), he’ll be ahead of Nole.

      • Atch2 says:

        So 75 pts guarantees that we’re in separate halves of the draw to Fed at FO. Seems like such few points, but that could make the world of difference.

  18. Rafangel says:

    Love the pic, btw.

  19. Maya says:

    All of the Spaniards have been tough to beat this year.
    Nico seems to be getting more and more comfortable playing against higher ranked players. He pushed Rafa last year in Paris, and has been red hot this week. But Rafa always seems to step it up when playing his compatriats. Hope Rafa is on and takes it in 2.

  20. EJL says:

    so Gael’s attempts to be a cool guy , trying to take the match with Rafa a bit absentmindedly didn’t work for me too. When Rafa is in action those artificial show elements are absolutely nowhere to fit. Rafa did look impressive and confident at the net. hope he’ll arrive more often to it. Vamoos <3

  21. ava says:

    I don’t get the Monfils hate. I think he’s great fun to watch. He keeps things interesting and I don’t think he did anything to particularly disturb Rafa.