Madrid: Ecstatic Eighteen

Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/ AFP/ Getty Images

It was the final everyone hoped for: Rafa vs. Roger for the first time in a year. Could it live up to the hype? Would Rafa overcome the altitude and fast clay? Could Roger take a bit out of his negative head-to-head record against Rafa? The first set was a nervy affair with both players serve being broken. Up 5-4, Rafa barely managed to hold serve and take the set. Things settled a bit in the second set, but nerves were still apparent. Rafa broke, but Fed broke back and Rafa had to hold to push things to a tiebreak. And, in the weirdest match point ever, Rafa wins: 6-4, 7-6(5). He once again makes history: 18 Master 1000 wins and first player to win 3 Masters in a row.

Stats:

Nadal Federer
Statistics on Serve
Aces 2 9
Double Faults 2 0
1st Serve % 73% 67%
1st Serve Points Won 32/59 (54%) 35/59 (59%)
2nd Serve Points Won 14/22 (64%) 14/29 (48%)
Break Points Saved 8/11 (73%) 7/11 (64%)
Service Games Played 11 11
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 24/59 (41%) 27/59 (46%)
Second Return Points Won 15/29 (41%) 8/22 (36%)
Break Points Won 4/11 (36%) 3/11 (27%)
Return Games Played 11 11
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 46/81 (57%) 49/88 (56%)
Total Return Points Won 39/88 (44%) 35/81 (43%)
Total Points Won 85/169 (50%) 84/169 (50%)

As it happened blatherings:

Players taking the court! Weird to see Rafa entering first again…been a long time since that happened.

Bouncy Rafa is bouncy.

Both players taking their time refusing to be the first out of their chairs. Finally Rafa gives up and goes out for the coin toss. Roger wins the toss and elects to serve. Damian Steiner in the chair – waaa! I wanted Mo.

Kalliopeia: god these inept ballgirls

Mid rally, Rafa whiffs a backhand: 15-0. Beautiful backhand cross court winner from Fed: 30-0. Ace: 40-0. Again: 1-0, Fed.

Fed sends a ball just out: 15-0. Forehand winner paints the line: 30-0. Rafa goes for a cross-court backhand winner, but it’s just out: 30-15. Forehand down the line winner from Fed: 30-30. Service winner: 40-30. Rafa sends a forehand just long: deuce. Fed into the net and Rafa can’t get the shot back: break point. Second serve. Service winner: deuce. Second serve. Fed sends a forehand wide: game point. Fed sends a backhand long: game Rafa.

Kalliopeia: Okay, we can’t do this every service game. :/

Fed into the net, but can’t get the volley back: 0-15. Forehand cross-court winner from Fed: 15-15. Amazing forehand down the line winner on the dead run: 15-30. Bad forehand from Rafa: 30-30. Fed’s backhand is wide: break point. Second serve. Rafa into the net and Fed passes him: deuce. Should Rafa have let that ball go? Looks like he could have had a play on it. Rafa sends a backhand wide: game point. Fed hits a backhand wide: deuce. Second serve. Serve and volley and a beautiful passing shot from Rafa: break point. Rafa’s forehand is just long: deuce. Fed sends a forehand long: break point #3. Second serve. Fed hits a ball into the net and Rafa breaks! He’s up 2-1.

Kalliopeia: you know what’s weird…Rafa tends to make roger run around a lot when they play. why doesn’t he do that with other players more often?

miri: Maybe he thinks he needs to do that against Roger but is more confident against other players?
Kalliopeia: I don’t know, it seems like he actually changes direction and stuff against roger so much more, and it’d be effective against pretty much any player, you’d think.

Again with the out shots and Rafa’s down 0-30. Another out ball – this time a short angled backhand: 0-40. Fed sends a shot long: 15-40. Another long ball and Fed breaks back. 2-2

Fed sends a ball long: 15-15. Fed fires off a forehand winner: 30-15. Fed into the net and a beautiful backhand passing shot from Rafa: 30-30. Another ball sails on Rafa: 40-30. Fed holds for 3-2.

Fed nets a backhand: 15-0. Fed runs around to hit a forehand service return and can’t make it to the next shot to handle it: 30-0. Service winner: 40-0. Rafa into the net and holds at love: 3-3.

Fed sends a forehand long: 0-15. Lovely short angled shot from Rafa: 0-30.

Kalliopeia: I think he does better when I’m not paying too much attention.

Fed’s shot is just out: 0-40. Service winner: 15-40. Lovely wide serve and then shot into the open court combo from Fed: 30-40. Another good combo from Fed: deuce. Fed nets a forehand: break point. Fed into the net again and Rafa’s shot is just out: deuce. Rafa’s banana shot attempt goes into the net: game point. Second serve. Rafa’s serve return is angled wide and that allows him to take control of the point: deuce. Fed hits behind Rafa, but Rafa recovers and hits an amazing cross-court backhand winner: break point #5. Second serve. Fed nets a ball and Rafa breaks to go up 4-3.

I’m reminding myself to breath.

Graphic showing how Rafa’s shots are landing deeper than last year.

Second serve. Fed’s shot is long: 15-0. Beautiful cross-court forehand from Rafa: 30-0. The net cord shows Fed some love: 30-15. Oh god, I love that cross-court forehand. Followed up with a VAMOS! 40-15. Beautiful down the line backhand from Fed: 40-30. Rafa runs around a backhand and nets a forehand down the line: deuce.

Kalliopeia: ….rafa I swear to god. you’re supposed to hold serve after you break. it’s easier that way.

Second serve. Fed nets a serve return: game point. Second serve. Forehand winner and a fist pump from Rafa has he holds for 5-3.

Kalliopeia: thank you!
miri: he heard you. He just wanted more drama :)
Kalliopeia: no drama!!
Kalliopeia: drama free zone!

Beautiful return and forehand combo from Rafa: 15-15. Pushed back, Rafa sends a backhand long: 30-15. Pulled wide, Rafa sends a backhand well out: 40-15. Fed holds for 4-5.

Fed runs around a backhand and hits a forehand cross-court winner: 0-15. Rafa into the net, gets pushed back and then Fed wins the angle game: 0-30. Service winner: 15-30. Rafa’s doing better when he gets a second serve in than a first. Weird. Second serve. Double fault: 15-40. That serve was almost out of the doubles alley. Fed sends a backhand long: 30-40. Two lets in a row. Fed nets a forehand: deuce.

Kalliopeia: the difference in stress between 30-40 and deuce is remarkable. :D

Both players running each other well. Fed into the net and handles Rafa’s defensive volley return: break point. Second serve. Fed nets a backhand service return: deuce.

Kalliopeia: thank god roger keeps screwing up that backhand.

Rafa sends a backhand long: break point #4. Again, a backhand serve return goes long: deuce. Fed sends a forehand return just out: game/set point. Nervy game, but Rafa holds and takes the first set 6-4.

Kalliopeia: thank god set point. come ON now, rafa.
Kalliopeia: THANK YOU JESUS

Love that the game ended on a winner and not an error. 55 minutes; 74% first serves in; 12 winners; 14 UFEs. Not tidy tennis.

Love Papa Nadal’s reaction to the set point.

Doing some extra work on the court.

Service winner: 15-0. Ace: 30-0. Backhand cross-court winner from Rafa: 30-15. Fed sends a shot long: 30-30. Fed goes for a cross-court forehand winner, but it’s called out. Rafa looks at the call and says it’s in: 40-30. Rafa gets a shot at Fed’s feet as he’s approaching the net: deuce. Break point. Service winner: deuce. Fantastic cross-court backhand winner from Rafa: break point #2. Fed nets a forehand and Rafa breaks to start set 2!

Backhand from Fed pushes Rafa back and draws an error: 0-15. Rafa goes for a running forehand cross-court winner, but it’s out: 0-30. Second serve. Fed sends the return long: 15-30. Pulled wide, Rafa sends a backhand well wide: 15-40. Second serve. Fierce backhand winner from Fed and he breaks back: 1-1.

Fed hits a drop shot winner: 15-0. Rafa storms the net and hits his volley right into it: 30-0. Ace: 40-0. Beauty of a forehand service return from Rafa: 40-15. Second serve. Short angled ball from Fed, Rafa tries to run it down, but can’t make the shot: game Fed.

Fed sends a backhand wide: 15-0. Again: 30-0. Fed digs out a deep volley and hits behind Rafa: 30-15. Another backhand service return goes wide: 40-15. Second serve. Drop shot service return? Okay: 40-30. Fed stops mid-rally saying a ball is out – he’s correct: deuce. Second serve. Lovely forehand that Fed can’t quite handle: game point. Ace and Rafa holds for 2-2.

Amazing defense from Rafa, but Fed still wins the point: 15-0. Another dropper from Fed: 30-0. A cross court backhand pushes Fed and draws an error: 30-15. Rafa sends a backhand serve return wide: 40-15. Fed’s forehand is wide: 40-30. Rafa rips a backhand winner: deuce. And again: break point. Make that a third and Rafa breaks with a double fist pump and a Vamos!

Kalliopeia: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Kalliopeia: now, if he can just hold his OWN serve.

Pushed wide and deep, Rafa sends a forehand out: 15-15. Fed miss times a forehand return: 30-15. Pushed back, Fed nets a backhand: 40-15. Fed nets a backhand and Rafa has a stress-free hold. He leads 4-2.

Service winner: 15-0. Rafa nets a backhand: 30-0. Amazing defense from Rafa, but the shot is called out. Fed looks unsure, but the chair calls is in. Replay point. Rafa nets serve return: 40-0. Fed holds at love.

Beautiful backhand from Fed sets up a nice drop shot that Rafa can’t quite get to in time to handle: 0-15. Excellent defensive play from Rafa, but he slips, falls and can’t get to the last shot: 0-30. Second serve. Drop shot winner from Fed: 0-40. Fed sends a forehand serve return long: 15-40. Ace: 30-40. Second serve. Rafa sends a forehand long and is broken. It’s 4-4.

The net cord tosses Fed’s ball out: 0-15. Fierce forehand winner from Fed: 15-15. Ace: 30-15. Rafa into the net and wins the point: 30-30. Ace: 40-30. Fed aces his way to a hold for a 5-4 lead. On serve.

Fed sends a shot long: 15-0. Smoking forehand winner from Fed: 15-15. Beautiful forehand winner from mid-court: 30-15. The net cord tosses Rafa’s ball out: 30-30. Rafa pushes Fed deep/wide and smashes the defensive reply: 40-30. No drop shot winner this time – Rafa hits an angled volley winner and holds for 5-5.

raindelaysplay: tennisTV stream jittering like crazy, it’s as nervous as we are :-(

Rafa sends a forehand wide: 15-15. Deep flat forehand from Fed: 30-15. Rafa goes for a cross-court backhand winner, but it’s wide: 40-15. Serve called out, Rafa says it’s in and they replay the point. Angled shot from Fed is just wide: 40-30. Again: deuce. Rafa sends a shot wide: game point. Fed attempts to paint a line with a drop shot and sends it wide: deuce. Fed smashes a winner from the net: game point. Pushed, but Fed holds for 6-5. Rafa to serve to stay in the set and force a tiebreak.

Beautiful backhand winner from Fed: 0-15. Fed nets a forehand: 15-15. Rafa steps up mid-court and rips a shot, Fed sends the reply just long: 30-15. Pushed again, Fed sends a backhand long: 40-15. Double fault? Seriously? 40-30. Excellent forehand winner and Rafa holds to force a tiebreak.

Kalliopeia: urgh tiebreak
Kalliopeia: I don’t have good illusions about this tiebreak

Rafa sends a shot well long: 1-0. Fed takes control of a point on Rafa’s serve and gets a mini-break: 0-2. Rafa into the net and knocks off a winner: 1-2. Fed sends a volley wide and we are back on serve: 2-2. Rafa has control of the point, but totally blows a smash: 3-2, Fed.

Kalliopeia: wtf!
Kalliopeia: he NEVER misses that shot

Rafa serving now. Drop shot winner from Fed: 4-2. Fed nets a drop shot attempt: 3-4. Fed serving. Fed sends a shot long and it’s 4-4. Again: 5-4 for Rafa. Rafa can serve it out… Second serve. Fed nets a backhand: 6-4, match point. Second serve. Fierce forehand winner from Fed: 6-5. Fed serving now. Fed totally whiffs a ball and Rafa wins!!!!!

160 Responses

  1. Rafangel says:

    WHOOP WHOOP!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome, Rafa, your public loves you ;D

  2. chinkyv says:

    OMG!!!! Miri, I’ve been coming to your site for almost 2 years now and I love it here! It’s the best place to find all my rafa news and the posters are all great!! I’ve never posted before but figured today, i just HAD to!!!! Watched the entire match yesterday and for most of the first set, I couldn’t sit still! I had my hoodie between my teeth the whole time coz I didn’t want to bite my nails, lol. But, I was so freaking happy right when he finally won!!! Rafa, you are THE MAN!!! VAMOS! 18 Masters 1000s, 3 consecutive 1000s and clay 1000s too? Wow, what else can I say other than, I FLOVE RAFA!!!! <3 <3 Congrats to all my fellow Rafa fans here *raises glass of wine to toast with you* :-) I could go on and on and about how happyiamforthewin and how awesome he is (^_^) but you guys pretty much have it covered.

    • CoraF says:

      Same here, a fond visitor of this site. Whenever I’m unable to watch Rafa’s live match, I come here as you sure can get a glimpse of his game plus a bonus teasings of our Rafa. Yesterday’s match was yet another roller coaster ride with Rafa but joy in the end! A friend and I had a good scolding from a neighbor due to screamings…

      Thanks Miri for all these postings and a toasts to all Rafa fans!

  3. EJL says:

    it’s late in the day to correct but it’s not a slit to leave out.. meant the 5-th game of the 2-nd set. it’s stupid to comment early in the morning while rushing through and then arrive at work being late for 20 minutes.Rafa you’re killing me.

  4. EJL says:

    oh sh*t..slip

  5. Maria says:

    Seeing Papa Nadal teary at the end of the match was somehow more emotional than the entire trophy ceremony.

    • Anita says:

      So true! I loved Papa Nadal’s reactions today! He was so emotional and happy! VAMOS RAFA AND YOUR DADDY!!

      • sandra says:

        While we as fans feel so deeply the whole time since last May, one can very well appreciate how much more Papa, mama and Rafa’s whole family do!! There is so much love in that family which is just amazing!!

        Rafa, you are just unique!!! We are all proud of you!!!!

  6. Fay says:

    Yes he has one amazing supportive family, how could he not? he is adoreable in everyway and everything you could want in a son.