After a day of rain, Rafa was finally able to play his second round match early on Friday. He took on up-and-comer Horacio Zeballos (#44) for a chance to earn his 101st win in a Slam tournament. Zeballos was recently featured on the ATP site as the next good, up and comer…he’s 2 years older than Rafa. It was pretty much a no contest affair, but kudos to Zeballos for not just folding and going away in the third; he was trying to out drop shot Rafa right up to the end. He actually broke Rafa back before being broken again and giving Rafa a chance to serve it out. Serve it out he did and Rafa is through 6-2 6-2 6-3.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||80%||63%|
|1st Serve Points Won||47/59 (80%)||24/48 (50%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||7/13 (54%)||13/28 (46%)|
|Break Points Saved||5/6 (83%)||4/10 (40%)|
|Break Points Won||6/10 (60%)||1/6 (17%)|
|Total Service Points Won||54/74 (73%)||37/76 (49%)|
|Total Return Points Won||39/76 (51%)||20/74 (27%)|
|Total Points Won||93/150 (62%)||57/150 (38%)|
|Net Approaches||16/21 (76%)||5/13 (38%)|
As it happened blatherings:
Players in the middle of their warm-up. Looks to be sunny and clear. Flags blowing in the windy.
Rafa to start us off serving. Not that you can tell that from TTC’s broadcast.
Rafa holds at love. 1-0.
So…I’m home, awake and still having to watch via a stream. *sigh*
If I wasn’t already awake, that out call would have done it. Another easy hold for Rafa. he leads 2-1.
Definitely windy – ball kid having a problem holding the shade umbrella steady for Rafa.
Zeballos’s game plan appears to be: drop shot. He just hit his first decent one and wins the point. Nice forehand pass from Rafa. It doesn’t quite get by Zeballos, but it draws a very weak reply: break point. Rafa breaks and is up 3-1.
Rafa takes control of a point and finishes it off with a smash from the service box: 15-0. Nice work from Zeballos and he draws an error from Rafa: 15-15. Rafa’s approach shot isn’t that great and Zeballos takes advantage: 15-30. Beautiful, deep one-two punch from Rafa: 30-30. Zeballos’s ball is long: 40-30. Zeballos can’t do anything with a serve return and Rafa holds for 4-1.
DavidLawTennis: How nice to see Rafael Nadal looking like Rafael Nadal again. What an athlete he is. Could have played so many sports professionally.
Zeballos’s shot is long. Rafa returns the favor: 15-15. Two beautiful drop shots in a row from Zeballos – so much spin that they barely bounce: 40-15. Another dropper, this time Rafa tracks it down and Zeballos’s shot is out: 40-30. Another drop-shot attempt that Rafa tracks down and smashes a reply winner from the follow-up lob attempt: deuce. Ad Zeballos and then he nets a ball: deuce. Rafa sends a shot long: game point. With a nice short angled forehand, Zeballos holds for 2-4.
Nice forehand down the line winner: 15-0. Pushes Zeballos wide and comes in to finish off the point: 30-0. Flat out return winner from Zeballos: 30-15. Game point for Rafa. Another stress-free hold for Rafa: 5-2.
Oh, Yay! Rafa on my TV now.
Zeballos’s shot is wide: 0-15. Zeballos tries to go behind Rafa, but his shot it out: 0-30. Ace: 15-30. Ace: 30-30. Service winner: 40-30. Zeballos miss hits a ball: deuce. Rafa works his way into a point and runs down a short ball and fires off a winner: break point. Rafa breaks and takes the first set in 34 minutes: 6-2. 75% first serves in; 10 winners; 5 UFEs; 87% of first serve points won; 7-9 net approaches won.
Rafa holds at love to start set 2.
Rafa miss hits a service return: 15-0. Good point from Zeballos – well constructed and executed: 40-15. Rafa hits behind Zeballos for a winner: 40-30. A drop shot winner from Zeballos and he holds: 1-1.
A short return pulls Rafa in and Zeballos nets Rafa’s reply: 15-0. Rafa takes control of a point with a series of forehands to Zeballos’s backhand; he’s pulled in by a short, defensive reply and sends a volley wide: 15-15. Double fault: 15-30. Rafa nets a forehand and has double break point against. A deep forehand from Rafa draws an error: 30-40. A good serve that Zeballos can’t handle: deuce. Service return winner by Zeballos – that was an excellent forehand: break point. Zeballos’s attempt to pull Rafa into the net backfires: deuce. Again, deep shots draw an error from Zeballos: game point. Zeballos takes control of a point and is running Rafa. He follows a short ball in, but doesn’t hit it high enough. It ticks the top of the net and gives Rafa extra time. Rafa holds for a 2-1 lead.
Zeballos is again in control of a point – he pushes Rafa back and Rafa’s defensive shot is long: 15-0. Zeballos sends a shot long: 30-15. Rafa’s cross court passing attempt lands in the net: 40-15. Zeballos sets up his shot…and nets it: 40-30. Zeballos holds for 2-2.
Rafa sets up his forehand cross court winner, but sends it well wide: 30-15. Another error and Rafa’s starting to look grumpy. This time, he makes his shot and draws an error from Zeballos: 40-30. Service winner and Rafa holds for 3-2.
Rafa’s shot goes long and he starts talking to himself: 15-15. Zeballos miss hits a drop shot attempt: 15-30. Another drop shot, but Rafa anticipated it and tracked it down: 15-40. Rafa breaks for a 4-2 lead in the second.
Amazing point – that boy can run…and more importantly, can do something with the ball when he gets there: 15-0. Zeballos sends a shot out: 30-0. Rafa tracks down a fluffy short ball, takes it in the air and hits a winner: 40-0. A very strong love hold from Rafa: 5-2.
I just noticed Rafa’s gone for watch + big wristband today. No more dinky sized 70s wrist band.
Beautiful cross court forehand winner: 0-15. Did Rafa kick things up again? Winners are falling from his racket: 0-40. Ace: 15-40. Rafa leaves too much of the court open and Zeballos passes him: 30-40. Zeballos sends a backhand wide and Rafa breaks and takes set 2: 6-2. 35 minutes; 75% first serves in; 78% of 1st serve points won; 3 UFEs; 6 winners; 6/9 net approaches.
TennisLuvah: Rafa’s backhand makes me sweat.
Zeballos sends a forehand wide: 15-0. Again: 30-0. Beauty of a forehand service return winner from Zeballos: 30-15. Pushed deep, Zeballos sends a looping ball out: 40-15. Nice hold for Rafa to start set 3.
Triple break point down, Zeballos hits a drop shot that bounces and heads back to the net: 15-40. Rafa breaks to go up 2-0.
Into mid-court and a lovely forehand winner: 15-0. Ace: 30-0. Rafa nets a forehand: 30-15. Fierce forehand: 40-15. Easy hold for Rafa: 3-0.
Hey, did you know Michael Phelps wanted to meet Rafa at the Olympics? You know, those ones that happened 2 years ago? Are announcers required to mention that at least once every tournament?
Nice forehand from Zeballos: 40-30. A drop shot winner and Zeballos holds for 1-3.
Both players into the net and Rafa hits a winner from a popped-up volley attempt: 15-0. I must have gotten distracted by something, because next thing I know, Rafa holds a love for a 4-1 lead.
Zeballos holds for 2-4.
TennisLuvah: Clearly the 2010 tactic for playing Rafa is “Drop shot him. Just drop shot the shit outta him.”
Forehand winner from Zeballos: 15-15. Double fault: 15-30. Zeballos service return is wide: 30-30. Rafa nets a forehand and is looking grumpy again: 30-40. Zeballos nets a forehand: deuce. Rafa nets a ball: break point #2. Another fierce forehand from Rafa draws an error: deuce. Rafa’s defensive skills kept him in the point for longer than he should have been, but his last shot floats long: break point #3. Second serve. And Zeballos breaks for 3-4. We are back on serve in the third.
Drop shot winner: 15-0. Zeballos floats a ball long: 15-15. Zeballos tries to hit a winner when he’s out of balance – ball goes long: 15-30. Zeballos nets a high backhand volley attempt: 15-40. Zeballos breaks himself.
Service return goes long: 15-0. Fun point with players all over the court ends with Zeballos knocking off a winner at the net: 15-15. Zeballos sends a shot long: 30-15. Zeballos forehand pushes Rafa back and draws an error: 30-30. Zeballos sets up his shot and then nets the forehand: 40-30. Game, set, match: 6-2 6-2 6-3