RG: Steam*bump*roll

Photo by REUTERS/ Pascal Rossignol

In today’s second semifinal, Rafa took on #27 Jurgen Melzer. It was Melzer’s first slam semi and only the 3rd meeting between the two players. Going into the match, Melzer had the tournament of his life going on – taking out Djokovic in a dramatic 5 set match. But Rafa got the weather he wanted (sunny and hot) and was playing like, well, Rafa. Everything was going smoothly as heck until Rafa was serving for the match. Unforced errors and a forehead attacking fly cost him the game. They went to a tiebreak where no one could seem to win a point on serve. Rafa finally managed to get himself together and he’s through to the final where he will play Soderling. Score: 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(6). No tripping over speed bumps in that match, Rafa. Okay?


Stats:

Nadal Melzer
Statistics
Aces 4 3
Double Faults 4 2
1st Serve % 76% 73%
1st Serve Points Won 49/65 (75%) 41/72 (57%)
2nd Serve Points Won 11/16 (69%) 10/25 (40%)
Break Points Won 5/8 (63%) 2/3 (67%)
Points
Total Service Points Won 60/85 (71%) 51/99 (52%)
Total Return Points Won 48/99 (48%) 25/85 (29%)
Total Points Won 108/184 (59%) 76/184 (41%)
Other Stats
Winners 37 29
Unforced errors 24 32
Net Approaches 13/19 (68%) 19/35 (54%)

As it happened blatherings:

Semifinal of a slam and I can’t watch it on live TV in the US despite the fact that one of the major US networks owns the rights to it. So wrong.

Uncle Miguel in the house.

Rafa to start off serving. Melzer pushes Rafa wide/deep and Rafa nets a ball: 0-15. Rafa pushes Melzer this time: 30-15. Rafa sets up his shot and nets the ball: 30-30. Beautiful forehand winner from Rafa: 40-30. Rafa holds for 1-0.

30-0 up, Melzer hits a drop shot winner. Melzer holds at love: 1-1.

Short return of serve from Melzer, and Rafa pounds on it with a forehand down the line winner: 15-0. Melzer’s service return is long: 30-0. This time it’s wide: 40-0. With a service winner, Rafa holds at love for 2-1.

Melzer nets a ball: 0-15. Two good serves from Melzer and it’s 30-15. Melzer tries to serve and volley, but his volley is wide: 30-30. Service winner: 40-30. A shot from Melzer is just out: deuce. Beautiful passing shot from Melzer: game point. Melzer holds for 2-2.

Service winner: 15-0. Melzer’s ball is out: 30-0. Rafa attacks Melzer’s backhand, but it holds up and he fires off a winner: 30-15. Fierce forehand winner from Rafa: 40-15. Nice hold for Rafa: 3-2.

Good service return: 0-30. Beautiful forehand down the line that Melzer can’t handle: 0-40. Melzer double faults and Rafa breaks at love for a 4-2 lead.

Rafa into the net and hits a beautiful forehand down the line winner: 15-0. Ace: 30-0. Melzer pushes Rafa back: 15-30. (Stream dies *sigh*.) Beauty of a backhand from Melzer: 30-40. Good serve and Melzer sends a ball long: deuce. A long rally ends with an error from Melzer: game point. Ace: 5-2.

Melzer double faults and Rafa breaks at love for a 4-2 lead.

Rafa’s shot is out: 15-15. Melzer’s shot is long: 15-30. Rafa returns the favor: 30-30. Pushed wide, Melzer’s forehand is out: 30-40. Second serve. With a beauty of a forehand winner, Rafa breaks and takes the first set. 87% first serves in; 70% pts won on 1st serve; 4 UFEs; 10 winners.

Rafa whacking the ball at will: 30-0. Rafa holds at love.

Rafa into the net, but nets the ball: 15-0. Rafa’s service return is long: 30-0. Fierce backhand down the line winner from Melzer: 40-0. Melzer’s shot is long: 40-15. Melzer approaches in the middle of the court and Rafa easily passes: 40-30. Easy smash and Melzer sends it long: deuce. Melzer nets a fluffy service return: break point. Good serve and Rafa sends his return long: deuce. Rafa nets a backhand: game point. Melzer holds: 1-1.

Rafa sets up his shot, but it’s long: 0-15. Melzer nets a ball: 15-15. Sliding out wide and then running in to knock off a forehand winner inside the opposite service box: 30-15. Service winner: 40-15. Double fault: 40-30. Beautiful passing shot from Melzer: deuce. Melzer’s service return is long: game point. Rafa misses a forehand from the midcourt: deuce. Rafa reverses direction on a dime and knocks off a winner at the net: game point. Service winner and Rafa holds: 2-1.

There’s some teeny little boy with way too much hairspray in his hair and who’s trying to look cool and adult singing on my TV.

Amazing backhand passing shot winner from Rafa: 0-30. Smash winner from Melzer: 15-30. Again: 30-30. Forehand down the line from Rafa that Melzer can’t handle at the net: 30-40. Rafa breaks for a 3-1 lead.

Rafa smashes a ball out: 0-15. Melzer’s shot is out: 30-30. Beauty of a backhand winner from Melzer: 30-40. Melzer breaks to put things back on serve. 2-3.

Oh, people yakking about tennis on my TV. “Just moments ago, Soderling made it into the finals.” Well, a set and a half of tennis you didn’t show me ago.

Melzer pulls Rafa into the net and knocks off a winner: 15-0. 30-30. Melzer pulls Rafa in with an angle, Rafa goes cross-court and Melzer can’t get his racket out of the way: 30-40. Fierce forehand from Melzer: deuce. Nice backhand from Rafa: break point #2. Melzer’s shot is out and Rafa breaks for 4-2.

I’m getting dizzy: match is just starting on TV, on Eurosport feed one point behind and on NBC speed on-time.

Melzer’s shot is long: 15-15. Again: 30-15. Again: 40-15. Rafa holds for 5-2.

If the FFT wants to make a strong argument that they need to move the tournament for more room, they should at least fill up their assigned box seats during the semifinal matches.

Fainting spectator holding up play.

Rafa’s shot is out: 15-0. Melzer nets a ball: 15-15. Nice serve: 30-15. Rafa’s pushed wide and nets his forehand: 40-15. Rafa rifles a backhand return: 40-30. Rafa sends a backhand wide and Melzer holds for 3-5.

Longest rally of the match ends when Melzer sends a shot long: 15-0. 30-0. Service winner: 40-0. Rafa holds at love and takes the second set 6-3. 72% 1st serves in; 67% pts won on 1st serve; 9 UFEs; 10 winners; 6/9 at net.

Rafa has yet to face a set point against during the tournament.

Melzer pulls Rafa in with a drop shot and Rafa flicks a winner down the line: 0-30. Forehand winner from Rafa: 0-40. Rafa breaks at love to start set 3.

Hell. Firefox died. While I’m getting my windows/tabs back, Rafa holds for 2-0.

Melzer into the net with a forehand winner: 15-0. Beautiful backhand passing shot from Rafa: 15-15. This time, the drop shot works: 30-15. Another wonderful backhand winner: 30-30. Melzer into the net and knocks off a winner: 40-30. Melzer holds.

Melzer hits right at Rafa and Rafa has to jump to get out of the way as it goes long: 15-0. Melzer sets up his shot and then hits it out: 30-0. Melzer nets a ball: 40-0. Rafa holds at love for a 3-1 lead.

Nice volley from Rafa: 30-30. Rafa nets a backhand: 40-30. Double fault: deuce. Melzer hits a clean winner by going behind Rafa: game point. Melzer holds for 2-3.

Rafa’s forehand is out: 0-15. How did Rafa get to that ball? How? And volley a winner off it? 15-15. Rafa runs Melzer back and forth until he draws an error: 30-15. Melzer’s ball is long: 40-15. Nice hold for Rafa. He’s up 4-2.

Melzer into the net and pops off a winner: 15-0. Rafa’s backhand is wide: 30-0. Melzer’s shot is long: 30-15. Beauty of a drop shot from Melzer: 40-15. Melzer miss hits a ball: 40-30. Melzer holds for 3-4.

Rafa into the net and hits a beautiful touch volley. Into the net again and spins an evil volley just over the net: 40-0. Service winner and Rafa holds at love: 5-3.

Melzer down 0-30 on his serve. Rafa’s service return is out: 15-30. A backhand goes wide for Rafa: 30-30. Another shot out by Rafa: 40-30. Supreme defense: deuce. Ace: game point. Melzer holds. Rafa can serve it out next.

Rafa miss hits a forehand: 0-15. Rafa’s forehand that looks like a winner is just out: 0-30. Second serve. Melzers takes control of a point and pushes Rafa around until he comes into the net and finally gets an error from Rafa: 0-40. Second serve. Rafa double faults and Melzer breaks at love. Rafa laughing it off. Rafa laughing it off.

Players all over the court and Melzer fires off a forehand winner: 30-0. Melzer’s shot is out: 30-15. Rafa paints the line with a forehand winner: 30-30. Melzer nets a ball: 30-40. Melzer into the net and hits a winner: deuce. Rafa sends the serve return long: game point. Melzer holds for 6-5. Rafa to serve to stay in the set.

Crowd doing the wave slows down play.

Melzer nets a ball: 15-0. Again: 30-0. Melzer’s ball is out: 40-0. Ace. Rafa holds at love. Tiebreak for the third.

Drop shot that Rafa can barely get his racket on – into the net: 1-0. Rafa nets a smash – mini-break to Melzer: 0-2. Melzer’s shot is barely out: 1-2. Melzer to serve now. Fantastic backhand passing shot from Rafa gets him the mini-break back: on serve: 2-2. Forehand down the line winner and Rafa’s in the lead: 3-2. Rafa to serve now. Fierce forehand from Melzer: 3-3. Change of ends.

Rafa doubles faults to give Melzer a 4-3 lead with 2 serves to follow. Rafa hits a lob of perfection: 4-4. Second serve. Melzer nets a drop shot attempt and Rafa leads 5-4. 6 straight points against serve. Melzer’s shot is long: 6-4 (match point). Fierce forehand from Melzer: 6-5. Match point #2. Drop shot of perfection from Melzer: 6-6. Change of ends.

The netcord gives Rafa some extra time and he hits a winner: 7-6, Rafa. Melzer nets a ball and Rafa wins!

68 Responses

  1. RC says:

    Saw this comment from Rafa : “I know how I have to play to beat him, but I’m not speaking about tactics. I have to play my best tennis, and that’s what I going to try to do. I never believe in revenge. I try my best in every moment, and if I lose, I lose.”
    He gets very cautious playing against aggresiive players, so hearing this comment (the beginning of it anyway) gives me ‘colm’ before Sunday’s match. DO NOT drop the ball(s) short!
    Vamos!!!

  2. vamsi says:

    i did want ot see a nadal and sod final but i must confess that i m nervous now
    soderling is hitting the ball very very well and rafa is getting occassional hiccups
    but i ll also try to stay colm like RC

    vamos rafa
    beat the sod!!

  3. sia says:

    Congrats Rafa! You made it to the final without dropping a set! Bravo!
    No Flies in the eyes on Sunday … please. Good luck Champ! Love you win or lose.

  4. riri says:

    Lets pray for Rafa.
    I will switch off my tv during the final and pray.
    God bless rafa nadal with FO 2010 title.

  5. Rafafan says:

    It was so weird that Rafa was laughing when he got broken serving at 5.4 up in third set. You would normally never see that so there must have been something and now we know the fly nearly in the eye! I have to say they were lovely shots of him smiling on camera which you don’t often see when he is playing – so precious, even if he did lose that game.

    Onto Sunday. I hope Rafa has studied the DVD’s of Robin and how he has been playing in this tourney. Also the weather conditions will play a part. It might not be such a bad thing for it to be cooler (ball not bouncing so high). Robin eats those for breakfast even when they are with depth. I think last year it was hot and sunny when he played Robin….. so this could work in Rafa’s favour (positive aktitude). He has obviously switched strings to get a faster more depth lower ball rather than big top spin. Perhaps he was anticipating Robin in the final again. Very uncanny. I have to say the script couldn’t be better. There is a lot at stake but I think the most important thing for Rafa to win this, not the tourney, or being no 1 but to show everyone that what he said last year in his interview, the loss, the balls being short, the knees was why he lost and the final today (hopefully wins) just will be the icing on the cake and be able to shut up all those people harping on about his first ever loss at RG and can categorically say, it was only because he was in the worst possible conditions – injuried with the knees. Vammmmmmmoos RAfa. Be aggressive, good serve, no short balls, lots of slices and keep Robin moving.

    yeah x