Another Masters 1000 final with Rafa and Nole in the final. This time? It was the rain delayed Rome Masters final. Would it go the way of their last 3 finals? Or was it time for a change?
It started out the slug fest we’d all grown used to: both players hitting deep, strong and working every angle on the court. Rafa blinked first and was broken in the 9th game. He went on to break Nole in the next game, but couldn’t hold in the 10th and the first set was Nole’s: 6-4.
A 10 minute plus game in the second set saw a full body Vamos! from Rafa and a tumble. Nole broke to go up 2-0. They each had break points on serve (many), but held until the 10th game. Rafa was serving to stay in the match. It took 4 championship points, but he did it. Nole defeats Rafa in their 4th final in a row: 6-4, 6-4.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||71%||75%|
|1st Serve Points Won||33/49 (67%)||31/46 (67%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||5/20 (25%)||7/15 (47%)|
|Break Points Saved||7/11 (64%)||1/3 (33%)|
|Service Games Played||10||10|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||15/46 (33%)||16/49 (33%)|
|Second Return Points Won||8/15 (53%)||15/20 (75%)|
|Break Points Won||2/3 (67%)||4/11 (36%)|
|Return Games Played||10||10|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||38/69 (55%)||38/61 (62%)|
|Total Return Points Won||23/61 (38%)||31/69 (45%)|
|Total Points Won||61/130 (47%)||69/130 (53%)|
|Net Approaches||9/10 (90%)||10/16 (63%)|
As it happened blatherings:
Shiras’s voice already has me wanting to puncture my ear drums. Oh, thank goodness, he’s not actually calling the match.
bgtennisnation: i am going Rafa in 2 tight sets to end the streak,mrs G thinks Nole in 3 sets she says dont mess with the streak
Bernardes in the chair. Nole wins the toss and elects to serve.
RawUncutTennis: RAFOLE PREP: Laptop, comfy position, stress ball/teddy bear, pitcher of sangria. Ready. #neverready
Ataraxis00: I apologize in advance for any random outbursts that may or may not make sense or seem bitter during the course of this match. Thanks. :)
NeilHarmanTimes: It was terrific to see Rafa messing around with Uncle Toni’s two young sons, his cousins, in the lounge this afternoon #greatfamily
Nole pushing Rafa around until he draws an error: 15-0. Rafa nets a ball: 30-0. Why isn’t this on LiveScores yet? I needs my numbers. Calming or frazzling, I needs my numbers. Nole sends a ball long: 30-15. Nole comes in on a high floater from Rafa and smacks a winner: 40-15. Strong hold for Nole to start the match: 1-0.
Ataraxis00: 36 wins for Nole. 0 Losses. 36 wins for Rafa but 5 losses. Mind boggling isn’t it?
bgtennisnation: Nole’s throwing me for a loop today, going Wimbledon white, very confident start from the Djoker.
bgtennisnation: Really important today for Rafa to try and establish his fearhand more, running around when he can, definitely playing way more to ND’s FH
Nole steps in for a backhand, but nets it. Again, Nole goes for a backhand winner, but it goes wide: 30-0. That one worked and pulled Rafa wide; Rafa went down the line and Nole’s reply is long: 40-0. Nole nets a backhand and Rafa holds at love for 1-1.
Long rally – Rafa sends a low slice to Nole’s backhand; Nole tries a drop shot and it lands in the middle of the net: 0-15. Rafa nets a ball: 15-15. Rafa paints the line with a forehand winner: 15-30. He tries to put another one in the same spot, but it’s just out: 30-30. What the hell are Nole’s parents wearing? No wait, don’t answer that. Rafa misshits a ball off a bad bounce: 40-30. Nole holds.
NeilHarmanTimes: Somehow I don’t think, from the look in his eye and the weight of his shot, that Nadal is going to lose today
bgtennisnation: Factoid No 1: The only player In Rafa’s ATP career that he’s lost 4x in a row to is Davydenko.
bgtennisnation: Looks like Rafa is attempting to be more aggressive out of the gate, but Djoker is hitting the ball just as big, especially the forehand
Nole nets a serve return: 15-0. Rafa takes control with a fierce forehand to Nole’s forehand and then hits to the open court: 30-0. Backhand down the line from Nole that Rafa can’t do a thing with: 30-15. Both guys run each other all over the place until Rafa’s forehand goes wide: 30-30. Low slice from Nole, but Rafa picks it up with his forehand and hits a winner into the open court – and yells Vamos! 40-30. Rafa stops play saying that Nole’s ball is long. Carlos gets out , checks the mark and declares it long: 2-2.
Nole pushes Rafa deep until he gets an error: 0-15. (The first part of that sounds naughtier than I meant it to.) Beautiful dipping passing shot from Rafa, but Nole digs it out, and lifts it back over the net…just over: 30-0. Nole’s shot is long: 30-15. Nole misses an overhead smash: 30-30. Defense keeps Rafa in a point beyond all reason, but it still catches up with him: 40-30. Rafa into the midcourt and nets a forehand. Nole holds for 3-2.
bgtennisnation: This is the first time I’ve ever seen somebody pushing Rafa on the dirt. We’re watching equal level of play here – fantastic tennis.
Rafa pouring water on his head on the changeover…it can’t be that hot there. People are bundled up in blankies.
Nole’s return of serve is long: 15-0. Beautiful forehand winner from Rafa: 30-0. Double fault: 30-15. Nole nets a backhand: 40-15. Nole attempts a drop shot and nets it. Rafa holds for 3-3.
bgtennisnation: Rafa looks like an angry boxer to me at the moment, got that scowl on like he’s in for a rough fight, deep down he’s enjoying the challenge.
Beautiful passing shot winner from Rafa: 15-15. Drop shot, Rafa hits a volley right back to Nole, Nole hits an angled volley winner, Rafa hops in frustration: 30-15. Pulled wide, but a short angled forehand winner from Nole: 40-15. Nole’s hitting strong and free. He holds for 4-3.
TheFanChild: geez these guys are covering so much ground. It’s crazy. Just plain crazy.
CraigHickman: @DjokerNole and #Nadal are playing trigonometry in #Rome tonight.
Rafa sends a backhand into the doubles alley: 0-15. Rafa, you can’t afford any errors today. Nole’s forehand is just out…and he’s pissed: 15-15. What the hell was that point? Rafa had an overhead smash to take it and…no. Point goes on and ends on a forced error from Rafa: 15-30. Rafa sends a forehand long: 15-40. Second serve. Rafa completely miss-hits a backhand and Nole breaks for a 5-3 lead.
Backhand cross-court winner from Nole: 15-0. Nole’s forehand is wide: 15-15. A long rally ends with Nole netting a backhand: 15-30. Nole sends a forehand wide: 15-40. Pulled wide, Rafa sends a forehand just long: 30-40. Nole nets a forehand, Rafa breaks and we are back on serve. 4-5, Rafa.
JamesLaRosa: Rafa & Novak are such spectacular athletes and tennis has them. We are all so stupid lucky right now.
Rafa still working the ice towel on the changeovers.
bgtennisnation: Nice reaction after the break back by Rafa, I liked how he put a little more air in his shots, can’t always force Nole – his D is outrageous
AliceMMaddocks: If I had nails I would be biting them. If I smoked I would be smoking. If I did pills – I would be taking Valium. Stressful
Nole nets a shot: 15-0. Rafa’s loopy forehand goes wide: 15-15. Smokin’ forehand from Rafa! 30-15. He follows that up with a forehand that’s way, way, way, way out: 30-30.
bluesunflwr: Oh for god’s sake, Rafa. Just pretend it’s Ferrer across the net from you.
Deep, fierce hitting from Nole and Rafa nets a ball: 30-40. Angled winner from Nole and the first set is his: 6-4.
69% 1st serves in; 72% won on 1st; 25 won on 2nd; 4 winners; 13 UFEs; 0/1 at net
NeilHarmanTimes: There’s that backhand crosscourt again from a curiously floated Rafa backhand. First set to Nole 6-4 and serving first in the 2nd
5livetennis: #goodgollymissmolly I need a lie down so much I AM AcTUALLY LYING DOWN as I type. #romefinal #almosttoomuch Djokovic 6-4. Stunning set.
Dropper works for Nole: 30-0. This time, Nole pulls Rafa in with a drop shot and Rafa replies: 30-15. Rafa sends a forehand well long: 40-15. Fierce forehand from Nole that Rafa can’t get to in time to do anything with. Nole holds to start set 2.
NeilHarmanTimes: Novak going through muscle-stretching routines as against AM yesterday, but a lot earlier in the match. Didn’t seem to bother him ysty
bgtennisnation: Strategy: Never seen anybody hurt Rafa especially on clay with the angles. really opening up the court nicely for Nole.
Nole nets a forehand: 15-0. Again: 30-0. Nole sends the serve return long this time: 40-0. Rafa sends a forehand long – had the whole court open to him – 40-15. Nole runs Rafa until he draws an error: 40-30. Forehand down the line winner from Nole: deuce. Deep shot from Rafa draws an error and he lets out a loud Vamos! game point. Return of serve winner from Nole: deuce. Deep shot from Rafa, but he fails to completely take over the point. Nole finishes it with a deep shot of his own: break point. Rafa into the net, gets a high floating defensive reply from Nole and he smashes a winner: deuce. Full body Vamos! Going back to get a deep shot from Nole, Rafa falls and Nole finishes the point: break point. Looks like he might have turned his ankle a bit? Rafa smashes a winner: deuce. Rafa sends a forehand well wide: break point. Rafa’s slice drifts wide and Nole breaks for a 2-0 lead in the 2nd.
5livetennis: Backhand slice wide to give #djokovic the break after an 11 min game. 64 20 #stilloutrageous #romefinal nadal looks completely mystified
Nole has stolen Rafa’s defense to offense game and Rafa needs to steal it back.
RawUncutTennis: Rafa seems like he’s all out of options. Not sure what to play ATM. Nole’s imposed his game mightily again.
Double fault: 0-15. Rafa pulls Nole in with a short ball (I’m going to pretend he meant it that way) , Nole sends a dropper back and Rafa fires off a winning volley: 0-30. Rafa nets an easy looking backhand: 15-30. Rafa sends a loopy forehand and Nole stomps all over it: 30-30. Nice return from Rafa – out wide and Nole can’t get his forehand back over the net: 30-40. Nole’s dropper is wide and Rafa breaks to put set 2 back on serve.
Ataraxis00: Yes. Thank you. That was as much of a gift as Rafa’s lame slice out wide.
Nole nets a forehand: 15-0. Pushed, Rafa nets a forehand: 15-15. Again, Nole pushes Rafa deep and wide until Rafa can do nothing: 15-30. Another error from Rafa: 15-40. Nole sends a forehand wide and Rafa lets out a Vamos: 30-40. Nole nets a backhand and another squawk from Rafa: deuce. Nole nets a forehand: game point. Rafa holds for 2-2.
MiguelSeabra: I’ve never seen #Nadal moonballing so much; #Djokovic is in the process of deconstructing myths: #Rafa’s clay invencibility, Rafa’s forehand
Forehand winner from Nole: 15-0. Rafa goes for a forehand winner, but it’s long: 40-0. Nole drop shot, Rafa flicks a beautiful cross-court volley winner: 40-15. Nole nets a backhand: 40-30. Again: deuce. Nole didn’t seem to move his feet on that last one. Nole pushes Rafa deep into the corner and finishes it off with a winner from mid-court: game point. Nole holds for 3-2.
Ice towel and banana on the changeover for Rafa.
Nole’s shot is long: 15-0. Rafa hits behind Nole and the reply is out: 30-0. Deep approach from Nole and he follows up with a winning volley: 30-15. Ace: 40-15. Aggressive return of serve, defensive reply from Rafa, Nole into the net to finish the point off: 40-30. Nole’s return ticks the tape and drops over into Rafa’s side of the court: deuce. The court counters the net and gives Nole a horrid bounce: game point. Nole nets a shot and Rafa holds for 3-3.
Nole tees off on a forehand, but it’s long: 0-15. Defensive return of serve from Rafa and Nole womps on it: 15-15. Nole’s forehand is wide: 15-30. Rafa hits short to Nole’s backhand. He clearly has a death wish: 30-30. Long rally ends with Nole’s shot being called out, but Carlos overrules (correctly): 40-30. Nole holds for 4-3.
Rafa follows up a deep forehand down the line with a cute drop shot winner: 15-0. Once again, the net cord shows Nole some love: 15-15. Nole nets a backhand, Rafa lets out a Vamos! 30-15. Ace (and a louder Vamos!): 40-15. Rafa wins a drop shot duel to hold for 4-4.
Nole runs Rafa, but Rafa hits a backhand down the line winner behind him: 0-15. Rafa sends a fluffy backhand that Nole smacks for a winner: 15-15. It’s raining. The net cord pops Nole’s ball over again, but Rafa tracks it down and ends up finishing the point with a smash: 15-30. Backhand winner from Nole: 30-30. Service winner: 40-30. Long rally ends with Nole netting a forehand: deuce. Forehand winner from Nole: game point. Nole holds for 4-5. Rafa has to hold to stay in it.
DrewLilley: Nole’s net clearance in first set was 56cm to Rafa’s 96cm. This set it’s been -10cm more often than not. Sign of fatigue, snatching at shots
Long rally ends with a backhand error from Rafa: 0-15. Again, Nole pushes Rafa deep: 0-30. 3 errors in a row and Nole has triple match point. Nole misshits a forehand and one match point saved. An excellent serve saves another: 30-40. Good serve, followed up with shot into other corner, Rafa into the net and Nole can’t pass him: deuce. Nole again moves Rafa and paints the line with a forehand that Rafa can’t do a thing with: match/championship point #4. Second serve. Bizarre point with multiple net cords and Nole is the champion.