WTF: So long, London
Today’s round robin match was essentially the equivalent of a quarterfinal: winner moves on, loser doesn’t. Nice and simple, no scenarios or math to perform. With so much on the line, the match felt pretty lackluster from both of the guys, but more so from Rafa. He showed signs of life in the second set, but went back to missing routine looking shots in the third. Basically, Tsonga was playing well; Rafa looked like a tired guy playing on his least favorite surface. Tsonga wins: 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3.
It felt imperative that Rafa come out fighting and not let the streaky Tsonga get into a groove. That’s not quite how things started, though. Rafa’s service games were struggles with him not winning rallies and having every second serve demolished by Tsonga. Rafa managed to hang in to force a tiebreak, but it was all Tsonga then. First set Tsonga: 7-6(2).
Rafa stepped it up a bit in the second or Tsonga got a little flat…or it was a bit of both. Either way, it took until the 10th game of the match for either player to get break points. It took three, but Rafa broke and took the second: 6-4.
Even though the momentum appeared to be on Rafa’s side, he served a sloppy game at 1-1 and was broken. Rafa missed some easy shots into the open court and was soon down two breaks. Tsonga choked while serving for the set and Rafa got one break back. Every the nice boy, Rafa gifts a break back and Tsonga wins.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||65%||55%|
|1st Serve Points Won||44/63 (70%)||43/51 (84%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||16/34 (47%)||20/42 (48%)|
|Break Points Saved||3/6 (50%)||5/7 (71%)|
|Service Games Played||16||15|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||8/51 (16%)||19/63 (30%)|
|Second Return Points Won||22/42 (52%)||18/34 (53%)|
|Break Points Won||2/7 (29%)||3/6 (50%)|
|Return Games Played||15||16|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||60/97 (62%)||63/93 (68%)|
|Total Return Points Won||30/93 (32%)||37/97 (38%)|
|Total Points Won||90/190 (47%)||100/190 (53%)|
|Net Approaches||3/12 (25%)||27/36 (75%)|
As it happened blatherings:
I’m very unprepared for this! Slept too late, decided to exercise before the match, did a short version and was still lying on the mat stretching when the players took the court. Oye.
Gimmelstob saying Rafa has the flu?
Match hasn’t started and Arias is up to his 3rd mention of a physical style damaging Rafa’s game/longevity so far. It should be a drinking game.
Tsonga runs Rafa back and forth until Rafa runs out of time and sends a shot long. Tsonga holds: 1-0.
So far, Tsonga winning the rallies. Man, that was an excellent return of 2nd serve from Tsonga. Rafa HAS to get his first serves in. A good first serve and Rafa holds for 1-1.
Strong hold for Tsonga for 2-1.
SI_BTBaseline: Man. Rafa looks ordinary. #noswag
Rafa sends a forehand long: 0-15. Fierce forehand return of second serve from Tsonga gives him control of the point and he finishes it off: 0-30. Tsonga brings Rafa in with a drop shot, Rafa gets to it, but misses the reply to the passing shot: 15-40. Rafa challenges a call on Tsonga’s return and Rafa is correct. One break point saved. A good serve saves another: deuce. Another dropper from Tsonga and then a lob, but Rafa hangs in, runs back and hits an awesome spinning forehand: game point. And Rafa holds.
Another strong hold for Tsonga. 3-2
Rafa sends a forehand long: 0-15. Another dropshot/lob combo, but Tsonga comes out on top this time: 0-30. Tsonga’s backhand is long: 15-30. Lovely volley at the net. Tsonga pissed about something. Ah, Mo called not-up, but Tsonga did get to the ball in time. It’s 30-30 anyway. Nice passing shot from Rafa: 40-30. Rafa holds – I think his best hold so far in the match.
Fierce forehand down the line winner from Tsonga: 15-0. Ace: 30-0. Again: 40-0. Tsonga holds: 4-3.
Ataraxis00: Is Rafa determined to play every game from behind?
Nice passing shot from Rafa: 15-15.
SI_BTBaseline: Rafa’s starting to pump himself up now. Seems to have a gauge on his passers. Still, service games are a bit of an adventure.
Tsonga nets a backhand return of serve: 40-15. Nice forehand on the run from Tsonga, but Rafa manages to block it back to stay in the point. He goes on to win it and hold for 4-4.
Rafa’s backhand return of serve almost lands outside of the doubles alley: 15-0. Tsonga’s drop shot attempt lands on his side of the net…middle of the service box: 15-15.
Ataraxis00: I’d drop shot him too if he insists on standing back far enough to hear the conversations in the crowd.
Ace: 30-15. Rafa attempts to pass, but Tsonga hits a wonderfully angled volley winner: 40-15. Rafa’s forehand lands in the middle of the doubles alley and Tsonga, once again, holds easily: 5-4.
Nice backhand winner from Tsonga: 0-15. Weird. I agree with Arias…Rafa’s running around the backhand too much and getting himself too far out of position. Tsonga’s shot is out: 15-15. Oh, that was a fun point – both players showing their reflexes. Sadly, ends with Tsonga getting a great cross-court winner off of a passing attempt from Rafa: 15-30. Deep forehand from Rafa draws an error: 30-30. Service winner down the middle: 40-30. Rafa holds for 5-5.
Tsonga’s ball is well out: 40-30. Tsonga holds for 6-5. Rafa will serve to force a tiebreak.
So far, Tsonga’s been winning everything but the big points. He gets ahead on Rafa’s serve, but can’t capitalize on it.
How did Rafa get that back…much less in? Nice. Excellent hold for Rafa. Tiebreak time.
Tsonga paints the line with a forehand winner: 1-0. Rafa to serve two. Tsonga hits deep, Rafa doesn’t, but Tsonga can’t do anything with Rafa’s passing shot: 1-1. Tsonga’s pass is out, but Rafa touched the ball, so point and mini-break to Tsonga: 2-1. Tsonga gives it back by double faulting: 2-2. Tsonga volleys a winner off Rafa’s passing attempt: 3-2. Tsonga tees off on a slice backhand from Rafa, comes into the net and hits a winning volley – mini-break to him: 2-4. Rafa nets a forehand: 2-5. Tsonga into the net and handles all that Rafa can throw at him: 2-6. With an ace, Tsonga emphatically wins the first set: 7-6(2).
65 minutes; 65% 1st serves in; 79% won on 1st; 40% won on 2nd; 6 winners; 7 UFEs; 1/5 won at net
Ataraxis00: Jo with the first set. Sealed it with an ace. Rafa has to get aggressive or go home. This short ball defensive stuff isn’t working.
TheFanChild: Rafa is first on the Tour at winning second serve points (57%) but he’s won a paltry 40% today. #WTF
Tsonga sends a volley well long: 30-0. Good hold by Rafa to start set 2.
Ace: 15-0. Tsonga hit a fierce forehand – Rafa didn’t even seem to attempt to track it down: 30-0. Tsonga nets a forehand: 30-15. Tsonga into the net, Rafa attempts a lob, Tsonga jumps up and hits a high one-handed backhand volley winner: 40-15. Tsonga nets a backhand: 40-30. Looks like Rafa tripped a bit trying to run around a backhand to return serve. Tsonga holds for 1-1.
Deep forehand from Tsonga and Rafa sends his forehand into the net: 0-15. Good serve, into the net, winner: 15-15.
Ataraxis00: Good grief. That was the first aggressive point I can recall from Rafa in this match.
Error from Tsonga: 30-15. Serve out wide draws an error: 40-15. With a second serve ace (?!) out wide, Rafa holds for 2-1.
Thing I liked about that game? A few change-ups from Rafa.
Ataraxis00:Open court or not he’s stuck in attack the backhand mode. RT @FootFault_: You are allowed to change the direction of the ball, Rafael.
Rafa attempting more aggressive play now, but Tsonga out-gunning him: 30-0. Double fault: 30-15. Tsonga sends a forehand well out: 30-30. Tsonga into the net and hits a winner: 40-30. Rafa nets a forehand passing shot attempt and Tsonga holds for 2-2. (That was such a make-able shot. *sigh*)
Tsonga’s return is long: 15-0. Ace: 30-0. Another shot out by Rafa: 30-15. Tsonga can’t handle the serve: 40-15. Tsonga sends a 2nd serve return back to the lines people and Rafa holds comfortably: 3-2.
Tsonga nets a forehand: 0-15. Tsonga runs and gets a new racket. Rafa’s loopy second serve return sails long: 15-15. Forehand winner from Tsonga; Rafa challenges the call. Call was good: 30-15. Nice passing shot from Rafa. Tsonga stretches, but seem to be surprised the shot was down the line: 30-30. Excellent serve, high return from Rafa, Tsonga knocks off a winner: 40-30. With an ace, Tsonga holds for 3-3.
SI_BTBaseline: Through 19 games there have been no breaks of serve. Rafa hasn’t earned a break point yet, Tsonga’s had two.
Rafa goes for a cross-court forehand, but it’s wide: 0-15. Rafa working Tsonga for a change. Finishes point with a forehand winner: 15-15. Tsonga mishits a ball that pops up off the baseline: 30-15. Forehand winner? Tsonga challenges, but call is good: 40-15. Good hold for 4-3 from Rafa.
Beautiful angled volley at the net from Tsonga: 30-0. Tsonga nets a forehand: 30-15. Rafa sends a return of serve long: 40-15. Nice flat backhand down the line (took the ball on the rise) and Tsonga can’t do a thing with it: 40-30. Rafa’s forehand was long; he challenges despite everyone (linesman, Mo and Tsonga) saying it was out. And…it’s out. Tsonga holds for 4-4.
SI_BTBaseline: Through 8 games, Rafa’s actually won 4 more points than Jo. Yes, I’m now looking at stats. That’s how frustrating this match is right now.
Long forehand handcuffs Tsonga: 15-0. Rafa set up his point well, but a stunning passing shot from Tsonga: 15-15. 15-30. Second serve. Tsonga nets a forehand: 30-30. Second serve. Tsonga’s cross-court backhand is just out (would have been a winner if in, I think): 40-30. Rafa tees off on a forehand and nets it: deuce. Nice serve down the middle, nice forehand from mid-court: game point. (Replay shows the ball was out…lucky Tsonga didn’t challenge.) Tsonga’s return is long and Rafa holds for 5-4. Fist pump and a Vamos! from Rafa.
Second serve. Rafa runs down a deep forehand, but is late and sends his shot well wide: 15-0. Tsonga’s forehand is long: 15-15. Second serve. Let. Tsonga nets a backhand: 15-30. Error from Tsonga: 15-40.
SI_BTBaseline: Rafa’s doing that thing where he’s hopping up and down and letting Tsonga know he smells blood. This is so going three.
Fierce forehand and following smash from Tsonga saves one: 30-40. Another looping passing shot followed by a smash: deuce. Second serve, beautiful return and Rafa earns another set point. Knee up Vamos from Rafa. Loopy return, Tsonga smashes it for a winner: deuce. Second serve. Tsonga sends a forehand out: set point. Short second serve return from Rafa, but Tsonga hits his forehand wide. Second set to Rafa: 6-4.
2 aces; 0 doubles; 61% 1st serves in; 71% won on 1st; 82% won on 2nd; 6 winners; 7 UFEs; 0/1 at net
42% increase in points on second serve in the first set. Makes a huge difference.
Potty break for both players.
Both players sending shots long: 15-15. Strong hold from Rafa.
Ataraxis00: Commies understatement of the day: “There was a little lack of confidence from Nadal when this match started.”
Tsonga’s backhand clips the net and pops out: 0-15. Rafa runs down a dropper, but sends is reply wide: 15-15. Ace: 30-15. Strong hold from Tsonga: 1-1.
Rafa sends a forehand long: 0-15. Double fault: 0-30. Smart play from Tsonga – moves Rafa well and then into the net for a winner: 0-40. Good serve handcuffs Tsonga: 15-40. Tsonga hits a dropshot and Rafa’s reply doesn’t go over the net. Tsonga’ breaks for a 2-1 lead in the 3rd.
newballsplease: I’ll say this for Jo tonight, he’s got a plan and he’s damn well sticking to it come hell or high water – or Rafa. Got the break …
Serve out wide and Rafa’s backhand is well out: 15-0. Tsonga slices, Rafa nets a makeable forehand: 30-0. Forehand serve return into the net: 40-0. Tsonga holds at love for a 3-1 lead.
Tsonga’s backhand is long: 15-0. Second serve. Tsonga tees off on the return of serve and hits a backhand cross-court winner: 15-15. Tsonga’s backhand is long: 30-15. Second serve. Rafa gets a difficult shot back, but then nets a mid-court forehand into the open court: 30-30. Tsonga’s forehand is just out: 40-30. Rafa holds for 2-3.
Tsonga into the net, winner: 15-0. Rafa nets a backhand, drops his shoulders and pouts: 30-0. Return of serve winner (with his back turned to the net, no less): 30-15. Half-volley drop shot from Tsonga and he wins the net battle: 40-15. Tsonga nets a backhand: 40-30. Tsonga holds for 4-2 in the 3rd.
Second serve, but a good one. Tsonga sends up a loopy reply and Rafa storms the net to hit a winner: 30-0. Tsonga dominates from the net: 30-15. Second serve. Return of serve winner: 30-30. Second serve. Rafa sends a forehand long: break point for Tsonga. Rafa nets a forehand into the open court. He’s down a double break in the 3rd: 2-5.
Double fault: 15-15. Beautifully angled forehand volley winner from Rafa: 15-30. Double fault and Rafa has double break point. Rafa chips a return back into the net: 30-40. And then he sends one well long: deuce. Rafa gets a return at Tsonga’s net rushing feet: break point. Double fault and Tsonga breaks himself. He’s still up a break: 5-3.
Ataraxis00: Had Rafa not gagged on that last forehand this could be back on serve, but alas .. he’s still down a break.
Deep forehand from Tsonga and Rafa nets the backhand reply: 0-15. Rafa nets a forehand: 0-30. Forehand clips the net and pops well out. Triple break/match point for Tsonga. Forehand winner and Tsonga wins: 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3.