MC: Peachy keen
Rafa started his annual Monte-Carlo title defense by playing #48 Jarkko Nieminen of Finland. Nieminen had an aggressive game plan and executed it well, but it wasn’t enough for Rafa – even a Rafa that appeared to be doing just enough to win. Rafa’s through: 6-4, 6-3.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||65%||67%|
|1st Serve Points Won||22/31 (71%)||24/38 (63%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||12/17 (71%)||8/19 (42%)|
|Break Points Saved||0/1 (0%)||3/7 (43%)|
|Service Games Played||9||10|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||14/38 (37%)||9/31 (29%)|
|Second Return Points Won||11/19 (58%)||5/17 (29%)|
|Break Points Won||4/7 (57%)||1/1 (100%)|
|Return Games Played||10||9|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||34/48 (71%)||32/57 (56%)|
|Total Return Points Won||25/57 (44%)||14/48 (29%)|
|Total Points Won||59/105 (56%)||46/105 (44%)|
|Net Approaches||7/9 (78%)||8/15 (53%)|
As it happened blatherings:
The Borg is in the house to watch The Nadal.
Aggressive Rafa breaks to start the match. (I barely got my compression stocking on in time to sit up for the match! That puppy’s a bitch to put on. Oh had a minor procedure done on my leg yesterday, thus the need for the stocking and getting up to walk every 30 minutes.)
Rafa consolidates and he’s up 2-0.
Jarkko moves Rafa well to go up 40-0. Jarkko into the net, Rafa passes, Jarkko lets the ball go by and it drops in: 40-15. Good hold for Nieminen.
Jarkko goes for a line and misses. Aggressive play from Jarkko earns him a point: 15-15. 30-15. Jarkko nails the baseline, Rafa gets caught a bit and sends his reply long: 30-30. Jarkko nets the serve return: 40-30. Nice serve down the middle gives Rafa control of a point and he finishes it off with a smash: 3-1.
Jarkko hits to the forehand and moves Rafa left, then finishes with a winner to Rafa’s backhand: 15-0. Jarkko smashes: 30-0. Nice first serve: 40-0. Another good serve and Rafa’s reply is long; Jarkko holds at love for 2-3.
It would be lovely if Rafa could get a first serve in. Longish rally ends on an error from Jarkko. Nice forehand winner from Rafa: 40-0. Rafa holds at love for 4-2. (Despite only getting 36% first serves in)
Rafa pushes Jarkko back bit by bit: 15-30. Jarkko works his way in and smacks a nice forehand that Rafa can’t get back in the court: 40-15. Drop shot into the net: 40-30. The net cord drops Rafa’s ball just over the net: deuce. Jarkko into the net, Rafa attempts a pass and Jarkko can’t quite get to it effectively: break point. Rafa has his forehand, but sends it just wide: deuce. Lovely backhand winner behind Rafa: game point. Some nice hitting from Nieminen and he holds for 3-4.
Time for me to talk a bit.
Jarkko into the net, Rafa passes: 30-15. Rafa pulled wide, sends reply cross court, down the line winner from Jarkko: 30-30. Ace: 40-30. Rafa holds.
Nice angle from Jarkko: 30-30. Double fault: 30-40. Horrid return of serve: deuce. Rafa’s forehand is out: game point. Rafa runs Jarkko all over the place, but the point ends with a forehand winner from Jarkko. He holds for 4-5.
Rafa sends a forehand into the net: 0-15. Rafa has a forehand set up for himself – perfect shot…except he sends it into the net: 0-30. We aren’t doing that serving for the set jitters thing again, are we, Rafa? Nice serve draws an error: 15-30. Nice forehand from Rafa and Jarkko’s down the line shot goes into the net: 30-30. Rafa hits short, Jarkko steps in and Rafa gets the ball right at his feet: 40-30. With a backhand passing shot, Rafa holds to take the first set 6-4.
48 minutes; 52% 1st serves in; 71% won on 1st; 77% won on 2nd; 1 ace; 1/3 break points won.
Nice and steady hold for Jarkko to start set 2. Rafa follows with a love hold of his own.
0-40. Rafa’s return of serve is long: 15-40. Jarkko nets a ball and Rafa breaks for a 2-1 lead.
Marcel is watching.
Rafa smashes: 15-0. Rafa’s shot is out: 15-15. Nice point from Jarkko and yet Rafa still manages to turn the tables and take it: 30-15. Time for me to walk again. Rafa holds for 3-1.
Beautiful backhand winner from Jarkko: 40-0. He holds at love for 2-3.
I need to get ready for work soon – can we wrap this up, boys?
Rafa holds for 4-2.
Jarkko serves into the middle of the wrong box and then into the doubles alley: 15-30. Nice forehand winner from Jarkko: 30-30. That backhand went into the doubles alley: 30-40. That was a fun point – ends with a Rafa passing shot winner for a break. He’s up 5-2. Seems to know I need to leave for work soon.
Jarkko’s shot is out: 15-15. Break point for Jarkko… 2nd serve…Rafa’s shot is long and he’s broken.
Jarkko hits a winner behind Rafa: 15-15. Rafa went for a very cutesy angle and I thought it was going to be his undoing, but the point ends with a forced error from Jarkko: 15-30. Jarkko pulled out wide and Rafa hits a winner into the open court: 15-40. Sad end, Jarkko double faults and Rafa takes the match: 6-4, 6-3.