MC: Into another final
On a very blustery day, Rafa played #15 Gilles Simon for the opportunity to play in his 8th consecutive Monte-Carlo final. Simon came out firing – he showed an aggressive game plan right from the start and it paid dividends. He was playing a lot of the points better than Rafa, but couldn’t step up on the key break points. Instead of hitting out, Rafa was taking pace off the ball to try and make Simon generate his own. For the most part, that worked. Rafa’s through: 6-3, 6-4.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||57%||57%|
|1st Serve Points Won||27/37 (73%)||23/32 (72%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||19/28 (68%)||12/24 (50%)|
|Break Points Saved||7/7 (100%)||3/5 (60%)|
|Service Games Played||10||9|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||9/32 (28%)||10/37 (27%)|
|Second Return Points Won||12/24 (50%)||9/28 (32%)|
|Break Points Won||2/5 (40%)||0/7 (%)|
|Return Games Played||9||10|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||46/65 (71%)||35/56 (63%)|
|Total Return Points Won||21/56 (38%)||19/65 (29%)|
|Total Points Won||67/121 (55%)||54/121 (45%)|
|Net Approaches||5/8 (63%)||5/9 (56%)|
As it happened blatherings:
Simon won the toss and elected to receive.
That was a fun rally: 15-15. Oh dear. I’m easily distracted today. This doesn’t bode well. Rafa holds.
Long rally ends with Rafa sending a forehand out: 30-0. Aggressive Simon? He holds at love: 1-1.
15-0. Simon sends a backhand out: 30-0. Service winner: 40-0. With a nice forehand winner, Rafa holds at love for 2-1.
Simon’s serve takes a bizzare bounce: 15-0. Double fault: 15-15. Rafa’s return is long: 30-15. Short ball, Rafa storms the net and hits a nice forehand that Simon can’t get back: 30-30. Another odd bounce and Rafa mishits: 40-30. Simon holds for 2-2.
What the heck are those glasses, Benito?
After a long rally, Rafa into the net again and hits a swinging volley behind Simon. Ace: 40-0. Second serve. Simon gets the ball right at Rafa’s feet, comes into the net, hit’s a decent shot, Rafa’s pass is wide: 40-15. Rafa into the net after a strong serve and smacks the floaty reply for a winner to hold. 3-2
In a 34 shot rally, Simon works Rafa’s backhand until he gets an error: 15-0. Rafa’s forehand is out: 30-0. Second serve. Another excellent point from Simon –works Rafa’s backhand and then fires a forehand winner down the line: 40-0. Simon, outhitting Rafa, holds at love for 3-3.
Again, Simon works the backhand and then hits a backhand cross-court winner to the open court: 0-15. Rafa’s forehand is well wide: 0-30. Ace: 15-30. Repeat the point before the ace: 15-40. That serve was into the middle of the doubles alley. Ball takes a super weird bounce and Simon loses his footing trying to adjust: 30-40. They really need to fix that darn court. Simon into the net, hits a nice first volley, Rafa replies and Simon nets: deuce. Simon sends a ball well long: game point. Bad drop shot attempt from Simon and Rafa holds. *whew* 4-3.
Simon sends a backhand long: 0-15. Backhand to backhand to backhand, etc, until Simon sends a ball out: 0-30. Rafa hits late and sends a forehand wide: 15-30. Simon overruns a forehand and sends it well out: 15-40. Second serve. Wind gusts blowing clay all over the place. Short angle from Rafa and Simon’s reply is out. Rafa breaks for a 5-3 lead.
Simon nets a service reply: 15-0. Rafa’s forehand is long: 15-15. Simon’s serve return is out: 30-15. Second serve. Simon’s return of serve is wide: 40-15. Rafa’s second serve clips the net and it pops out wide: 40-30. Second serve. Despite losing the ability to get a first serve in, Rafa holds and takes the first set 6-3.
43 minutes; 57% 1st serves in; 75% won on 1st serve; 75% on 2nd; 5 winners; 7 UFEs; 4/4 at net
Oh crap, forgot to walk in between sets. While I do, Simon holds and it’s 15-15 on Rafa’s serve. Ace: 30-15. Simon can’t do anything with the serve: 40-15. With a forehand winner, Rafa holds for 1-1.
0-30 for Simon on his serve. Beauty of a forehand from Simon, Rafa barely gets to it, but not in time: 15-30. Beautiful side spin drop shot from Rafa: 15-40. Simon nets a ball and Rafa breaks for a 2-1 lead in the second.
Rafa’s shot is out: 15-0. Second serve. Nice return from Simon and Rafa’s backhand is wide: 0-30. Both players running each other until Rafa ends it off with a forehand down the line winner: 15-30. Simon sends a forehand long: 30-30. Simon hits wide and short to Rafa’s forehand, Rafa runs it down, but sends his down the line shot out: 30-40. Second serve. Rafa gets into a forehand groove and Simon sends a ball well long: deuce. Simon thinks a ball was out, stops play and is right: break point #2. Service winner: deuce. Second serve. Simon hits the shit out of the ball until he finally draws an error from Rafa: break point #3. Second serve. Nice drop shot from Rafa and Simon can’t run it down: deuce. Service winner: game point. Simon’s ball is called out, he doesn’t agree, but chair is certain. Game, Rafa: 3-1 in the 2nd.
Error from Simon: 0-15. Rafa hits behind Simon and draws an error: 0-30. Simon into midcourt and hits a lovely forehand winner: 15-30. Simon had his shot, but pushes it long: 15-40. Nice serve: 30-40. Second serve. Rafa’s serve return is long: deuce. Rafa varies the pace/spin and Simon nets the ball: break point. Rafa sends a return into the doubles alley (the wind got him there, I think): deuce. Simon drop shots, Rafa gets there…but sends the ball wide: game point. Rafa had his chances, but Simon holds for 2-3.
Another touch drop shot from Rafa: 15-0. Nice deep shot from Simon draws an error: 15-15. Simon nets: 30-15. Rafa’s ball is called out, Simon isn’t sure, the chair comes down – out: 30-30. Simon pushes Rafa deeper/wider until he draws an error: 30-40. Fluffy second serve and Simon nets the reply: deuce. Excellent long rally somehow ends with both guys mid-court/nettish and Simon takes it: break point. Rafa steps up the pace on a forehand and draws an error: deuce. Beauty of a down the line forehand winner from Rafa: game point. Second serve. More wind gusts, pigeons flying…and Rafa saving break points with his forehand. Normal day. Rafa holds for 4-2.
30-0. Nice forehand from Rafa: 30-15. Rally starts with both guys angling each other off the court, then they move to the middle – ends with a long forehand from Rafa: 40-15. With an ace, Simon holds for 3-4.
30-0. Simon sends a shot long: 40-0. Double fault: 40-15. Second serve. Rafa sends a forehand into the net…halfway down the net: 40-30. Simon had a forehand set up for him, but he nets it and Rafa holds for 5-3.
Nicely constructed point from Simon – he smashes a winner at the net: 15-0. Simon sends a ball long: 15-15. Second serve. Rafa bosses a point – hitting hard – but Simon sneaks in a backhand winner crosscourt to take it: 30-15 (35 shot rally). Simon into the net, Rafa gets the ball high to Simon’s backhand and Simon sends the ball into the net: 30-30. Rafa nets a ball: 40-30. Simon sends a ball long: deuce. Massive forehand winner from Simon: game point. Simon nets a backhand, Rafa nets a serve retrun: game point. Simon sends a forehand well long: deuce. Rafa into the net, Simon gets the ball low and Rafa can’t get it up and over the net: game point. Second serve. It was a tough fight, but Simon holds to force Rafa to serve for the match.
Rafa storms the net, hits a semi smash into the open court, it’s called out. Chair overrules: 15-0. Secondn serve. Beautiful angle from Simon draws Rafa well wide, Rafa barely gets it back, Simon into the net…and nets it: 30-0. Nice angles from both guys – Simon sends the ball into the net: 40-0. Let. Forehand winner and Rafa’s into the final: 6-3, 6-4.