MC: Historic 8th
It’s a final of an important tournament, so it’s got to be Rafole, right? Rafa came out playing aggressively and Nole, well, didn’t. Nole seemed off and was hitting many more errors than usual. I’m not smart enough to say whether Rafa’s play had a part in this or it was all Nole. I suspect a bit of the former and a big dose of the latter. Rafa broke early in each set and used the confidence he gained from the breaks to make Nole more uncomfortable. A horrid 5th game in the 2nd gave Nole a break back. That didn’t last long, however, as Rafa broke right back. And you know what? He served that puppy out in style. Rafa wins his 8th Monte-Carlo title in a row: 6-3, 6-1.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||68%||63%|
|1st Serve Points Won||22/26 (85%)||12/30 (40%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||6/12 (50%)||10/18 (56%)|
|Break Points Saved||0/1 (0%)||3/8 (38%)|
|Service Games Played||8||8|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||18/30 (60%)||4/26 (15%)|
|Second Return Points Won||8/18 (44%)||6/12 (50%)|
|Break Points Won||5/8 (63%)||1/1 (100%)|
|Return Games Played||8||8|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||28/38 (74%)||22/48 (46%)|
|Total Return Points Won||26/48 (54%)||10/38 (26%)|
|Total Points Won||54/86 (63%)||32/86 (37%)|
|Net Approaches||5/5 (100%)||6/6 (100%)|
As it happened blatherings:
Okay, I’m awake. Oh, they are already on court for the national anthem? I appear to be running on RafaTime.
Rafa wins the toss and elects to receive.
Okay, boys. It took me 10 minutes to put on the uncomfortable compression stocking so I could sit up & watch this…entertain me.
And….it begins. Deep breaths. Be with colm.
Deep shot from Nole and a bad bounce and Rafa nets a ball: 15-0. The net cord grabs Rafa’s ball and pops it out: 30-0. Rafa nets a forehand service return: 40-0. Nole holds at love to start the match.
Excellent fierce forehand from Rafa gives him control of the point (would have been a winner against most players) and he follows through a few shots later: 15-0. Nole into Rafa’s forehand and the net: 15-15. Rafa serves out wide and follows through to the other side, only the forehand is out: 15-30. Ace! 30-30. Service winner: 40-30. Another service winner and Rafa holds for 1-1.
Nole’s forehand is out: 0-15. Second serve. Rafa digs a ball off the baseline, but sends it long: 15-15. Nole hits behind Rafa and gets a loopy reply that he follows into the net to hit for a winner: 30-15. Wonderful defense and then Rafa smacks a backhand down the line winner: 30-30. Bad forehand from Nole: 30-40. Nole sends a backhand well wide and Rafa has broken for a 2-1 lead.
Rafa pushes Nole until he gets an error: 15-0. Nole’s serve return is long: 30-0. Second serve. Nole nets a forehand: 40-0. Double fault: 40-15. Nole nets another serve return and Rafa holds consolidate the break. He’s up 3-1.
Nole sends a backhand long: 0-15. Rafa into the net, Nole’s attempt to push him back with a lob goes long: 15-30. Good second serve from Nole and Rafa’s reply is long: 30-30. Nole steps into a backhand and Rafa can’t quite get to it in time: 40-30. Rafa pulls Nole in with a drop shot, but nets the passing attempt. Nole holds for 2-3.
Nice serve out wide and Nole’s response goes wide in the other direction: 15-0. Good length from Rafa and Nole sends a forehand long: 30-0. Nole nets a forehand: 40-0. Nice first serve and Rafa holds for 4-2.
Second serve. Nole runs Rafa back and forth and finishes the point off at the net: 15-0. Second serve. Nole nets a backhand: 30-0. 30-15. Nole pushes and runs Rafa until he gets an error. Nole sends a ball long: 40-30. Rafa into the net and Nole’s pass is wide: deuce. An error from Nole and Rafa has a break point. Short return of serve gives Nole the opportunity to play an aggressive and it pays dividends: deuce. Outrageous dipping forehand from Nole: game point. Second serve. With an excellent angle that pulls Rafa off court and a lovely drop shot, Nole holds for 3-4.
Nice return gives Nole control of the point, but he sends a forehand wide: 15-0. Nicely angled forehand winner from Rafa: 30-0. And he follows that up with another one: 40-0. Second serve. Beauty of a backhand from Nole: 40-15. With an ace, Rafa holds for 5-3. (The ball was called out, Nole looked at the mark and said it was in.)
Second serve, deep return from Rafa, Nole’s shot is long: 0-15. Nole nets and overhead from the baseline: 0-30. Pushed wide and deep, Rafa sends a forehand long: 15-30. Nole sends a backhand long and Rafa has 2 set points. Nice serve out wide and Nole follows it in to knock off a winner: 30-40. Nole sends a backhand wide and Rafa breaks to take the first set 6-3.
43 minutes; 2 aces; 1 DF; 86% 1st serves in; 88% won on 1st; 50% 2nd; 8 winners; 7 UFEs; 2/2 at net; 2/4 BPs won.
14 UFEs from Nole. Let’s keep in mind: Nole’s made a habit this week of playing sloppy first sets and then coming back. Stay concentrate!
Beauty of a forehand serve return from Rafa: 0-15. Second serve. Nole sends a ball long: 15-15. Nice serve handcuffs Nole: 30-15. Nice serve, weak return, Rafa into the net to knock off a winner: 30-15. Again, Nole having trouble getting out of the way of the serve and Rafa holds to start set 2.
Longish rally with Nole pushing Rafa deep and Rafa frames a ball: 15-0. Oh Rafa. That was a lovely, lovely angled volley: 15-15. Nole hits a drop volley, Rafa started running before the ball was struck and he knocks off a winner at the net: 15-30. Rafa moonballs a return and Nole sends the backhand reply out: 15-40. Second serve. Nicely constructed and executed point from Nole – pulling Rafa wide, hitting into the open court: 30-40. Second serve. Nole sends a backhand long and Rafa breaks for a 2-0 lead in the 2nd set.
Nice serve and Nole’s reply is long: 15-0. Another error: 30-0. Second serve. Nole nets a backhand serve return: 40-0. Second serve. Nole nets again and Rafa holds at love for 3-0.
Loose forehand from Nole: 0-15. Nole backhand cross-court takes Rafa out wide and he can’t curl the forehand back in: 15-15. Rally with a lot of running and sliding ends on a miss-hit from Rafa: 30-15. Fierce forehand from Rafa and another netted shot from Nole: 30-30. Nole back and Rafa fires a forehand winner: 30-40. Second serve. Nice! It looked like Nole had gained control of the point, but Rafa saves it with a lob and finishes it with a forehand winner. He breaks for 4-0.
Forehand return of serve winner from Nole: 0-15. Rafa mishits a backhand: 0-30. Rafa sends a ball long and Nole has triple break point. Let. Second serve. Rafa nets a backhand and Nole breaks for 1-4. Rafa still up a break.
Nole guides a backhand wide: 0-15. Another bad shot: 0-30. Return of serve winner from Rafa and he has triple break point. Nole nets and Rafa breaks for a 5-1 lead. First big fist pump of the match from Rafa.
Rafa sends ball out: 0-15. Overhead winner at the net: 15-15. Nole’s shot is out: 30-15. With and ace, Rafa wins!!!