RG: No contest

Photo by Clive Brunskill/ Getty Images

In his second round match, Rafa played #43 Denis Istomin. It was another of those early round “the result seems inevitable” kind of matches. Istomin tried and, at times, played some nice tennis, but it really didn’t matter. Rafa’s through 6-2, 6-2, 6-0.

Nadal Istomin
Aces 0 4
Double Faults 1 2
1st Serve % 69% 66%
1st Serve Points Won 34/44 (77%) 22/41 (54%)
2nd Serve Points Won 14/20 (70%) 5/21 (24%)
Break Points Won 7/15 (47%) 0/2 (%)
Total Service Points Won 48/64 (75%) 27/62 (44%)
Total Return Points Won 35/62 (56%) 16/64 (25%)
Total Points Won 83/126 (66%) 43/126 (34%)
Other Stats
Winners 25 16
Unforced errors 17 25
Net Approaches 12/14 (86%) 11/20 (55%)
Fastest Serve Speed 206 KMH 208 KMH
Average 1st Serve Speed 181 KMH 191 KMH
Average 2nd Serve Speed 145 KMH 143 KMH

53 Responses

  1. Melissa says:

    Sweet. Vamos, indeed! Faster betwen the sets, more net work, some work on serve until he felt stung. Through is all.

  2. JC says:

    Miri, Istomin is ranked #43, not #106, though judging from the score, you might think so ;)

  3. Ramara says:

    “the result seems inevitable”. Until it isn’t. I refer you to Serena.

    Good to see Rafa brought his 1st serve % up – it was only in the hi 40’s for the first set!

  4. micamica says:

    It was a good match in places, there were a couple of good rallies. Rafa’s 1st serve percentage was 48% in the 1st set and 69% (i believe) for the match. He needs to work on it still but he won comfortably and that’s what i expected.

    I did want Istomin to givehim more of a challenge in the last set but once Rafa’s got his rhythm and he smells blood, most opponents are finished.

    • micamica says:

      The website is not showing right on my mobile phone or computer, i did not see the stats at the top until i refreshed it.

  5. rafafan says:

    Still worrying on Rafa’s serve. Yes around 45% in 1st set and 69% overall. He was certainly banging those forehands away and seemed to enjoy the match. So many smiles and talking to himself and looking up to the box though – as if he wanted U Toni’s approval. 25 winners to 17 unforced which I guess shows you his aggressiveness. But not one backhand winner at all which is a little worrisome and also I noticed he was always always running round his backhand. I would have thought with such a comfortable match like this that he would have wanted to practice his background. Istomin ran out of steam and strategy in the end and I think the likes of Djok, Ferr etc. the ultimate strategy will be keep pounding to his backhand I am afraid. Anyway good net play for Rafa. Don’t think he lost a single point at the net. Wish he would do it so more. Good solid performance but needs to step up the serve and backhand. Who does he play next? I am gonna worry if its Raonic on Saturday?

    • micamica says:

      He played well at the net last year against Federer. You are right, he did run around to use the forehand a lot today.

      I hope he works on those things you mentioned before he meets Fed or Djoko.

      • moon says:

        yea runs around his backhand a lot and most of them werent even convincing returns…he didnt hit backhand winners but the shots were good though n every good backhand shot got him in the position to win the point or get an error from isto!

    • jodiecate says:

      Not Raonic!! Next plays F.Mayer or E.Schwank, should be ok :)

      • Shamababes says:

        Why is everyone afraid of Raonic? He has never taken a set our beaten our guy. They’ve only played on hardcourts! We know that on clay Nadal is a DIFFERENT animal!
        Be calm and have belief that even if there is a repeat of next year’s first round match..He’ll still prevail!

        • wendya says:

          He nearly took Fed out the other week and he looks to be playing extremely well at the moment…too well for my liking!

          • CR says:

            I have just two words about the Raonic/Federer match which should make everybody feel better — blue clay. :) Not that any player wants to face a big server on any surface. But Rafa looks SO comfortable already, he’s going to be playing amazing tennis by the time he has a chance to meet Raonic.

        • jodiecate says:

          Actually, i’m right with you on that Shamababes – i am not afraid of Raonic or even Isner for Rafa.

          Despite the big serves he still seems to beat them, and on clay he’ll be fine. It’s just that the big servers do seem to make the match a bit tougher for Rafa. Sure he can do it, it’s just he has less opportunity step in & let fly, to dictate the points.

          I actually prefer Rafa to have more challenging matches early on as i feel it lifts his level more quickly. But i heard someone ask him once and he said “No, easier matches are always more preferrable. Aways.” Um… but i still prefer the trickier ones.

  6. JC says:

    The 31st of May, exactly three years ago that Rafa lost to Söderling, Istomin’s mother was wearing pink (coincidence?), were the stars aligned for another shocker? Not really!

  7. JK says:

    The last time Rafa beat Istomin in the second round of a grand slam was USO 2010…. ding, ding, ding…

    I still remember that long slide Rafa made on the HC rushing to the net that left a mark!


  8. Rafaella says:

    Haven’t seen the match yet but learning that he won this morning is absolutely fantastic! – with a bagel and not losing a set, that’s a bonus!

    Gotta love Rafa! :D

  9. Aini says:

    Great to see that Rafa’s serve percentage has gone UP! So is it SAFE for me to wear the RED Rafa FO 2012 T tomorrow? I’m a bit phobic as last time I wore the PINK T in 2009..err..well.. we all know what happened..

    Note to self: Okay..STOP being Superstitious..RAFA can handle his matches! :o)

  10. jodiecate says:

    Yeah, i thought the first set serving stats were a bit scary but he still won it 6-2?!! So, can’t be cross.

    I enjoyed watching the match, was impressed by all the different things Istomin was trying! It seemed a touch unfair that he was going the whole hog and yet still ended with: 2-6, 2-6, 0-6

    Very straightforward win for Rafa. As long as the serve & backhand keep improving think he’ll be fine!

  11. Tina says:

    What a performance from Rafa today. Job indeed well done, and I LOVED that smile, while serving for the match. We don´t usually see that from him, but he just couldn´t hide the fact, that he was so happy and relieved getting through in such a dominant way:-)

  12. the other Maria says:

    It was a good match, particulary the second set, which was a pretty contested one. The guys played good tennis. I liked the fluidity in Rafa’s shots today. I liked the smile before he served for the match.
    I couldn’t ask for a better present for my birthday! Thank you, Rafa!

  13. Allyn Sims says:

    Rafa always improves during the first week of a major. His 1st serve percentage for the first set was low, but it was 74% in set 2 and 92% in set 3. And his winning percentage on 1st serve in set one was 90%. If he’s trying to be aggressive on his first serve, that can explain the lower percentage. I think our boy is doing fine. Anti-jinx.

  14. Melissa says:

    You’re right, Allyn. And McEnroe was blown away by Rafa’s poise and game at this point in the tournament. Where Fed still struggled awhile and Novak griped some in this round, Rafa smiled. I liked his on-court interview; I’m colm.

  15. Susanna728 says:

    Rafa looked very very sharp today – hitting the ball so cleanly — you could hear it. Funny but I have the opposite impression about his backhand than what was said in couple of comments. To me, it looks like overall he’s relying on his backhand much more and not running around to hit a forehand quite as much. I thought I noticed this in Rome too. Seems as if he’s hitting a lot more backhands from the middle of the court which he rarely did the past. (One of the commentators (I think Brad Gilbert) commented on this too.) Anyway, if he can do that, he’s giving his opponents a lot less open court to hit into.

    • Rafaella says:

      I’m with you on this, Susanna. Djokovic has been attacking his backhand relentlessly on all their matches and so far, the backhand is responding so well specifically during MC and Rome. ;D

  16. john f says:

    I think the first set o this match really put rafa under a test – mentally and physically. He couldn’t find a first serve at all – i kept a mental note from rafa’s first three service games and i think he was like 7 in a row before he landed a first serve an maybe 3 or 4 out of 15. compare that to the last set where he landed 11 of 12 first serves. (stats are at http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/stats/day10/1232ms.html) . But the success rate doesn’t tell the story of the power. Those first serves in set 3 had a “crack” to them, US open style, whereas he couldn’t buy anything like that in the opening of the match – the first elves just seemed weak, they didn’t have that “cracking” flow of power that he can – and did – generate.
    That must be SO damn frustrating for him….to get into crap pattern of serving like that. Yet he really just seemed to shrug it off, deliver some very decent second serves, and work the points well. Patient, waiting to get the rhythm bak on the serve, obviously experimenting, trying…but accepting, believing that eventually it would come back and meanwhile doing a great job around the court. To me that adaptability emotionally to the ebb and flow….”X is not working very well just now , but I’ll just keep on with Y and Z coz they are” …..point by point, then to turn it all around….eg in set 3 he was flowing round the court, striking balls very well on all his shots (admittedly Istomin lost the plot in the third set….).

    The serve is so damn important in modern game on al surfaces, but you can be a little off on clay and STILL win, and win well, because it tests so many other facets of play. Thats why I like clay and thats why I like rafa – there is usually a string to his bow that he can pull out to win, and he delivers so much under pressure!

    Backhand? Ok there were no backhand winners today but I thought his backhand was rock solid. good depth, sometimes flattening it out, other times with lots os spin…it worked well. I also think the lack of backhand winners was because Istomin was delivering a lot of balls into the middle of the court – he doesn’t usually find the angles that fed or djok or other can. ANd raf’s backhand winners seem to me to actually come out of situations where he is under pressure, on the run, has to come up with the great passing shot….and does. Istomin didn’t push him that way in this match (although when isthmian to behind some of his shots they were a delight – he’s a bit like Almagro that way – incredible pace and power , on occasion, but just not quite consistently enough) .

    I do hope rafa gets to play Raonic – just cause Raonic is different, new and different…and remember the opening round of last years RG against a big server like Isner . But Raoninc is moving better than Isner….and on the day he could make it a great match. But I actually think Rafa will play Monaco rather than Raonic – Monaco is very good on clay and Raonic, even with his super serve, just doesn’t have the experience? Well I hope I am wrong because Rafa Raonic would be great to watch!

    Onward and upward Rafa….Vamos!

    • Sharon/London says:

      i dont want Rafa to play Raonic if possible. Rafa doesnt like the big servers. It puts more pressure on him in his service games to hold on to his serve, and he seems to be having some problems with his serve at the moment and with the big servers it’s hard to break them so if you lose your serve you lose the set basically.

      yet to watch the Istomin match, need to catch up on that but i didnt see him as a threat really.

  17. Patricia/England says:

    Well he was certainly “In the Pink” today, thought Denis Isomin’s mum was part of the “Fire Up Rafa” brigade. He certainly seemed a lot calmer serving out the sets. Well done our boy.

  18. Sharon/London says:

    does anyone know where you can read the transcripts to Rafa’s pressers? All you get on the RG website is a video of a few minutes of their interview.

  19. Jummy says:

    ‘Knew Istomin was no match for Rafa.Congrats Rafafans!
    I do agree with u, Sharon/london.I hope Rafa does not have to play Raonic.I prefer monaco(ref. to last yr’s David’s Cup match),though, he is a better player now, rafa has got his no. The Canadian on the otherhand has been playing good tennis of late.Fed should thank his stars, d way Raonic wz playing the other time, he could have taken him out. That is not to say Rafa cannot beat Raonic, however, i do feel rafa will be better off saving up energy to combat Daveed or Murray who seems to be finding some way to win matches.
    Again, let’s not totally eliminate the possibility of playing Djoker in the finals, if Rafa do play him, i believe that we all want him playing ‘lights out tennis’.So the less time spent on court, the better for our boy. Vamos Rafa!

    • Karen says:

      Only saw half of 2nd set and 3rd set, but what a treat that 3rd set was. It was like watching a great artist at work. Rafa was so calm, confident and playing fab tennis. Will rewatch it later as it was so enjoyable. If he does meet Raonic in 4th rnd he just needs to bring this type of game to the court and his opponent will be in awe.

  20. littlefatduck says:

    I thought Rafa’s form is so much better this season than last. Was so freaked out when I first saw that shirt on, but as some rightly out, it was raspberry not pink (unjinx)!

    He will take Roland Garros I am sure. I haven’t seen him so sharp for quite a while. Vamos!

  21. Ruthie says:

    Well played our Rafa – the pink to me is a very robust colour and I love it. I wear that colour a lot myself.

    Vamos our Rafa & God bless.

  22. Nancy says:

    Hey Guys,

    Did anyone see this – a french radio station phoning Rafa early in the morning (prank call) saying they are the hotel hairdresser and want to wash his hair. It’s not particularly funny and it’s abit rude when Rafa was scheduled to play a match later in the morning. Typical Rafa though handled it with class.


    • miri says:

      It was linked to in the May 30th lint post – although, not to bleacherreport…never to bleacherreport…or as I call it, blechreport.

      • Aini says:

        Hmm..i’ve been meaning to ask..who is behind BLEACHER REPORT? Some of the articles are strewn with grammatical and spelling errors,wrong data,etc??! are actual professional writers contributing articles there or just any Tom, Dick and Harry??Just curious..

  23. Fan M says:

    Good luck Rafa for your upcoming game! Go Rafa Goooooo!!!

  24. Nancy says:

    Or sorry Miri – didn’t see it in the May 30th link. :)

  25. Fan M says:

    Go Rafa and Win!!!