Viña del Mar: Sliding into place

Concentrate face

Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

For his 3rd round match in Chile, Rafa took on fellow Spaniard and world #64 Daniel Gimeno-Traver. This match could not have started more differently than his first one as he came out firing, held, broke and then held to find himself up 3-0. He later broke a second time to go up 5-1 and then served out a quick and tidy first set.

The second set was a wee bit less tidy, but only in that Rafa wasn’t getting quite as much traction in Gimeno-Traver’s service games while Gimeno-Traver managed to get a few nibbles in Rafa’s. Basically, Rafa seemed to relax a bit while Gimeno-Traver was smart enough to take advantage of it. Also, Rafa got his first time warning. Got a feeling we might see a few of those this year. In the 9th game, Rafa hit an amazing forehand passing shot to earn a double break point. Gimeno-Traver saved one, but Rafa broke to go up 5-4. Serving for the match, Rafa ran into a few hiccups, had to save 3 break points and took 4 match points to win. But he did win: 6-1, 6-4.

All in all, Rafa appeared to be far steadier, confident and, well, smooth in his movements than in his first match. As that last game showed, however, there’s still a bit of rust and nerves to shake off.

Stats:

Nadal Gimeno-Traver
Statistics on Serve
Aces 1 2
Double Faults 1 0
1st Serve % 68% 47%
1st Serve Points Won 29/44 (66%) 17/22 (77%)
2nd Serve Points Won 14/20 (70%) 10/24 (42%)
Break Points Saved 4/4 (100%) 3/6 (50%)
Service Games Played 9 8
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 5/22 (23%) 15/44 (34%)
Second Return Points Won 14/24 (58%) 6/20 (30%)
Break Points Won 3/6 (50%) 0/4 (%)
Return Games Played 8 9
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 43/64 (67%) 27/46 (59%)
Total Return Points Won 19/46 (41%) 21/64 (33%)
Total Points Won 62/110 (56%) 48/110 (44%)

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23 Responses

  1. rahul says:

    How quick that was.. Thanks Miri.. Waiting for some videos for this match

  2. Rafafan says:

    Hi Miri. Thought he was never in danger. I had to zip in and out of the room so didn’t see the time warning! I did however see that he sort of keeled over towards the end and got really worried, especially then when he couldn’t serve. It made me think he had a twing in the knee. I can always tell with Rafa when he is wincing. He screws his nose up and then shows his teeth. I know it sounds silly but that is when I know he is in pain! Am not sure if he is going to come out for the doubles. What do you think? xxx

    • miri says:

      I wasn’t worried either, but I do think that last game and a few shots here and there showed some rust. I saw nothing that made me think he isn’t going to play doubles.

  3. Rafa4ever says:

    miri, if I read the draw correctly, Rafa’s next opponent is not Zeballos but either Chardy or Lorenzi.

  4. Rafafan says:

    Well done Rafa but was concerned about how he stopped and keeled over more than anything. I don’t think any doubles tonight do you?

    • kamal says:

      happy for rafa. quick question where in the match did rafa look like hes in pain because of his knees i wanna go back and look at it? thanks.

  5. micamica says:

    Thank you Miri for posting so quickly.

    Rafa looked more flexible today. GT was pushing him around the court.

    Highlights video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxZJRD7DW-c

  6. Silkyway says:

    Hello everyone! This is my first comment here, as I found out about this site only last week.
    I am so happy Rafa is back and hope he keeps on finding his mojo and be back to his 100%, always keeping his health in mind.
    Thank you all for downloading the matches and posting the articles and pics.
    Now, a completely off-topic question that one of you might be able to answer. Has he gotten engaged to Xisca? The reason I ask is that it says so on Wikipedia(in Portuguese). Btw, I’m from Brazil.
    Cheers, and thanks again for all the info you post here:)

    • Denizen says:

      That’s one of two inaccuracies I spotted in a cursory review of the Portuguese Rafa Wikipedia page, and I don’t speak Portuguese!

  7. Isabelle says:

    Loved seeing him warming into his game and also liked that DGT didn’t go away in the last game so Rafa got some challenge. Also, a very lovely smile (a heart melter) at the net in response to something DGT said.

  8. Sharon/London says:

    Well I thought his movement was better and can see everything improving slowly. Good for him to have a tight game when serving for the match to test the nerves closing it out. I thought in that moment he didn’t look nervous, quite confident actually.
    When Rafa pulled up i thought he had something in his eyes because he wiped them with his shirt. I didn’t see it as being a knee problem, I hope not anyway. What does anyone else think?

  9. Isabelle says:

    Loved seeing him warming into his game and that DGT didn’t go away in the last game so Rafa got some challenge. Also, a very big lovely heart melting smile at the net in response to something DGT said.

    • Isabelle says:

      Too weird, I input my comment and then about 40 minutes later noticed it didn’t “take” so wrote it again. And now I discover I am a repeat offender.

  10. Silkyway says:

    Sharon, I watched the game on TV and, yes, you’re right. He was wiping something from his eyes, some clay probably.

  11. kamal says:

    happy for rafa. quick question where in the match did rafa look like hes in pain because of his knees i wanna go back and look at it? thanks.

  12. Silkyway says:

    Thank you Denizen. I thought it was wrong since I hadn’t heard anything about an engagement, but today, as I was checking Wickipedia I came across this piece of information… I gotta say now I’ m curious… What’s the second innacuracy? All the best:)

  13. Ch F says:

    I know we tend to be concerned about the knee all the time, especially since he admitted that he’s still in pain. I personally think about it all the time so I understand the concern, but I think or hope, rather, that it was just the serve that didn’t work so well in the 2nd set and made him nervous. He knows he has to rely on it a lot to reduce the effort, especially now that he’s still testing the waters. It has happened before and that was my impression about yesterday as well. The rust didn’t help either.

  14. Louise says:

    Well done to Rafa, you’re playing great. I think he has been playing amazingly well considering, he has been off court for 7 mths. Yes, noticed some rust but, that will be corrected as he gets more practice and matches under his belt. I think the top 3 should take note and reconsider their goals for RG. The King of clay is on his way. Can’t believe Murray said Rafa had lost his aura pfft…..

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