IW: A nail-biter with a happy ending
After his surprise 3rd round walkover, Rafa had a challenge on his hand in the 4th as he played an in form and recently re-dedicated to tennis Ernests Gulbis. Both men held serve with relative ease until the 10th game when two errors from Rafa (one absolutely horrid) gave Gulbis the break and the set: 6-4.
Rafa broke in the first game of the 2nd set, but Gulbis broke back in the 4th. Gulbis’s brain went on a bit of a vacation in the 7th game as his shot making decisions became suspect and he was broken. Rafa went on to serve out the set: 6-4.
Things got weird and testy in the 3rd set as Rafa got a coaching violation. The line judge says he overheard Roig telling Rafa to hit to the backhand (which would be dubious advice). Rafa says they speak Catalan and not Spanish so the line judge couldn’t understand. Angry Rafa went on to hold. The match kept getting tighter and tighter and points crazier and crazier. Aggressive Rafa showed up in the 11th game and he broke to go up 6-5. He looked a little shaky in that last game (double faulting on match point), but he ended the match on an awesome forehand winner. He’s through to the next round: 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.
This tweet from Darren Cahill pretty much sums up the match for me:
Geez…. I’ve missed Rafa. Love the struggle, love the fight, love the emotion, love the hate to lose attitude. #vamosrafa
— Darren Cahill (@darren_cahill) March 14, 2013
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||66%||66%|
|1st Serve Points Won||52/69 (75%)||47/62 (76%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||14/34 (41%)||13/31 (42%)|
|Break Points Saved||2/4 (50%)||5/8 (63%)|
|Service Games Played||16||16|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||15/62 (24%)||17/69 (25%)|
|Second Return Points Won||18/31 (58%)||20/34 (59%)|
|Break Points Won||3/8 (38%)||2/4 (50%)|
|Return Games Played||16||16|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||66/103 (64%)||60/93 (65%)|
|Total Return Points Won||33/93 (35%)||37/103 (36%)|
|Total Points Won||99/196 (51%)||97/196 (49%)|
|Net Approaches||11/20 (55%)||11/17 (65%)|