IW: The present
Today Rafa played #7 Juan Martin Del Potro in the final of the BNP Paribas Open (aka, Indian Wells). Rafa was playing for his first hard court title since Tokyo in October 2010; Del Potro was playing for his first Masters 1000 title, ever. Rafa held to start the match. The second game was a long one. It took 4 break points, but Rafa finally broke to go up 2-0. Del Potro stepped things and Rafa had an off game and was broken in the 5th game to put them back on serve. Del Po’s serve started heating up and his holds got easier. Rafa’s balls started dropping shorter and he was broken in the all important 9th game. DelPo served out the set 6-4.
Set two started with more forehand errors from Rafa. Couple that with a massive passing shot winner from DelPo and Rafa was broken at the start of the second set. In the 6th game, DelPo alternated between brilliant shot-making and errors. Lucky for Rafa, the errors outweighed the brilliance and he broke to put the set back on serve. Rafa’s energy and body language looked so much better at this point. It was now DelPo who looked frustrated. Rafa road the body language and attitude change to break again in the 8th game and go up 5-3. Rafa held and love and served it out with an ace: 6-3.
The third set started with Rafa having break chances in DelPo’s serve. DelPo managed to hold and Rafa followed with a hold at love. All in all, a positive way to start the set. Things got even better when Rafa broke for a 2-1 lead in the next game. He kept holding with ease and had triple match point on DelPo’s serve in the 9th game. Showing the kind of fight he’s shown all tournament, DelPo came back and held to force Rafa to serve for the match. And that he did. Rafa’s the 2013 BNP Paribas Champion: 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
I promised myself going into this match that I would be okay with either outcome. Rafa’s said that just being in the final is a present and I completely agreed. But that attitude is difficult to keep up when you are watching your guy struggling and so want him to play well. I can take him being outplayed, but not looking out of it, frustrated and having negative body language. Then, Rafa started being the Rafa we all know and love – fighting back, working his way into the match. Win or lose, Rafa reminded me of the importance of never giving up and constantly trying to change a negative into a positive. And I thought, this is the most thoughtful present ever.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||62%||69%|
|1st Serve Points Won||33/49 (67%)||46/69 (67%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||21/29 (72%)||12/30 (40%)|
|Break Points Saved||0/3 (0%)||14/18 (78%)|
|Service Games Played||15||14|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||23/69 (33%)||16/49 (33%)|
|Second Return Points Won||18/30 (60%)||8/29 (28%)|
|Break Points Won||4/18 (22%)||3/3 (100%)|
|Return Games Played||14||15|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||54/78 (69%)||58/99 (59%)|
|Total Return Points Won||41/99 (41%)||24/78 (31%)|
|Total Points Won||95/177 (54%)||82/177 (46%)|
|Net Approaches||8/15 (53%)||13/22 (59%)|