RG: Saturday with Chip, Dale and Fabio

AP Photo/Michel Spingler

AP Photo/Michel Spingler

Once again, I forget to write a match report while the match is going on. So, let’s see. Rafa played #29 Fabio Fognini in the 3rd round of Roland Garros today. The match was…weird. Rafa didn’t seem to have a lot of energy and, as usual, Fognini altered between amazing shots and awful errors. Actually, Rafa was a bit like that too. There were some highly entertaining rallies, and Fognini put up a valiant fight until the start of the 3rd set (he surged a bit at the end), but over all, it just felt…weird. Bottom line is: Rafa’s through 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4. (To understand the title, scroll down to the Storify section.)

Double Faults12
1st Serve %78%67%
1st Serve Points Won52/81 (64%)47/86 (55%)
2nd Serve Points Won14/23 (61%)26/43 (60%)
Break Points Saved8/11 (73%)13/18 (72%)
Break Points Won3/11 (27%)5/18 (28%)
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won66/104 (63%)73/129 (57%)
Total Return Points Won56/129 (43%)38/104 (37%)
Total Points Won122/233 (52%)111/233 (48%)
Other Stats
Unforced errors4059
Net Approaches15/20 (75%)17/31 (55%)

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54 Responses

  1. Ruthie says:

    Well played Rafa – vamos & God bless.

  2. M. E. G. says:

    Thanks, Miri. That was a bit hard to watch. Warmer weather, please. Rafa has not looked anything like his best, yet what he has shown thus far will get him to next Friday. The first set was a comedy of errors & some of the ugliest clay court tennis I’ve ever seen him play. Hopefully, w/ a day off to get back into his normal routine he’ll find his rhythm, which he needs to find soon!

    The windy conditions probably contributed to so many risk-adverse shots, but it’s hard to remember a week where he’s hit as few sharp-angled shots as this one. He let Fognini give it away early, as the best players do.

    At this point, however, I want no part of Djokovic. None. And temps in the mid 20s C on Friday.

  3. Patricia/England says:

    Phew that’s another one under the belt.

    I was wondering if Rafa had shares in heart pacemakers ‘cos I reckon we will all need one soon. It sure was hard to watch but at least it was only 3 sets. Well done Rafa onwards and upwards x

    • jodiecate says:

      That’s true! It was only 3 sets, yay!!!
      Even tho it went 2 tiebreak, he did not lose first set, better than last two matches. :) He pulled aces when he needed to a couple of times. Sure i wish he did that more – but some is still good.

      Big props to Fognini for giving it a really good go and trying just about everything. He seemed to be really enjoying the challenge and putting up as good a fight as he could. My Tater’s thought he was having too much fun & needed to take it more seriously in order to beat Rafa – i disagree. Reckon it was only once Novak started really enjoying the losses that he worked out how to beat Rafa. Don’t lose quietly, lose with style and flair!

      Really hope the warmer weather comes and helps Rafa lift his game asap!!

  4. Mystic says:

    Oh Happy Day! Glad that Rafa won, that he did it in 3 sets, that the sun is finally shining and that the fans showed him some love today. Rafa displayed a lot of true fighting spirit in the first set which was both a joy and relief to see.
    The whole Fabio, Chip and Dale thing is just too funny! Looks like he wants to be spanked in that picture. But Rafa looks kinda scary in that tweeted picture if you ask me. He looks non-human or like the terminator or something!

  5. Celeste says:

    Am worried. Should I be? His game is off….I can only hope he’ll get over whatever it is that’s bothering him..

  6. Tommy says:

    As much as I like to have faith in RAFA but it is either RAFA playing not at his best for some apparent reason or he is so unlucky that his oppenent get to peak of their game by the time they face nadal but I believe it has something to do with nadal rather than his oppenents but anyhow he is through and will fight for another day but I am seriously worried about RAFA and his fitness as that seems to be the main problem and lots of up and downs


  7. rafan says:

    I think it is alot to do with the weather and no spins on his racket lots of unforced errors. Don’t worry if the sun shines he will come good! Remember what Rafa said. “The only negativity is the weather”. If you think about it in all his Paris wins he has never experienced weather like this! on going

    • Lilia Ortega says:

      I love Rafa…and I am worried about his demeanor is on the court.
      There is something up with him. He is struggling more with his own self, than with his opponents. He seems very unhappy and I have a get the sense he is also feeling unwelcomed.

      Missing shots that are a walk in park for him? Even Jimmy Arias who was calling the match through ESPN and usually cannot hide his disdain for Nadal was saying that he (Rafa) was not himself. The thing is that the opponents are beginning to believe they can beat him. If they stick with him and go for the kill they “believe” and this is something that Nadal has to contend with as well. Of course I want him to win this slam…but if he doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world. He can win it next year, and the next. What I really, really don’t want is for “joker” to blow him out of the court in a semi final. I am not sure how Rafa could get over that, psychologically. I think it would be like Fed and Nadal. Nadal pretty much owns the Fed (mentally) unless Federer is flawless. The ideal of course is that Nadal picks up his game considerably and establishes himself as the king for the next two games…but if not, I really don’t want a semi where Rafa is playing badly. Because we know the joker is going to get there…with ease. I guess this is the fan in me talking. A worried fan who believes he has done enough and that if he doesn’t win this he has a real shot at Wimbledon. Call me crazy, but Rafa will win a slam this year. It doesn’t have to be this one.

  8. CC says:

    I guess there’s no chance of seeing a picture of Rafa in his Armanis like that…


    Anyway, Rafa won. That’s good.

  9. Ramara says:

    Rafa only almost lost the first set today. I guess that’s progress.

  10. dk says:

    The telling stat for Nadal is the winner/unforced errors: 24/40. When Nadal is playing well, he almost always has more winners than unforced errors. I fear that this will not be his year to win RG but I hope I am wrong.

    • jodiecate says:

      Hi dk, don’t be too worried about the errors, that wind was awful – no one could play in that wind and not make errors left, right and centre!

      The fact that he can make so many errors and still win the match, that has to be admired and has to carry us through for now. Of course, won’t get him anywhere with Novak, but he still has two more matches to improve & better weather coming. Don’t give up hope yet!! :)

  11. rafan says:

    Wow DK 40 unforced errors! That’s unheard of from Rafa on clay…. isn’t it….. Well what can we say – progress? Yeah the sun pipped through… that’s progress… and of course he won the first set at a squeek and as anticipated Foggy wonderful shots but full of mistakes. What worries me is how easy he set his backhand up for a cross court winner – which is Joker’s speciality and you wouldn’ texpect that from Foggy. Is it Rafa’s positioning on court which I think it is – again Yawn Yawn Yawn…. too far behind the baseline but worse still he can’t get that forehand when there is a backhand to his forehand that is hard….. very worried rafa fan. But at least he has Niskowori next which I am not too worried about and even better Warwirinka after instead of the one I feared the polish guy who Uncle Toni said could be a future no. 3

    • Ch F says:

      Really? I think Wawrinka could be very tough.

      • john f says:

        any one will be tough for rafa at this stage ChF.

        woe is me!!.

        The way rafa played today – almost all very passive defensive shots, on the whole little pace/power on his shots until soehwere in the third set , esp nowhere near power on forehand, no angles to speak of, letting opponent “control” play in what? 80% of rallies?, backnhand off….short, middle of the court, and what’s almost as bad slow balls time after time…and his general body language around the court just not good. no real spring in his step ….just didn’t “want” to be there, or so it seemed. We’re not talkin gthe big servers and flat hitters of the previous two matches either. With those guys , were used to rafa being patient, taking control of longer rallies, and capitalising on his few opportunities to break big servers a high percentage of the time . Yet in this match, besides failing to capitalise so many times in the course of play raf had 18 break point opportunities – and grabbed 5, plus failing to serve out the final set when he was two breaks of serve up (and those broken service games were NOT tight by any means)

        my uess is uncle toni will be….well unfortunately for rafa, uncle toni! hope he can perk rafa up, becasue today it was the physical and the mental emotional stuff that just wasn’t firing…

        i hate to say this but Nishikori is playing $13 (for a $1 bet on him to win his match against rafa, rafa is paying $1.04 to win ) at the sports betting bookies andI’m thinking of placing a 5 euro bet on Nishikori. I’m more than happy to lose that should rafa win, for sure, but on the form to date does anyone really think that rafa is 13 times more likely than Nishikori to win? No way – maybe it’s a better than 50/50 chance rafa will win….but not that much better on the form of the last three matches. Where Fognini is erratic and error strewn – meaning he lost the match today that he could have and perhaps should have won- Nishikori is the paragon of consistency and can take his opportunities in ralloes with the best of them. On today’s form (and the form of the first two matches) rafa will be giving him far too many opportunities

  12. Annie says:


    This link has a portion of his presser that is VERY interesting – and somewhat concerning. :(

    • Lilia Ortega says:

      I read this…it is concerning! The pressure and the expectations that the media has put on him as well as his fans is getting to him.

      He has to know that this is not the only grand slam he can win. He has to know that it won’t matter. He has to know that he should just enjoy…enjoy…enjoy. Today when he spoke about how happy he was just to be there, after all he had been through, for some reason it seemed to me almost as if he needed the crowd to remember where he had been through. Like do you guys remember I was almost out for an entire reason?

      He has been a superman and this post that I just read, just broke my heart.

      Hopefully his family and his girlfriend will be there next week and he can feel all that support. I could see today uncle Toni and his camp today. They looked very very concerned. Not worried about the game so much as about him. He is totally unfocused and I have a feeling that he just doesn’t feel happy there. He does not want to be there.
      Rafa…vamos estamos contigo 100%. Enjoy it. Just enjoy it.

      Screw what everyone expects and what everyone wants. You’ve done enough already so now, just enjoy.

    • jodiecate says:

      Thanks for the link. It’s not too concering – he knows there are problems, how could he not? It’s not surprising he feels the pressure there – everyone (except Rafa fans) thinks he’s either got RG in the bag already, or that Nole will take it from him like candy from a baby.

      Yes, we need to have faith. The good part is – we all know he can play much better than what he’s playing – we know there are several gears he can still shift up. If he was playing his best and having trouble then we can cry. While he’s playing with errors and lethargy, yet still winning, let’s stay happy!

  13. Annie says:

    He admits to having a lot of anxiety in Paris.

    • leslie says:

      Then I guess the only thing we can do for Rafa is overwhelm his social media (facebook and twitter) with our faith in him. He needs to hear a multitude of Vamos Rafa!
      I’m going to go do that right now.

    • Mystic says:

      Rafa has been really hard on himself lately. I think it’s because this is his first slam since losing to Rosol last year. There is so much pressure on him it’s unbelievable really and that is why this different side of him is coming out that we are not used to seeing. I just want to give him a big hug poor guy. Regardless I still think he is doing well given all the pressure. In the end it will make him stronger regardless of what happens.

    • Sharon/London says:

      Added to that a meeting with Novak in the SF when he knows he is not at his best.

  14. Tina says:

    Thank God Rafa won in straight sets, as I just read here. Although I didn´t see the match, I can understand, that Rafa seemed a bit off his game today? But he did win it afterall.

    I hope he gets some good rest tomorrow and will be able to practise, as the weather looks much better and warmer. VAMOS

  15. Susanna728 says:

    As others have said, there have been a number of tournaments in the past, including the FO, where Rafa started out like this, feeling anxious, and ended up winninng the trophy. I’m not worried yet. We’re not even into the second week.

    • Gatito says:

      “We’re not even into the second week”
      That, precisely, is the point.

      • Sharon/London says:

        He has made it into the 2nd week not playing his best tennis so that’s good and he didn’t lose the 1st set today so broke that pattern. Rain prevented him from practising on Thursday and he has played 2 matches in 2 days, complained and been unhappy with the officials and the weather. It’s all been going on the last few days but he got through it. Day off tomorrow playing Monday so back on track now and weather forecast for next week looks good. To much expectation put upon him every year. He will work it out and if he doesn’t win RG this year then I’m fine with that.

        Just glad to see him back playing on the tour with more titles than I ever thought he would get.

  16. beegee says:

    I do think the weather has played a huge part this week. When Rafa can’t get the desired result off of his spinning, hopping shots and those shots that are normally crippling to opponents are coming back with interest, he tends to lose rhythm and his confidence takes a dive. A day of rest will do wonders for him, but a dry court and sunny skies will do more. Hopefully he can get out on a practice court tomorrow in good weather and rifle some forehands to give him a boost. Believe in Vamos!

  17. patzin says:

    Rafa seems to need a certain level of training and practicing that he is not getting. Weather doesn’t help him with cool, wet conditions; knee doesn’t like that. I read the quotes from the presser; he sounds depressed and says he is anxious. The calm of Madrid and Rome has left him, as he says, and now he seems confused. Being a confidence player, he needs the structured level of practices to bring him to the court with the same feelings/flow.
    So, hope Sunday off for his activities will help him regroup for Monday and next week. In past he has started slow at RG and hopefully this is another one of those situations and he will ‘right the path of the ship’ & return to the Rafa we know and love. He is a man, not invincible; but always giving his best for the craft he loves.
    We are with him in spirit and for his sport.

  18. rahul says:

    Even Rafa knows about his level and it is pretty clear if he plays like this in further rounds, he will be down in straight sets to Novak or he might even loose in quarters.
    The surprising thing is, after playing so well on clay in madrid and rome, he should have come more strong in Paris, but his level has gone down so much… and please after 8 tournaments it should have nothing to do with 7 month gap..

    • Sharon/London says:


      Why are you always so negative?

      Rafa has had a shit week . A best of 5 is a different mindset to best of 3. It’s his 1st slam in a year and as he said just because you are aving success you can go to a slam the next week and lose. He has said he is struggling, we can see that but he is winning his matches by grinding it out through grit and determination.
      The media frenzy is unbelievable. One day he is a tennis god he loses a couple of sets then he is useless.

      I think the next 2 matches against Nisikori and probably Gasquet he will find his best tennis. All you seem to be worried about is Novak and I’m sure Rafa is to but if he loses so be it. He has had a remarkable comeback so appreciate seeing him back on the court win or lose.

      • JayDee50 says:

        Well said, Sharon, negativity helps nothing.

      • rahul says:

        Sharon -

        What did I say ? That If rafa plays the way he is playing he will be back to Mallorca very soon, and surely against Novak..
        Whats negative in that ? Evan Rafa said the same.. did you read his presser ?
        No one is calling him useless, nor writing him off, we all know he will pick up during second week..Dont you understand the difference between realistic and negative ???

        The problem with you is that you just want to hear good good about rafa, the typical crazy fans, like the other day on a forum for roger someone said an obvious point that he is slow and gets tired during these long matches.. so the typical roger fan rebuts – why are u so negative, he will be back as he always did…

        So, as much as you want and hope for Rafa to play his best, so do I, but if you are concerned about the outcome against Nishikori and Gaasquet and Novak later..good for you .. be happy :)
        I just hope he picks his level against Nishikori and just worried about Novak..

        One more thing Sharon – Whether you accept it or not.. If there is any threat to Rafa winning French open – it is Novak Djokovic.
        Rafa has to play real bad as he is playing to cause any jitters from other guys on ATP, else he just has 1 danger – Novak..
        and thats why I am only worried about Friday.

        • Sharon/London says:


          Your right I am a crazy fan.

          I would like rafa to win all the time just like you would your favourite football, baseball team etc..but its impossible i do know that. A person can be a pessimist or an optimist and I am the latter. I am fully aware Rafa’s not playing great tennis and his main threat is Novak and if he loses on Friday then so be it. I’m not worried. Should he get that far he would have played 3 more matches in which he has chances to improve his game and I hope he does. It would be nice for him to move on to Wimbledon with positive thoughts.
          I come on this site because people make some interesting and valid points with some humour thrown in there as well and I enjoy reading the posts.

      • Melissa says:

        Sharon, thanks, as always.

  19. hainsey says:

    No, he didn’t play great, but that is sport. He found a way, improved from last match and knows what he needs to do to improve.
    When Rafa plays below his best he normally grinds it out and wins, other players get knocked out, that is how good he is. What is most important is he is back playing and if he manages to win then fantastic, if not, then I am sure he will have plenty of more chances, it will not be the end of the world. Vamos!!

  20. rafan says:

    Anyone know why again Djoker is on Chatrier again tomorrow. Fed and Rafa have been on Susan Langlen so when will Djoker be – in the quarterfinals? If he gets through tomorrow who will he possibly play then? If he doesn’t get onto Susan Langlen then the whole scheduling is definitely fixed.

    • miri says:

      I normally wouldn’t even reply to such nonsense, but I have actual info this time: Gasquet requested to be put on Lenglen (per quite a few media people tweeting from onsite) because he prefers that court. The other men’s match (Haas/Youzhny) doesn’t have any marque guys in it (as much as I might like them, they aren’t “big name” players). So, Nole on Chatier makes sense.

      This is what I mean when I say we have no idea how many different things/considerations go into a schedule.

      • Ramara says:

        I think a lot of players prefer Lenglen because it tends to be less windy than Chatrier. There’s speculation that Rafa likes Chatrier because of its size which gives him lots of room to defend and receive. I don’t know that Rafa has ever expressed a preference. I remember last year when players complained about how windy Chatrier was Rafa just said “I am not the one to say I don’t like Chatrier.”

      • rafan says:

        Thanks Miri but that is not what I understand. The big (4) is meant to get one on Langlen. Ferrer is a big name but he is shoved on Langlen or a lower court. Preference given to what French players want rather than being fair to Fed and Rafa having Novak on Langlen. Sorry I don’t buyy it. You even said yourself that each of them would get a turn on Langlen.

        Rant finished.

        • miri says:

          The plan is for each of the top players to get a turn on Lenglen. Plans don’t always get played out, though, do they? Each day presents a fresh set of details and considerations to balance.

          Ferrer is put on Lenglen because, let’s face it, the tour has never thought of him as a big name. Not saying that’s right. Hell, one tournament even left him off the OOP once! (Besides, he’s not on tomorrow’s schedule, so it’s a moot point.)

          Preference is given to ‘home’ players at EVERY tournament. Why do you think Rafa was just about always at the same time in Madrid? That was: 1. the time when the light was the best; 2. the time they had a broadcast window on Spanish TV.

          Why do you assume that it’s “unfair” to play on Lenglen? We know for sure one player prefers it there. Perhaps more do.

      • Sharon/London says:

        Is the Gasquet match the only scheduled match for SL for the whole day? Novak’s match couldn’t be scheduled before or after the Gasquet match then.

        • miri says:

          Two men’s matches, two women’s matches on each. The one men’s match was a given due to a request from a local player. I’ve already explained why I thought the other one was put there.

          I know I opened the door by talking about this in the first place (when it’s totally off-topic to this post). My stupid fault for thinking logic was the way to go about this. I forgot that conspiracy theorists are unable to see anything but conspiracies.

  21. Lilia Ortega says:

    Does anyone know the order of play tomorrow? At what time does Rafa play? Anyone? I can’t seem to find the info.

    • miri says:

      There’s a link to the order of play in the right side bar of almost every page on the site.

      • Lilia Ortega says:

        Thank you…for some reason, in my computer, I don’t see it. I have a Mac. I see the box that says who he played, the score of the match and who he will be playing next, but not at what time. Nevertheless, I found it in the FO page.
        Thank you. You do a great job.

  22. Lilia Ortega says:



  23. kyukee says:

    Totally another weird match…can’t seem to get a full grasp on how to describe Rafa’s play since FO started.

    I just feel that Rafa needs a really good game and a good scoreline vs Nishikori in straight set just to silence all the doubters and to give him and us that much need boost and confidence and we come nearer to the nole match because right now with between rafa and nole the odds aren’t really in his favor. He keeps playing this way and he might as well all go home and give Nole the trophy, which is sad because i really wanted Rafa to win this one.

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