RG: That wasn’t tense at all, no?

AP/Petr David Josek

AP/Petr David Josek

Rafa played #1 Novak Djokovic in the first men’s semifinal at Roland Garros today. It was the 35th meeting between the two men – their last slam meeting was in last year’s final. As expected, they came out swinging. Rafa struggled mightily on his first service game. Things got better after that as he broke Nole in the 7th game to go up 4-3. He rode that break to take the first set 6-4.

Unlike the first set, the second set started with players making weird errors. Rafa’s ball started bouncing amazingly high and frustrating Nole to no end. This lead to Rafa breaking in the 5th game for a 3-2 lead. Nole, however, broke right back and went on to take the set 6-3. His game had settled big time and he was looking much more confident.

The second game of the 3rd set had a low-energy Nole being broken. Rafa followed that up with a love hold. The rest of the was just weird. Rafa took it 6-1.

Rafa broke in the 7th game of the 4th go to up 4-3. Excellent returning had Nole breaking right back, though. Rafa broke in the 11th game to go up 6-5 to earn the right to serve from the end of the court that no one had won a game on in a while. They went to a tiebreak which Nole dominated to take the 5th set 7-6(3).

Rafa was broken in the first game of the 5th set. He broke back though…I forget which game because right now I’m too emotional/exhausted. I can’t begin to describe that set right now. It was alternately weird and freaking brilliant. Rafa’s through to the final: 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7.

Nadal Djokovic
Aces 6 5
Double Faults 3 2
1st Serve % 64% 67%
1st Serve Points Won 73/102 (72%) 76/118 (64%)
2nd Serve Points Won 35/58 (60%) 30/57 (53%)
Break Points Saved 4/9 (44%) 8/16 (50%)
Break Points Won 8/16 (50%) 5/9 (56%)
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 108/160 (68%) 106/175 (61%)
Total Return Points Won 69/175 (39%) 52/160 (33%)
Total Points Won 177/335 (53%) 158/335 (47%)
Other Stats
Winners 61 54
Unforced errors 44 75
Net Approaches 15/26 (58%) 32/50 (64%)

84 Responses

  1. Celeste says:

    We are one in thinking he may not have anything left in the tank for Sunday’s final after such a long hard fought match…it brings me back to Australian Open 2009 when he had that epic semifinal win against Verdasco in over 5 hours with less time for recovery…surprisingly so he came back and won it in 5 sets. Rafa is truly amazing…he will be ready for Sunday and he will claim #8.


  2. Keith says:

    This is the classic Rafa we used to know; winning when it seemed impossible. He has it back.

  3. Annie says:

    Incredible win from the Great One. Watching on the stream really took alot from the match. At least for me it didn’t seem as intense as all your comments make it out to be. But I got to see most of the 5th on NBC and that was a treat!

    I was tweeting like mad throughout the match. It’s a great help for the stress.

    Miri, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I just love your incorporating tweets into your match reports. It’s a wonderful addition!

    I am with colm for Sunday’s final. Rafa looked fresh at the end of today’s match. He’ll be rested and ready to go by Sunday. Hope the weather cooperates.

    Rafa’s season thus far has been nothing short of astounding. 9 finals, 6 titles and counting? Could we ask for anything more?

  4. Elfie says:

    Yoohooo! What a fantastic match between 2 gladiators, and our champ never stopped fighting for a minute! I couldn’t believe how much Rafa upped his game, almost a different person. Stridi.g around the court between points,with such purpose and colm,& getting such bounce out if his FH. But what an epic see-saw battle, and so stressful! Vamps Rafa, recover well for the final, as Daveed will be fresh!

  5. nazi says:


  6. simon perry says:

    Amazing tennis match.

    Rafa showed why he is such a great player. Was really aggressive as well with his shots.

    I like David Ferrer and actually think it would be nice to see him win a slam. Cant see it tomorrow though. Nadal to win number 8. Vamos

  7. johnf says:

    found a VERY interesting analysis of the match
    well worth the (lengthy) read

  8. Karen says:

    Such an amazing match with the best result ever. Rafa coming back from 4-2 down in the 5th will do wonders for his confidence.
    I had a feeling all the last 2 weeks that he was conserving energy to be ready for this particular match & let his tennis do the talking instead of saying what he was or wasn’t going to do. I really think Novak wanted this Title too much & let his emotions get the better of him. Thank goodness our Rafa has the ‘colm’ & maturity to stay in the present. That’s one of his biggest assets! Vam8s Rafa, go get your 8th & make more hi8tory!!!

  9. Ch F says:

    I waited till today to maybe find the words to express the joy of it all, well, I’m still out of words! What a competitor, what a battle!

    I am so happy Rafa stayed with Nole throughout the match both physically and mentally. Not only did he not collapse in the 5th but he found the strength to come back and change the momentum again.

    Daveeed won’t be a walk in the park, so vamos for the title, Rafa!

    • Patricia/England says:

      Me too Ch F, it was certainly a hold your breath, will he wont he match, exhausting to watch. I did miss Mohammed in the chair though, is he on holiday?

  10. Lou Lou says:

    It been a while since I posted here but this match!! This Match!
    Nole & rafa’s matches are always so incredibly tough fought match because their ability to match each other’s style of play. But this one, after Rafa lost the tie breaker and then his first game of the last set, he looked so down and tight. But he never ever gives up does he!? He fought and fought clawed his way back in.

    Just the quality of his play. His shots, his service, his movement on court – it was just so beautiful to watch.

    Vamos Rafa!!!

  11. DS says:

    Is there anywhere besides watching tennis channel repeats (in the US) where I can get to see this match. I was working. Does tc even have this online for there subscribers (I am not one).

    • Ruthie says:

      Rafa was truly amazing against Novak and tomorrow I know it will be a hard fought match. I like Ferrer too and he deserves to be in this final. However, I am a Rafa fan first and foremost and hope our boy will bring home that trophy for the 8th time to make tennis history.

      I hope it will be a great match.

      Vamos our Rafa & God bless.

    • Ruthie says:

      DS – when I was in the States staying with friends I found that I could watch matches via ESPN3 on the computer. They were sometimes a day or so late but I was able to watch them that way.

      Good luck.