Stuttgart: Embracing the grass

Photo by EFE

Photo by EFE

Rafa took on #16 and grass court hatin’ Gael Monfils today in Stuttgart. It’s really a shame Monfils dislikes grass so much. You’d think his flashy style would be perfectly suited to it and that he could be a lot of fun if he embraced the surface like a certain other player.

The first game was a protracted affair – with Rafa having to save three break points – but Rafa eventually held. Was this how the match was going to go? Nope. Rafa did get a break point in Monfils’s next serve, but then there were a few holds at love. In the 6th game, Monfils double faulted on break point against and Rafa was up 4-2. He hung on to his lead and took the set 6-3.

In the 4th game of the second set, Rafa saved a break point against with a beautiful serve and volley point. He really looked to be getting his grass court legs under him. In the 9th game and down break point, Monfils went for a showy jump shot and missed. This gave Rafa 5-4 and the chance to serve for the match. Rafa couldn’t find a first serve in that last game, but that didn’t stop him from holding at love and taking the match 6-3, 6-4.

Nadal Monfils
Statistics on Serve
Aces 0 11
Double Faults 0 5
1st Serve % 61% 70%
1st Serve Points Won 29/38 (76%) 29/40 (73%)
2nd Serve Points Won 16/24 (67%) 7/17 (41%)
Break Points Saved 4/4 (100%) 4/6 (67%)
Service Games Played 10 9
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 11/40 (28%) 9/38 (24%)
Second Return Points Won 10/17 (59%) 8/24 (33%)
Break Points Won 2/6 (33%) 0/4 (%)
Return Games Played 9 10
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 45/62 (73%) 36/57 (63%)
Total Return Points Won 21/57 (37%) 17/62 (27%)
Total Points Won 66/119 (55%) 53/119 (45%)

6 Responses

  1. Tina says:

    What a great match by Rafa today. It was just a joy to watch, his aggressiveness, the determination, and most of all the 4/4(100 %) breakpoints saved. It was a Rafa on a mission, a Rafa that just stepped up his level, and it seemed to me, that he is just enjoying his time on court. More so than I have seen for a while, so very proud of you Rafa. Well done. VAMOS.

  2. john f says:

    I agree Tina.
    I think this tournament has been a fantastic learning/growth curve for Rafa. The changes and improvements match to match have been remarkable, and today was remarkably good grass court tennis . I think monfils wasn’t the opponet today that Tomic was yeserday, but Rafa’s level was higher. His depth of shots generally much much better, the focus and determination superb, court speed and movement terrific, wonderful touches on drop shots …Ok we all want him to recapture his US open style serves , pulling out those down the T aces when he needs them – but lets admit it, that really isn’t Rafa’s forte – what is his forte is serving well, serving varied, lots of action on the ball, serving to set up his next shot rather than serving not to have to play a next shot , controlling points on both first and second serve . And he does that pretty darn well – esp when he needs to down love 30 or 40. Hair biting stuff for us for sure, but…ANd he is doing , and more important, improving, so very well on grass here. CIlic would make a great opponent inthe final , then dolgolpolov next – such variety here in opponents…on a surface where he needs match time . SHould make his wimbledon start much better than in previous years

  3. Vamos Rafa!

    I had no idea Monfils hates grass – pity indeed.

    Are Rafa and Marc Lopez playing doubles in Queens? That would be lovely. (Tried looking it up on the new ATP website format, which I really, really hate.

  4. JayDee50 says:

    How wonderful to see Rafa back in another Final, he’s looked so determined this week, and played great.

  5. He looked like a different man out there plus happy too, which makes us all very happy as well. Must be so relieved to be doing s well on grass again. It always hits me when I remember that he’s been in 5 finals in Wimbledon!!!! We’ve been so spoiled.

  6. emir says:

    Does Monfils really so much better than Tomic as a returner ?? İf not where all those aces gone ?? Which is probably only negative thing. Rafa needs to have his service as a wepon on this grass court season in order have respectable result in Wimbledon.