In his first grass final in quite a long while (2011), Rafa played #28 Viktor Troicki in Stuttgart today. It was their first meeting on grass and Troicki’s first grass court final. The first set was all about Troicki holding at love (or close to it) with Rafa’s serve coming under presser a few times, but he still only had one break point against. That meant a tiebreak was pretty inevitable. Rafa stepped it up in the tiebreaker. Troicki? Not so much. With his 9th ace, Rafa took the first set 7-6(3).
Both guys hold at love to start the 2nd set. In the forth game, Rafa got ahead on Troicki’s serve. Troicki double faulted to give Rafa a break point and then hit a ball long to be broken. Rafa went up 3-1 and then consolidated at love. Serving for the title at 5-3, Rafa got a little timid and went from double championship point to 40-40. He kept his head, though, and finished the match off at the net. Rafa wins his third Stuttgart title and his first on grass: 7-6(3), 6-3.
So far, I think grass has been the perfect change of pace Rafa needed. He’s under much less pressure given his results in the last few years. Also, he knows he must play aggressively on grass – this means he has fewer options to decide between and, thus, isn’t hesitating as much. Lastly, he knows errors are a given on grass, so they don’t make him as nervous.
What’s the deal with the post title? When asked in the on court interview if he had room in his garage for the car he just won, Rafa said, “If not, we buy a new garage.”
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||75%||63%|
|1st Serve Points Won||42/49 (86%)||30/34 (88%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||9/16 (56%)||11/20 (55%)|
|Break Points Saved||1/1 (100%)||0/1 (0%)|
|Service Games Played||11||10|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||4/34 (12%)||7/49 (14%)|
|Second Return Points Won||9/20 (45%)||7/16 (44%)|
|Break Points Won||1/1 (100%)||0/1 (%)|
|Return Games Played||10||11|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||51/65 (78%)||41/54 (76%)|
|Total Return Points Won||13/54 (24%)||14/65 (22%)|
|Total Points Won||64/119 (54%)||55/119 (46%)|