Montreal: Finding form

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP

Rafa defeated Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-3 in Montreal’s round of 16 today. I wasn’t able to watch and am currently watching the replay so I’ve only seen part of the match, but I have to say that I like what I’m seeing. Looking at the score/stats I also like that Rafa served out both sets without getting broken. Progress! It looks like it was clean straight sets win with few side trips. He’ll need to keep that up next round where he’ll meet Kei Nishikori.

Nadal Youzhny
Statistics on Serve
Aces 2 2
Double Faults 2 5
1st Serve % 73% 58%
1st Serve Points Won 34/46 (74%) 26/42 (62%)
2nd Serve Points Won 8/17 (47%) 15/31 (48%)
Break Points Saved 3/3 (100%) 7/10 (70%)
Service Games Played 9 9
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 16/42 (38%) 12/46 (26%)
Second Return Points Won 16/31 (52%) 9/17 (53%)
Break Points Won 3/10 (30%) 0/3 (%)
Return Games Played 9 9
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 42/63 (67%) 41/73 (56%)
Total Return Points Won 32/73 (44%) 21/63 (33%)
Total Points Won 74/136 (54%) 62/136 (46%)
Other Stats
Winners 20 14
Unforced errors 26 29
Net Approaches 10/11 (91%) 4/8 (50%)

6 Responses

  1. mallorcanchamp says:

    Well, this is Rafa enjoying himself again on court. I can tell this from the way he varies his patterns and constructs rallies in a way no rally is like the next one. Now looks like he’s mind is dictating freely and calmly the way to play. No more disordered play for long periods of time.

    He’s back to dictating a good amount of rallies. Today was a very energetic game from both players and Rafa could dictate a lot of rallies even with his backhand. That means he’s in a good form.

    Backhand was a CANNON today. But I take it with a grain of salt until I see him against a top 10.

    You have to look particularly at the way he uses his serve right now. Today he was quite unpredictable. Placement and depth were impressive.

    He uses a lot more his dropshot now and in a effectively way.

    All in all, that’s the sign of a player who no longer believes that just some concrete pattern is effective for him, but he believes that he can use ANY shot of his set and succeed with it.

    Sure this period of vacation helped him to rediscover some form and motivation for tennis.

    With just two matches played it’s too early to tell how this improvement of form is gonna revert on results. You have to consider both Stakhovsky and Youzhny were one-handers which Rafa normally eats for breakfast ;)

    Nishikori is a different animal, way above any rival Rafa’s faced after RG. Tomorrow is a “Kei” game and we’ll see where’s Rafa’s game right now.

  2. jodiecate says:

    This was a fantastic match to watch, really entertaining – and i don’t think it was as close as the score suggests, Youzhny made Rafa work really hard for that win. Some of the points were just amazing.

    I’m glad that Rafa won it in a much more straightforward way and didn’t make things too hard for himself at the end of sets. There were still quite a few really bizarre shanked shots that all you can do is shake your head over – so still room for improvement.

    I agree, Nishikori is a much different opponent and playing really well. Rafa will need to be a notch up again than today. Was interesting to see the comparisons about how much faster Rafa played today than yesterday. Hope he is able to pick it up again against Kei, he’s going to have to do something strikingly different to get a win over Nishikori i think. Good to hear that he’s been practicing three hours per day. It definitely seems to be paying off.

    • Roxitova says:

      Pretty much exactly my impression too.
      Some of the shanks were disconcerting–they were “gimmes” and it was good enough against Youzny, but it won’t be good enough against Nish.
      Youzny actually played really well–I don’t know how he fell to #107.

      Rafa’s BH was worth taking note of–it was really potent. And his FH is beginning to look like the weapon we’re more accustomed to.

      Truly an exciting match–it always is when Rafa plays well and has a good opponent.

      Now I’m concerned they won’t be able to play today, lots of rain in Toronto and forecast for Montreal as well.

      Rafa has a very tough draw from her on in, and it will be the first big test in ages.

  3. Agree with the above. Great match to watch, good rallies – nice to see Youzhny playing well too. Rafa seems to be enjoying his tennis and to believe he’s moving in the right direction, which is what really matters to him. If Kei has a good day I think he’ll win but I hope/expect Rafa will take the positives and move on.

  4. Aero says:

    Finally able to hold serve, looking more and more like the old Rafa despite the high unforced errors. Tomorrow will tell where his game really is, facing a higher ranked opponent. I’m thinking Nishikori will win but if Rafa can even push it to three sets he’ll have made some improvement.

  5. Merrill says:

    Am loving Rafa’s lobs—had forgotten about that shot and how effective it can be against opponents who come to the net