With a trademark forehand passing shot, Rafa broke in the 4th game to go up 3-1. Feli had multiple break points in the next game. On the last one, Rafa got a time violation warning and Feli hit a fantastic stab volley to break and put the match back on serve. Rafa broke again in the 8th game to go up 5-3, but he double faulted while break point down and trying to serve for the set. They were back on serve 4-5. In the next game, a beautiful (if a bit misshit lob) gave Rafa triple break point. He wasted one an an unforced error. On the second one, deep angled hitting from Feli drew an error. A huge serve saved the third. Both men went on to hold and Feli was serving to force a tiebreak when he double faulted to triple break point. It took Rafa a few tries, but he broke to take the set 7-5.
Both men held to start set two, but a fabulous return from Feli and an errant forehand from Rafa saw Feli going up a break. That one break was all he needed to take the set 6-4.
Set three was a demonstration of how to hold serves as both men held with ease until it was tiebreak time. Rafa looked like he’d played a pretty good volley on the first point of the tiebreak, but Feli scooped it up and returned it for a winner. But that lead didn’t last long as Rafa hit a smoking passing shot to put things back on serve 1-1. Feli got another minibreak to go up 3-1. A beautiful volley behind Rafa and an ace put Feli up 5-2. He went up another minibreak and then took the tiebreaker and the match. He defeats Rafa 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
I really thought Rafa started out well tonight. Somewhere along the line, he lost the read on Feli’s serve and started guessing…and he wasn’t guessing well. And Feli was serving very well. Also, even in good years, Rafa often struggles in Cincy. So…it is was it is. *sigh* Onward.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||68%||54%|
|1st Serve Points Won||49/65 (75%)||39/53 (74%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||17/31 (55%)||28/46 (61%)|
|Break Points Saved||3/6 (50%)||8/11 (73%)|
|Service Games Played||17||17|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||14/53 (26%)||16/65 (25%)|
|Second Return Points Won||18/46 (39%)||14/31 (45%)|
|Break Points Won||3/11 (27%)||3/6 (50%)|
|Return Games Played||17||17|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||66/96 (69%)||67/99 (68%)|
|Total Return Points Won||32/99 (32%)||30/96 (31%)|
|Total Points Won||98/195 (50%)||97/195 (50%)|