In the last match in Ashe stadium, Rafa played #23 Fabio Fognini tonight. We all know the recent history, so no need to re-hash (after all, ESPN kept showing their dust-up from Hamburg over and over). Rafa came out like he was thinking of that dust-up and had a statement to make. There were glimpses of the Rafa of old in the first 2 set – and they lasted longer then they have been lately. In the third set, he got tentative and Fognini put the pedal to the metal and didn’t look back. He was hitting winners right and left and bossing Rafa all over the court. Rafa fought his heart out. Fabio was zoning. In the end, the zone beat the heart. He defeats Rafa: 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||67%||62%|
|1st Serve Points Won||63/93 (68%)||35/103 (34%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||17/46 (37%)||30/64 (47%)|
|Break Points Saved||7/16 (44%)||11/19 (58%)|
|Service Games Played||24||24|
|Fastest serve||125 MPH||121 MPH|
|Average 1st serve speed||110 MPH||105 MPH|
|Average 2nd serve speed||88 MPH||89 MPH|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||38/103 (37%)||30/93 (32%)|
|Second Return Points Won||34/64 (53%)||29/46 (63%)|
|Break Points Won||8/19 (42%)||9/16 (56%)|
|Return Games Played||24||24|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||80/139 (58%)||95/167 (57%)|
|Total Return Points Won||72/167 (43%)||59/139 (42%)|
|Total Points Won||152/306 (50%)||154/306 (50%)|
|Net Approaches||19/22 (86%)||39/54 (72%)|
Fognini won the toss and elected to receive. Rafa held and then broke Fognini – with an assist from Fabio. In the next serve game and down break point, Rafa stormed forward and Fognini’s passing shot attempt clipped the net – Rafa was broken and they were back on serve: 2-1. We weren’t done with the breaks as Rafa broke with a beauty of a lob winner in the next game: 3-1. Rafa had break/set point in the 8th game, but Fognini held to force Rafa to serve for the set. Which he did. At love. Bless him.
Both men exchanged routine holds until the 7th game of the 2nd set. Rafa hit some massive forehands to earn break point, but his return let him down. On another break point, he worked a point well, but the long rally ended when he sent a backhand into the net. Fognini held for 4-3. Both men held until Rafa was serving for the set at 5-4. He went up 40-0, but then hit some awful forehands. I admit, I got nervous. At deuce, they played a crazy point that Rafa won to give him set point. He won that point and the set: 6-4.
Rafa broke in the 3rd game of the 3rd set and then consolidated with ease for a 3-1 lead. In the 6th game, Rafa went down triple break point (the bad forehand made an appearance) and Fognini ripped a backhand down the line winner to break Rafa and put the set back on serve: 3-3. At 4-5 and serving to stay in the set, Rafa went from 30-0 to break/set point down thanks to aggressive and accurate hitting from Fognini. Rafa saved the first break point, but on the second one, he hit a forehand into the doubles alley and was broken. Third set to Fognini: 6-4.
The first game of the 4th set was a nervy affair with both guys committing errors. Fognini commited the last error and was broken. In the third game, Fognini played smart – moving Rafa or picking on his backhand repeatedly and then finally hitting into the open court. He broke to level the set at 2-2. In the 7th game, Rafa went down triple break point. He played tentatively and Fognini stepped up his aggression. He was moving Rafa at will. Fognini broke and then served out the set: 6-3.
Both men held easily to start the 5th. Then Fognini started hitting the every loving crap out of the ball – drawing errors from Rafa and breaking him for a 2-1 lead. Rafa played the next game beautifuly. I mean, seriously stepped up his game. He broke to level the set. But all those fist pumps and roar died in the next game. Rafa went down triple break point. He saived 2, but, his first serve gone, was broken on the last one. Fognini broke himself (with an assist from Rafa) in the next game to put the set back on serve 3-3. And…Rafa was broken in the next game. I can’t really describe the end of this match. It was insane. It…didn’t end well for Rafa. I think this one really hurt.