Beijing: Slow start, strong finish

Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

In the first men’s quarterfinal match at this year’s China Open, Rafa played #30 Jack Sock. Rafa got off to a slow start, dropping the first set. He steadily improved and finished the match with some solid hitting. He’s through to the semis with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win.

Nadal Sock
Statistics on Serve
Aces 4 5
Double Faults 3 0
1st Serve % 64% 53%
1st Serve Points Won 39/51 (76%) 31/42 (74%)
2nd Serve Points Won 15/29 (52%) 19/37 (51%)
Break Points Saved 4/6 (67%) 5/8 (63%)
Service Games Played 14 14
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 11/42 (26%) 12/51 (24%)
Second Return Points Won 18/37 (49%) 14/29 (48%)
Break Points Won 3/8 (38%) 2/6 (33%)
Return Games Played 14 14
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 54/80 (68%) 50/79 (63%)
Total Return Points Won 28/79 (35%) 26/80 (33%)
Total Points Won 83/159 (52%) 76/159 (48%)
Other Stats
Winners 19 29
Unforced errors 25 35
Net Approaches 6/11 (55%) 8/16 (50%)

Match notes:
After both men started the match with quick, strong service holds, Rafa struggled on his and went down double break point. He got back to deuce, but then down another break point, he double faulted to give Sock a 2-1 lead. In the 6th game, Rafa went up triple break point. Sock steadied his play and got back to deuce. Rafa got another break point, but Sock saved it with a smoking forehand and he went on to hold. In the 9th game, serving to stay in the set and down a break point, Rafa double faulted to give Sock the set.

Rafa played a smart game to start the second set and broke Sock’s serve. And you know what? Rafa held that lead and, when serving for the set, served it out. This was a very good new.

Rafa started the 7th game of the third set with some vintage hitting. Sock donated an error and Rafa ran with it to break and take a 4-3 lead. Rafa held and then came out firing in the 9th game. He went up double break point, but just needed the first one to break, take the game, set and match.

8 Responses

  1. degard says:

    vamos rafa!

  2. beachfan says:

    Miri’s summary was short and sweet. I thought Sock played a smart first set and Rafa was sluggish. Rafa raised his level in sets two and three, but he needed to. Sock played well, but increased his UFEs. This is the kind of match Rafa was losing this year. Prior to this match, Rafa was 0 -4 in hard court quarters. Good news today!

  3. Heath says:

    Your title sums up the situation really well, Miri. Despite that first strong game, Rafa seemed almost sleepy and lacking in energy in that first set which Sock deserved to take. It was good to see Rafa to pick it up in the next two sets, improve his serve, focus and accuracy and control the errors. And, of course, to break to finish. Vamos, Rafa; onwards and upwards!

  4. Aero says:

    Great, he got through that one, Sock was dictating points in the first set and able to use his forehand freely. Glad Rafa got smart and changed tactics to move in closer and take time away from Sock to force errors. Its a good sign seeing him fight back and win. Rafa is still too tentative and defensive at times, I wish he’d be a little more aggressive. Hope he can exact revenge on Fognini tomorrow. Djokovic is still on fire so he’ll probably run away with this tournament though it would be nice to see Rafa in a final again.

  5. CC says:

    A slow start and a strong finish is all I could ever ask for from Rafa…

    *faints*

    • CB says:

      CC, you are too funny! :)

      So great to see Rafa making adjustments after that first set and playing more confidently. I expect that he will give Fognini all he can handle tonight!

    • sia says:

      hmmmm …. CC !! :)
      I’ve been waking up and watching reruns of these matches … nice waking up with Rafa.
      He seems to be holding his own … not giving too much atm. No panic, but also no pure ferocity in Rafa’s game right now. I think it’s fine. Stay healthy on the fast, hard courts; get ready for next year.
      He’ll be in London (for all those lucky enough ….) so not a bad year at all.