Shanghai: Repeat performance

REUTERS/Aly Song

Photo by REUTERS/Aly Song

In his 3rd round match in Shanghai, Rafa played #9 Milos Raonic. Their last meeting in Indian Wells didn’t quite go Rafa’s way, but today was different. In a good new, the Rafa who played yesterday showed up again today – bucking a trend of not being able to put together back-to-back matches this year. Once again, Rafa looked sharp: his passing shots were on target, his forehands down the line curling in, his serving solid, and his returns were getting the job done.

Rafa defeated Raonic 6-3, 7-6(3).

Nadal Raonic
Statistics on Serve
Aces 4 9
Double Faults 2 2
1st Serve % 74% 59%
1st Serve Points Won 38/48 (79%) 31/40 (78%)
2nd Serve Points Won 12/17 (71%) 15/28 (54%)
Break Points Saved 1/1 (100%) 4/5 (80%)
Service Games Played 11 10
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 9/40 (23%) 10/48 (21%)
Second Return Points Won 13/28 (46%) 5/17 (29%)
Break Points Won 1/5 (20%) 0/1 (%)
Return Games Played 10 11
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 50/65 (77%) 46/68 (68%)
Total Return Points Won 22/68 (32%) 15/65 (23%)
Total Points Won 72/133 (54%) 61/133 (46%)
Other Stats
Winners 22 28
Unforced errors 16 32
Net Approaches 11/14 (79%) 7/16 (44%)

13 Responses

  1. sia says:

    I love how amped up Rafa was throughout the match … he could barely contain his energy. :D

  2. Ooooo-eeeee! Lovin’ it. Think Rafa just might have been right about small changes making a big difference?

  3. Aero says:

    Wow, this is good going so far, serving well and going for his shots again. Nice win, especially against another big server and through a another tie-breaker without nerves affecting his game. Again more winners than unforced errors which is good. Looks like Rafa’s game slump was more metal than anything, you can see the self belief and confidence again in his demeanor on court, he no longer looks lost. Hope he can maintain it. If he meets Stan next, it will be a great gauge of where his current game is.

  4. beachfan says:

    I am always unhappy when Rafa loses but especially when he beats himself due to nerves. He looked so positive in both matches and was so happy with his wins. Let’s keep it going. Stan or Marin will be tough.

  5. CB says:

    Anyone who doubted Rafa’s will and desire (not me!) will take heart in these two matches. Love his game face, his confidence and his absolute glee after these matches! Vamos!!

  6. mallorcanchamp says:

    It’s safe to say Rafa’s now calm and collected when playing in tight situations, something it’s been missing this year.

    Karlovic’s match showed old Rafa clutchness at 4-5. You can say there’s no better courage test than being at the verge of losing a set against the best serve in the history of the sport. Rafa gave us a beautiful string of returns to even the set, maybe something unseen in Rafa’s long career. Last tie break showed quite amazing mental grit too (no errors from Rafa).

    Today Rafa continued the good play of yesterday, cutting the errors and being aggressive when it was needed. I’m loving his returning position in this asian tour. He’s maybe not finding his best level of serve yet, but he’s compensating it with these amazing returns.

    Most encouraging stat is the very few errors he’s making. He’s being really solid and it’s not clay, it’s HC, when you’re supposed to miss a lot more. But I’m holding myself in optimism for now. Rafa had two solid matches but they were against awful movers/baseliners.

    Wawrinka is the first reliable test after the US Open (I don’t consider Djokovic a test because he’s too good right now that he doesn’t let you find your rhythm) and he will sure push Rafa and make him miss more.

    Tomorrow we’ll know a lot about how much he improved after the US Open.

    • sia says:

      Yep. These return stats are incredible against a server like Milos. Love watching him do it … can really see him coming back to his RRRRafa levels. With each small improvement and the comfort level with his more aggressive style both his passion and his calm fill the court.
      Good test with Stan coming up.

  7. Tina says:

    I´m just happy, that´s all. For Rafa, for his possitive and aggresive play and especially his FDTL shots, always an indicator to how he is feeling . Just happy.VAMOS!

    • Aero says:

      Agreed that one shot is an indicator of how well he is feeling the ball, many of them he was hitting on the run with narrow margins and deep penetration nailing the corners. Some awesome shot making, that’s the Rafa we’ve been missing all year!

  8. Rob says:

    Great to see classic use of the forehand and passing shot, and good fist serve percentages. real competitive mind set in all areas.

    Also I noticed Rod laver casually walked up to Rafa just before he hit the court to say how nice it was to meet rafa again. rafa looked surprised; what a nice man Rod Laver seems to be.

  9. harry houdini says:

    rafa hit ~115 on the first serve which means he is around ~118 on most parts of the two boxes. He continues his good serving from the latter part of this year and continues to return close to the baseline. He is running around a few more backhands and looks a bit faster on the court. The fh is still landing a bit short, but this part of the year ends up being a bit too fast/low for his game.

    I like roig’s comment that they are working on opening up the left side of the court with the cc bh. This cost him badly vs the fog who was nailing fh dtl winners. Interesting to see how this part of his game will develop.

  10. casmis says:

    These last 2 matches are surely validating what Rafa – and his team- have been doing – and whatever that is – keep it up. Maybe 2 coaches working together is the winning formula. Hanging in there and keeping at it with all the disappointments of this year has not been for the faint of heart – definitely takes a champion to keep trying. Just could not be happier for him!!
    And thank you, once again, Rafa for treating everyone to many of those take your breath away shots!!

  11. kellyna says:

    Only managed to see little bit of this match today (at work) but like others I was very impressed with his shot making. He was painting the lines and going for a lot of his classic shots with real confidence. You could tell he was really feeling it and really enjoying himself and I was loving it along with him. Finally he is really making progress and I’m so happy for him!