Paris: Roaring into the quarters

AP Photo/Michel Euler

AP Photo/Michel Euler

Rafa defeated Kevin Anderson 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 to be the last man to move into the Paris Masters quarterfinals. Once again, I wasn’t able to see anything but a few points of the match. The first point I saw from start to finish ended with Rafa totally bricking a forehand to lose a mini-break advantage in the second set tiebreaker. I was not encouraged. You know what does encourage me, though? Rafa recovered from that, kept enough colm to keep fighting, and found a way. That’s the Rafa I know and admire so much. Earlier this year, I think that shot could have zapped his spirit. (Oh, and he hit some jaw-droppingly amazing shots along the way.)

Nadal Anderson
Statistics on Serve
Aces 6 20
Double Faults 3 5
1st Serve % 70% 65%
1st Serve Points Won 55/67 (82%) 46/59 (78%)
2nd Serve Points Won 16/29 (55%) 17/32 (53%)
Break Points Saved 7/8 (88%) 4/6 (67%)
Service Games Played 15 15
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 13/59 (22%) 12/67 (18%)
Second Return Points Won 15/32 (47%) 13/29 (45%)
Break Points Won 2/6 (33%) 1/8 (13%)
Return Games Played 15 15
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 71/96 (74%) 63/91 (69%)
Total Return Points Won 28/91 (31%) 25/96 (26%)
Total Points Won 99/187 (53%) 88/187 (47%)
Other Stats
Winners 34 45
Unforced errors 20 34
Net Approaches 13/16 (81%) 8/16 (50%)

8 Responses

  1. mallorcanchamp says:

    Two last points of the tie break shows the long way Rafa has come on his mental side of the game. This was the most important thing to get back in shape looking back in july and I believe he already is the Rafa of old in this department. His insane ability to deal with his blood pressure in these tense situations and play them like a normal point is what separates him from the rest in my opinion.

    This man has the heart of a lion…no! maybe some other animal who is already extinct, because you don’t see this cold blooded performances under so much pressure anymore!

    Serve is something Rafa REALLY needs to work hard during off-season in december. At 2-1 3rd set it was quite clear to see. He was already a break up and still lots of struggling with his 1st serve, sending him back to deuce for 5-6? times, then when he finally found 3 very good first serves (last one, an ace) that game was over.

    Anderson really surprised me. He has gotten a lot better since the last time I saw him play. Mentally he’s not a titan (will never be) but now he constructs very well his points. How he served in the first two sets is worthy of a straight sets win against anybody. Unfair that someone had to lose today but he was facing a man on a mission.

  2. jodiecate says:

    This was such a nerve-wracking match to watch – but the end was worth the torment. Rafa is starting to look like Rafa playing tennis again. Of course, he’s not up to his top level or anything yet, but he’s the closest he’s been to that in a good while. Loved the serving in the second set – that was amazing! LOVED that the belief held firm the whole way – and that he was finding corners & lines again, just the way he used to. Loved him saving break points like the good ol’ days. : )

    Anderson surprised me with how quickly he took the first set, just from that one break that happened before Rafa had ‘settled in’ to the match. After what happened to Roger, it was easy to imagine the whole thing could be over really quickly. Really happy he turned it around the way he did. So happy Rafa’s worst surface is giving him his best results for the year. I haven’t seen Wawrinka’s matches so far, so i’m not sure what level he’s playing at right now. It could be a much harder match – but could also be a much easier one. Should be a good match.

  3. beachfan says:

    I totally agree with the first two comments. It was an exciting match to watch unless you are a Rafa fan. There were several times when I thought he would lose, but Rafa stayed colm. Anderson played very well too. I am thrilled he won because he is closer to the Rafa of old. He did serve beautifully in the second set. Stan will be very tough, but we will take it one match at a time. Rafa is clearly moving in the right direction!

  4. harry houdini says:

    Defended great in this match. The overall ground game looks pretty smooth too now.

  5. JayDee50 says:

    What a match. Seriously, what a freaking awesome match. I was bored by the constant serving of aces by Kev but in complete awe of Rafa and how he stayed focused and determined to fight every point. Lots of people are saying ‘Rafa is back’…well, certainly the Rafa that is prepared to fight is back, and now seems to have overcome his issues of nervousness and confidence. With those under control, his level can only get better from here on.

    I read somewhere that he won’t be having much of an off-season, will be working hard on his game to prepare for 2016. How can you not admire this man’s work ethic, determination, will to succeed and other such admirable qualities. There is more than one way to be a champion.

  6. Krishna says:

    The way he was playing a dominant 2nd set I was surprised it went to tie break and so close to a loss. But even though the score line says otherwise I did not really like the 3rd set. He needs to improve more because kev checked out in the 3rd set and gave an opening to rafa. The mentally strong rafa has surely returned at least 90-95% of the way….

    • JayDee50 says:

      “He needs to improve more….” that’s why he’s doing daily 3-hour practice sessions, to try and improve.

  7. Aero says:

    Great second set, you’d swear by the way he reacted after winning the second set that he had won a major. Its great to see that passion back. Rafa’s serve level dropped off a little in the third but fortunately so did Anderson’s. Rafa needs to stand in closer on second serve returns, I know its a little out of his comfort zone but for big servers you open up the court for them and can’t do any damage from that far back. I hate such late night matches, hope he gets well rested, Stan will be tough if playing well.