So here we go, the first week of ATP tournaments. Rafa and Fer vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Teymuraz Gabashvili. It looks a little chilly in Doha from the way the spectators are wrapped up … Toni is even pulling on sweat pants up in Rafa’s box. Oh … and look who the chair ump is; why it’s Carlos Bernardes … he gets a nice handshake and a pat on the back from Rafa. The love is back.
I took notes about each point of the match, but reading all of that might make you want to go and put sweat pants on and retreat to your bed so I’ll try and sum up.
During the first set Rafa and Fernando barely lost any points on their serve while pushing Albert and Teymuraz in each of their serving games.
Big conversation during the changeover between Rafa and Fernando; so animated … well, I think we all know who was the most animated. I expect the topic was “How do we break them …?”
Despite missing seven, (yes 7), chances to break, Rafa and Fer ended up winning the ensuing TB.
At the start of the second set, Rafa serves and holds to 15. Then Ramos-Vinolas is pushed but holds. 1-1.
Fer serves and Rafa is terrific at the net throughout the game 2-1.
Gabashvili serves but is broken at 15 basically by good returns and volleys from Rafa. 3-1.
Rafa serving. 15-0 30-0 … then a DF, some second serves, microphone issues and missed FH’s and Rafa is broken. RV/G get the break back. 3-2.
Rafa sitting on the changeover looking all curly and despondent (so cute, like a puppy).
Ramos-Vinolas to serve and he does and holds to love. 3-3.
I think the wind has changed direction … not even a metaphor.
Fer serves … quite well. Holds to love. 4-3.
Bernardes’ voice breaks in … and out. Still seems to be having microphone troubles.
Gabashvili serving … they are pushed to 40-30 but a nice volley from RV allows a hold. 4-4.
So Rafa is serving; he sends a forehand wide 0-15. A good second serve, 15 all. 30-15 after a good first serve and nice volley from Fer. RV and G attack Fer from every angle 30-30. G ends the point with a great BH 30-40. Deuce, Fer finishes at the net. BROKEN!! Fer is basically on the ground … can’t finish off the volley. 4-5.
RV will serve for the set and he does. 6-4.
The Super TB is a close affair with the very best point probably being the last one (well from the winners POV), with Gabashvili playing a fantastic CCFH off what looked like a volley winner from Verdasco. Ramos Vinolas win 11-9.
Final score: Rafando lose 7-6(4), 4-6, 9-11
Well … all in all I thought Rafa played well. He was a dream at the net throughout. It was a bit of a strange match, though … not sure if it was the match up with Fernando or just the desert winds. I think he looks in good shape for his singles match tomorrow with Pablo.
|R Nadal/V Ferdasco||T Gabashvili/A Ramos-Vinolas|
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||69%||62%|
|1st Serve Points Won||36/48 (75%)||35/48 (73%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||16/23 (70%)||16/30 (53%)|
|Break Points Saved||1/3 (33%)||7/8 (88%)|
|Service Games Played||11||11|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||13/48 (27%)||12/48 (25%)|
|Second Return Points Won||14/30 (47%)||7/23 (30%)|
|Break Points Won||1/8 (13%)||2/3 (67%)|
|Return Games Played||11||11|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||52/71 (73%)||51/78 (65%)|
|Total Return Points Won||27/78 (35%)||19/71 (27%)|
|Total Points Won||79/149 (53%)||70/149 (47%)|