Sadness. Ferru, the defending singles champion, goes out in the first round, losing to Marchenko. With Feli losing yesterday we are quickly losing Spaniards. Either way, today, with this match we’ll lose one more.
Rafa and Pablo in the tunnel. Pablo goes first; Rafa adjusts … himself and follows. Seems we have better weather conditions today; no wild desert winds. The commentator is talking about Carlos Bernardes saying he’d never seen such bad conditions, as yesterday, in Doha. Chair umpire Messina asks if they want instructions in English or … Pablo speaks up “Italiano”. So Italian it is and Rafa is to serve first.
Rafa makes a statement in the first game “I will be an aggressive, hard court tennis player here today in Doha” … something like that. He holds at love.
Some pretty aggressive RETURNING in the second game forces Pablo to make the SAME statement and off we go. They are both so aggressive AND both Spanish so neither gives up easily. Lucky for us … this is great tennis. Commentators commending both for such a clean set of tennis.
On one of the changeovers, we have a bit of the kiss cam … happy spectators, not like those from yesterday, where everyone looked cold and as though they’d rather be at home in their sweats.
Not one break chance in the first set and we head to a TB. Warranted.
Rafa starts well going up a mini-break 2-0, but Pablo hustles like a mad, cute puppy and Rafa makes a few mistakes and we end up at 6-2 for Pablo … Rafa claws back to 6-5 but Pablo wins the first set with very aggressive play on Rafa’s serve.
In the second set, Rafa pushes Pablo in his serving games, breaks at love for 2-1 and then again at 5-3 to win the set. Rafa kept his level up and Pablo couldn’t keep up his sparkling ways of the first set.
In the third both players seem a little tired but Rafa overpowers Pablo, who only wins one game when Rafa is broken. Rafa was a bit passive it that game, maybe he was tired. This is his first official singles match of the year!
Final Score: Rafa wins 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1
Rafa speaking to Andy Taylor, courtside, “Pablo is a good friend, a great person … big hope for our country” Nice words for his countryman.
Rafa happy to be in the second round and loves the people and the fans in Doha who “Show me the Love”
Highlights via Nadal Power
Photos by REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||74%||67%|
|1st Serve Points Won||44/59 (75%)||34/55 (62%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||13/21 (62%)||11/27 (41%)|
|Break Points Saved||1/2 (50%)||4/9 (44%)|
|Service Games Played||14||14|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||21/55 (38%)||15/59 (25%)|
|Second Return Points Won||16/27 (38%)||8/21 (38%)|
|Break Points Won||5/9 (56%)||1/2 (50%)|
|Return Games Played||14||14|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||57/80 (71%)||45/82 (55%)|
|Total Return Points Won||37/82 (45%)||23/80 (29%)|
|Total Points Won||94/127 (74%)||68/127 (54%)|
|Net Approaches||6/7 (86%)||9/13 (69%)|