Doha: Rafa defeats Pablo Carreño Busta

EPA

Photo via EPA

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.

First Set

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.

Second Set

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.

Third 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

Presser excerpts about footie:
Nadal thinks Zizou will be ace at Real
Nadal: I feel sorry for Rafael Benítez

Nadal Carreno Busta
Statistics on Serve
Aces 5 0
Double Faults 1 4
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%)
Other Stats
Winners 30 22
Unforced errors 25 30
Net Approaches 6/7 (86%) 9/13 (69%)

sia

@swantennisyn on the twitter.

4 Responses

  1. john f says:

    I only saw the last two sets. Conspicuously absent were the short balls to the centre of the court – yes there were errors , angled shots a little to wide, and some shots too long – but that was the point. Also, more aggressive returns of serve, especially attacking the second serve . As Rafa ages there is a more controlled , “measured” , aspect to his play, as well as sometimes, jus pure instinctive genius. All good stuff. Funny though – amongst all the top players, rafa included, who will be able to find the game to “disturb” djokovic? Rafa at his best can – and i hope in the ozzie open will.

    • Aero says:

      Yep! Djokovic still looks very much in form after a break away from the game, he is cruising again based on that first match he won. Rafa at this point, based on this one match not so convincing…………yet! though its way too early to say for sure, he often starts off slowly.

  2. Sia, thank you for the lovely write up. It’s much appreciated.

    Rafa seems….dare I say? …. confident. As for who can “disturb” Djokovic, yes, Rafa can. But Stan, at his best, also can. Trouble is, Wawrinka so seldom reaches his best and his worst is, well, worse than Rafa’s worst.

  3. beachfan says:

    Sia, Thank you again for your summary. I do think Rafa started out a bit flat, and that was disappointing. He cannot do that against Novak or other top players. He was much better in the second and third sets. I would love to hear from those who know more if Rafa is using a new racket or doing anything different this year. He definitely looks more confident.