Doha: Rafa defeats Haase

AP Photo/Alexandra Panagiotidou

Photo by AP Photo/Alexandra Panagiotidou

Rafa and Robin have only met once before (surprising), years ago at Wimbledon with Rafa winning in 5 sets. Good crowd today and really nice conditions for a tennis match. Yay!

Cedric Mourier is our chair umpire and Toni and Roig are here today in Rafa’s box. The commentators are talking about Rafa’s change of strings which seems to be focussing on producing a little more power. He certainly does seem to be producing more depth so far this year.

First Set

Rafa to serve first, and he holds to love with some good first serves and not much in the return department from Robin. Rafa, on the other hand, is returning ferociously and breaks for 2-0. Rafa is looking very sharp out there … very aggressive court stance and more good serving Rafa goes up 3-0.

Better game from Robin with some excellent first serves and he closes at the net to get his first game of the set. Rafa scrambles a bit in the next game with Robin actually having a break point but manages to hold. Commentators are liking what they see from Rafa and predicting he’ll be back to his best this year. Rafa holds on to the break and closes the set 6-3. Rafa seems SO much more patient than last year.

Second Set

In the second Robin starts serving and is pushed by Rafa but manages to hold in the first game. The second game marks an important moment (IMO at least), Rafa thought a ball was out (it actually was out but didn’t get called), got a little rattled and ended up going down a break point; but he came back with a relentless rally to force an error from Robin to bring the game back to deuce. A good serve and an error from Robin and Rafa holds for 1-1. In the next game Rafa breaks to love with some really deep returns and very aggressive FH’s.

More talk about Rafa’s strings … and Guga!! (who first used the Luxilon strings to get more spin and power so say our commentators).

Rafa is glistening.

I think the Rafa snarl might be back … there is a glimpse of a swagger after he holds for 3-1. Rafa continues his aggressive ways but Robin hits some really good first serves and holds for 3-2. Rafa holds for 4-2 and then breaks Robin in the next game to go up 5-2 and a chance to serve for the match.
Whistles and cheering galore as Rafa, up 40-15, grins and serves it out. Great performance.

Rafa wins 6-3 6-2.

Andy Taylor describes Rafa’s play “Total Control”
“Solid match,” says Rafa “Very good feeling here in Doha tonight”.

9.5 out of 10 say the commentators.

Nadal Haase
Statistics on Serve
Aces 1 8
Double Faults 2 0
1st Serve % 74% 70%
1st Serve Points Won 30/39 (77%) 21/33 (64%)
2nd Serve Points Won 9/14 (64%) 4/14 (29%)
Break Points Saved 2/2 (100%) 3/6 (50%)
Service Games Played 9 8
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 12/33 (36%) 9/39 (23%)
Second Return Points Won 10/14 (71%) 5/14 (36%)
Break Points Won 3/6 (50%) 0/2 (%)
Return Games Played 8 9
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 39/53 (74%) 25/47 (53%)
Total Return Points Won 22/47 (47%) 14/53 (26%)
Total Points Won 61/100 (61%) 39/100 (39%)

sia

@swantennisyn on the twitter.

5 Responses

  1. CB says:

    Thank you, Sia, for all of this wonderful news of Rafa’s match today. Love, love, love to hear that he is looking confident and playing with such confidence! And even a mention of Guga — how nice to be reminded of him as well!

  2. kemannin says:

    Yes, thank you so much, Sia. “Dialled In” is great news! !Vamos!

  3. Aero says:

    Great, he’s settling in. This is more like the Rafa we are expecting to see this year! Are these new strings, same racquet or a change of racquet like he tried last spring? I know they help generate more power but did they also adjust the spacing of the strings like they did previously enabling him to generate additional topspin?

  4. sia says:

    I’m sure by now Aero, you’ve done more research. Sounds as though there has been no racquet change just strings … they showed a close up at one moment. I couldn’t quite decipher what all the experts have been saying but I think you’re right, more power AND more spin (Oolalalala … in the words of Fabrice Santorol).