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.
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.
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.
|Statistics on Serve|
|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%)|