It’s the finals of the final. It should be #1 Rafa vs. #2 Djokovic, right? Well, that’s what we got. Sadly, the world #1 was having an off day on his worst surface. He was hitting shallow, too long, into the net. Not able to find his range, he was broken early in the first set. Being the #1, however, he kept fighting and managed to break back. He played a horrid game at 3-4 to be broken and the #2 served out the first set: 6-3.
Djokovic went up an early break in the second set and, despite trying so darn hard it hurt a bit to watch, Rafa just couldn’t get his game together. Novak Djokovic defeats Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4. Just wasn’t Rafa’s day.
I know we all wanted this to end with a win and a trophy, but this cannot and does not take away from the amazing year Rafa’s had at all. Before we get too upset about how Rafa played/didn’t play/whatever, let’s remember last year. Let’s remember how impossible it was for Rafa to even be in this final. And let’s be thankful he cared and worked hard enough to be there.
In the first semifinal of the day in London, Rafa took on #7 and long-time rival Roger Federer. Their matches have often been very up and down. Their last one in Cincy was an exciting affair. Today’s wasn’t quite that intense, but it was much more interesting than some of their blow-outs. Both players were playing pretty well, but Rafa had that extra something. He went up a break in the 9th game of the first set, but was unable to consolidate and serve it out. Despite that wobble, he broke in the next game and then served it out. There was an early break in the 2nd set and that’s all he needed. He’s through 7-5, 6-3.
This was the first time he’s beaten Federer at the WTF.
AP Photo/Andy Wong
For his quarterfinal match at the China Open, Rafa played #19 Fabio Fognini. Fans may call his opponent Fogs or Fog, but for the first set and half, he was seeing things clearly while it looked like Rafa was the one playing in a fog. Rafa couldn’t find his range and the fabulous shot making from Fognini was not helping at all. Slowly but surely, Rafa started doing his thing – pumping himself up and working his way back into the match. Once he broke and took the second set, it was a done deal. He’s through to the semis with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 win.
AP Photo/Darron Cummings
Tonight, Rafa played fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo (#22) in the US Open quarterfinals. Much like Rafa, Tommy’s having a good comeback year. Unlike Rafa, his momentum came to a complete and total stop tonight. I don’t know what to say about this match that won’t sound disrespectful to Tommy and he deserves better than that. But this was a total beat down from Rafa. Rafa’s through to the semis: 6-0, 6-2, 6-2.
Tonight, after a day of rain, Rafa took on #25 Phillip Kohlschreiber in a hot and humid Ashe stadium. Anyone who’d looked at their head to head would have known that, while Rafa had won all but one of their matches, Kohlschreiber has a history of taking a set off him per match on hard courts. After he won the first set in a tiebreak, we all hoped that would be the one set. After Rafa broke in the 7th game of the second set and then rode that break out to take it 6-4, we relaxed a bit. A break in the third game of the third and it looked like Rafa relaxed too. Not in a relaxed and went on walk about way, but in a relaxed and started smacking it way. He broke twice to take the 3rd and then broke the first chance he got in the 4th and ran away with the match from there. He’s through: 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.
Rafa started and ended his 2013 Wimbledon by playing #135 Steve Darcis of Belgium. From the start of the match, Rafa was clearly showing some grass court rust and Darcis, was not. He defeats Rafa 7-6(4), 7-6(8), 6-4.
The final of Roland Garros. Rafa’s 8th; Daveeed’s 1st. Everyone was saying that the conclusion of this match was foregone – that there was no way Daveeed was going to win. There was also no way Rafa was going to stay ranked above Daveeed even if he did win. While the score and the tennis pretty much lived up to “foregone” the match was full of weird and uncomfortable atmosphere thanks to some idiotic protestors. They couldn’t stop history from happening, though. Rafa wins a historic 8th Roland Garros by defeating David Ferrer 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. He’s the only man in tennis history to have won a slam 8 times. Amazing. Simply amazing.
Rafa played #1 Novak Djokovic in the first men’s semifinal at Roland Garros today. It was the 35th meeting between the two men – their last slam meeting was in last year’s final. As expected, they came out swinging. Rafa struggled mightily on his first service game. Things got better after that as he broke Nole in the 7th game to go up 4-3. He rode that break to take the first set 6-4.
Unlike the first set, the second set started with players
Rafa played his forth round match against #15 Kei Nishikori. While I really hate how much people are harping on the weather and Rafa’s game, it was sunny, the court was drier and Rafa did look much more relaxed. He was also playing a guy who isn’t a flashy erratic player with huge serves, so that might have something to do with his change in demeanor as well. If that wasn’t enough, breaking in the 5th game of the first set certainly helped.
That one break was all he needed in the first set. He was hungry for more in the second, however, as he broke at will to take it 6-1. Kei had lost belief and Rafa was pouncing. He still had a few too many errors in the match, but I’m not complaining! That was a stress-free path to the quarters: 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.
Once again, I forget to write a match report while the match is going on. So, let’s see. Rafa played #29 Fabio Fognini in the 3rd round of Roland Garros today. The match was…weird. Rafa didn’t seem to have a lot of energy and, as usual, Fognini altered between amazing shots and awful errors. Actually, Rafa was a bit like that too. There were some highly entertaining rallies, and Fognini put up a valiant fight until the start of the 3rd set (he surged a bit at the end), but over all, it just felt…weird. Bottom line is: Rafa’s through 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4. (To understand the title, scroll down to the Storify section.)
Most Recent ResultNadal vs. Djokovic : Defeated Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5
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