After a 3 hour and 38 minute rain delay (in the desert), Rafa and Roger took to the court in cold and windy conditions to play their semifinal match at Indian Wells. Fed came out firing. Rafa fired back. Until he didn’t. I know if it was the conditions, Fed’s play or what, but Rafa just looked like he wasn’t feeling it for huge chunks of the match. He lost the first set and was down a double break in the 2nd, when he got fired up as Fed was serving for the match. Rafa broke. He held and was
In their first every singles meeting, Rafa and Marcel Granollers (#26) played in a 3rd round match of the BPN Paribas Open (Indian Wells) late in the afternoon today. Rafa wasn’t 100% sharp, but he didn’t need to be as Granollers was not having a good day. In fact, the match was pretty darn boring (sorry, guys!). Rafa is through 6-1, 6-4 and will face the winner of the Baghdatis/Dolgopolov.
#1 vs #2 in a slam final. We are spoiled by how often that happens in men’s tennis these days – the chance to see the top 2 players in the world slug it out in a major final should be relished. Unfortunately for Rafa, this match up doesn’t work as well as him as the one against Federer. In fact, last year Rafa fans started to fully realize the pain that FedFans have felt for years.
Getting up at 2:30am for a tennis match the day before I have a big meeting at work? Only for Rafa and Roger – their history, their class and their excellent tennis. The match started with Federer on fire. He broke his first chance and rode that break until 7th game. They stayed on serve and Federer took the set in a tiebreak. Things then got scarier as Rafa was broken at love to start the 2nd. He broke right
In his quarterfinal match at the 2012 Australian Open, Rafa played Tomas Berdych. It was a tight first set with Berdych holding serve much easier than Rafa. At 5-6, Rafa had to fight off 4 set points to force a tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker a very bad call (and a failure to timely challenge it), gave Berdych a set point and he took it: 6-7(7). Rafa broke in the 4th game of the second set and followed that up with an emphatic
For his round of 16 match at the 2012 Australian Open, Rafa played good friend and world #19 Feliciano Lopez. It was kind of a flat feeling match with neither player showing their best. For one thing, Rafa was having a heck of a time converting break points. Luckily, however, he also wasn’t giving Feli many opportunities to break. Rafa is through: 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
For his second match at this year’s Australian Open, Rafa took on #190 Tommy Haas of Germany The US Germany. The match started out all Rafa – he was playing aggressively and hugging the baseline. Serving for the first set at 5-2, things got a bit hinky and errors started flying off of Rafa’s racket. He was broken, but managed to serve it out his next service game: 6-4. Rafa started set two with a break and and finished it the same way:
Rafa started his 2012 Australian Open campaign by playing #167 Alex Kuznetsov. He came onto the court with his right knee heavily bandaged. His movement didn’t appear to be hampered, so I’m hoping it was just a precautionary tape job. Notice I haven’t said anything about the match yet? It wasn’t thrilling, as Kuznetsov was clearly out-matched. Rafa’s through 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. He’ll play Haas in the 2nd round.
Rafa played #198 Denis Gremelmayr of Germany in his second round match today in Doha. Rafa passed up 3 break points in the first game, but got down to business after that. Rafa did break his next receiving game and then broke again in the 6th. He took the first set 6-2. The second set started off grim for Gremelmayr as he was broken in the very first game. Gremelmayr did his best to make things interesting, but it was all Rafa. He’s through: 6-2, 6-2.
Today’s round robin match was essentially the equivalent of a quarterfinal: winner moves on, loser doesn’t. Nice and simple, no scenarios or math to perform. With so much on the line, the match felt pretty lack-luster from both of the guys, but more so from Rafa. He showed signs of life in the second set, but went back to missing routine looking shots in the third. Basically, Tsonga was playing well; Rafa looked like a tired guy playing on his least favorite surface. Tsonga wins: 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3.