Ho Hum, It’s Federer v. Nadal in Madrid; Djokovic Hits 30 and 32
by Sean Randall | May 7th, 2011, 12:08 am
  • 238 Comments

It’s another one of those Rafael Nadal v. Roger Federer epic clashes on Saturday. This one follows the Miami destruction by moving to Rafa’s home soil on the clay at the Madrid Tennis Masters. Honestly, with Federer past his prime I just want to fast forward to Sunday already and see Nadal take on Novak Djokovic. That’s the reality these days with the way the top two are playing.

Djokovic gutted out a tough three setter over David Ferrer 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to stay perfect on the year at 30-0, and up his overall career-best win streak to 32. It was Djokovic’s first career win over Ferrer on clay and the Serb, while maybe not at the level he was on the hardcourts where he was dishing out bagels and breadsticks with ridiculous regularity, is still playing some very confident, very composed ball.

“I was aware of the quality of my opponent today and the fact that I never won against him on clay,” Djokovic said. “I needed to be emotionally stable and handle in the best possible way because obviously I had to stay focused and work hard and that crowd was behind him which was expected. I wanted to use the opportunity and that’s what I did.”

Credit to Ferrer for really making Djokovic work, but even he conceded the way Novak’s playing he’s virtually unbeatable. There’s no weakness.

“I tried everything,” said Ferrer. “It’s a pity that I had those two faults with a break. Maybe it could have been a little bit more difficult for him but Novak is a player that has a lot of various ways to play and with his serves, he won more free points than me.”

As for the main event, Rafa has a pretty gaudy streak of his own at the moment. Nadal’s easy victory over Michael Llodra pushed his win streak to 36 on his favorite clay surface. And he now draws Federer in the 24th meeting of their incredible, historic rivalry. But these days it really doesn’t feel much like a rivalry at all when both guys seem to be going in opposite directions.

Nadal has been surging since getting back on the clay eating away at what was once a massive lead in 2011 points for Djokovic.

Federer picked up arguably his best win of the year (and his first against a Top 10 player) edging Robin Soderling 7-6, 6-4, but watching the Swiss you just don’t get the feeling that he can compete with Nadal, especially on the clay.

“I think this is a match that many fans and media want to see, especially here in his home country,” said Federer. “It’s obviously special and nice. On clay it’s obviously his territory a bit more, but I’ve enjoyed my time with Rafa on the court, even though I have a lot more time left on the court with more victories.”

Roger, did you enjoy that whipping in Miami? I guess not. I just hope you can keep it close and entertaining tomorrow.

Fortunately the altitude should help Federer and the experience of beating Nadal at the 2009 Madrid final is a plus. But Nadal had just come off a grueling match with Djokovic that year. And his other loss to Federer – at the London finals – also followed an epic three-set SF win. This time, a quick 6-2, 6-2 demolition of Llodra should have no lingering after taste.

Overall, Nadal leads the head-to-head 15-8 and 10-2 on the clay. Rafa’s also won six of the last eight meetings and tomorrow I think he’ll pocket another win over Fed. Unless Rafa has a real poor day in front of his Spanish fans (very unlikely), I don’t think Roger can do much to prevent the inevitable which is a comfortable straight set win.

Does Federer have a chance? I give him maybe a 10% which is pretty good. But he absolutely needs to attack Rafa at every opportunity much like he did at London last fall. But good luck, the Madrid courts are nothing like the fast, low bouncing variety we saw at the finals. Look for Rafa to again pound away at the Federer backhand and jump on anything short.

In the later semifinal, big props to Thomaz Bellucci for resurrecting his game. Long thought of as a Top 20, even Top 10 (John McEnroe called him), Bellucci really hadn’t made much of a global dent on the tour that is until this week. The lefty beat Andy Murray yesterday then today followed up with an impressive win today over Tomas Berdych. But against Djokovic, I think the run ends despite his positive attitude and maybe some Djokovic fatigue.

“I think I can beat any player,” said Bellucci. “Djokovic and Ferrer are very good players and they are in a very good moment for themselves. They are losing very few matches, but they are not invincible, they can also lose. The most important thing is that I continue playing like I have been and with a lot of concentration and I manage to play my best.”

Assuming Bellucci doesn’t pull off the unthinkable, might beating a lefty in the semifinal then playing Nadal in the finals help Novak? We’ll see.

Match time is at 10am ET with live coverage on the Tennis Channel with Federer v. Nadal streaming on ESPN3.com.

SATURDAY MADRID SCHEDULE

MANOLO SANTANA start 11:45 am
J Goerges (GER) vs [4] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA

Not Before 1:45 PM
[6] N Li (CHN) vs [16] P Kvitova (CZE) – WTA

Not Before 4:00 PM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [3] R Federer (SUI) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
T Bellucci (BRA) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP
[5] V Azarenka (BLR) / M Kirilenko (RUS) vs [2] K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) – WTA – DOUBLES FINAL


Also Check Out:
Andy Murray Withdraws From Madrid Due To A Back Injury
The Wednesday Wagers
Novak Djokovic Withdraws From Madrid Due To Right Wrist Injury
Novak Djokovic Withdraws from Madrid
Nadal Handed Madrid Title by Nishikori

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238 Comments for Ho Hum, It’s Federer v. Nadal in Madrid; Djokovic Hits 30 and 32

van orten Says:

poor writing as usual


Daniel Says:

And Nadal beat Fed 6 of 8, Fed won Madrid 09 and WTF 10. If you look the last 4 they are tied 2-2, one victory in hard and clay by each.


SerbJoker Says:

I hope Federer repays his due by pushing Rafa to 3 long sets and soften him for Nole to do the demolition job.


steve-o Says:

C’mon Roger!


Mila Says:

I hope Nadal wins easily in under 60 min. and be well rested for the final against Novak. And then Novak beats him all while Nadal gasps for air towards the end as he did here in Miami.

My wishful thinking (but not unrealistic) scenario.


Swiss Maestro Says:

The madrid winner will come from the Fedal semi. Novak is playing nothing near his IW-miami form and on clay, Rafa and Fed are superior players to novak. Novak won that match only because ferrer has no weapons. If belluci plays like he can, he will give novak the boot.

Hamburg/Madrid are 2 clay surfaces where Fed definitely has a better record than Rafa. Even last year when Fed was playing mediocre tennis, rafa struggled to put him away. The ball bounces much lesser than at miami at night. This will be much closer than what sean “jinxy” randall predicts.


gordon Says:

I hope that Nadal will not take 30 seconds on every second serve. In a match when he serve in between 60 to 100 times. We need to wait in between 20 and 40 min? If I am on the other side I will just turn my back after long wait or will sit on my requet to show him what I think about his preparation…


gordon Says:

This is interesting observatin (by Riaan Booysen, where he did excellent time analysis):
“One of the first things any tennis player is taught is to relax when he or she is preparing to serve. The server knows exactly when he intends to serve and can relax completely up to that moment. The receiver however does not know this precise moment and therefore has to concentrate intensely for a longer period of time. Nadal’s time to serve varies from less than 20 seconds to more than 40 seconds, making it difficult to judge when he will start the point. Even if this extra concentration is required for only 5 seconds, Federer would have had to concentrate 18 minutes 10 seconds longer during the match than what should have been the case.” This is observation from Wimblendon’s 2008 finals where Nadal for 218 serves took a total of 6629 seconds or 110min preparation time where total match play was only 73 minutes…


gordon Says:

Here is an example of Nadal’s other delays, those beyond simply holding up every serve, from “Strokes of Genius”, a book dedicated to the Wimbledon 2008 finals:

Federer went directly to the net for the ceremonial coin flip, where a local child, often one with a chronic illness, is summoned to play a small role in the match … The two were joined by Pascal Maria, the chair umpire for the match, and by the tournament referee, Andrew Jarrett.

The quartet waited…and waited…and waited. Nadal sat at his chair, sipping Evian, chewing on an energy bar, folding his sweats and then indulging his longtime ritual of sipping from each of two bottles of water, one colder than the other, and then fastidiously arranging the bottles just so with the labels pointed outward toward the side of the court he’ll next assume….

Impatience transparent on his face, Federer rocked back and forth and took a few practice swings near the net. …

According to a member of the Nadal entourage, in the players’ box Federer’s girlfriend, Mirka Vavrinec, watched the Spaniard’s dallying and muttered, “Oh, come on.”

After a full minute of self-indulgence, Nadal trotted to the net. )

Ref: http://www.fawcette.net/2009/05/server-delays-hurt-atp-tennis.html


Antonissimo Says:

ummmm, soderling a top 10 player? i wonder if he would prefer being called a top 5 player as he has consistently been for quite a while now? credit where credit is due huh sean?


madmax Says:

Federer has nothing to lose today against rafa. Hope he just goes for it with an attacking game.

Plenty of Come on’s Roge!

He seems relaxed and relishing the match.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Media/Videos/2011/05-Madrid/Madrid-2011-Friday-Interview-Federer.aspx


tfouto Says:

i am glad… Sean has ripped off Federer again… maybe Federer has a change…


Kimmi Says:

georgers with too many errors today. she is losing badly. azarenka game is not that special, why is she struggling ?


Kimmi Says:

not a good day for georges, she cant hit on the court..


madmax Says:

Come on Federer! We love you, whatever!

Attack! Attack! Attack! and play your wiley game. Second set against Soderling yesterday fed showed some magical shots.

Incredibly gifted man. God given talent.

It’s no disgrace to reach a SF when everyone says he’s done. He keeps on proving them wrong.

It’s a confidence thing. Even Novak has said, yes rafa is the best on clay, but NOT unbeatable. He has got the right mindset.

Hope Roger follows suit.


Kimmi Says:

wow! kvitova hitting the ball so hard on both side..overpowering li na at the mo


Kimberly Says:

kimmi, we always have opposites! I was rooting for azarenka, you know how i love my blonde screamers in pretty dresses!


SerbJoker Says:

Gordon,

You can come with n number of excuses and sour grapes stories to mask the humiliation Roger has been suffering at the hands of Rafa.
But the truth is that Roger can only take 8 wins in 8 years even during his prime years (21 to 29), even though he got a very good shot at the young and upcoming Rafa.

Nole has already surpassed that and holds the world record for most wins against Rafa. It is even more mind boggling when you consider that most of those wins came up against the matured world beater Rafa.


Kimmi Says:

li na does not know what hit her..petra is on fire.

li na held only one service game so far..one…and we are in the middle of second set..


Kimmi Says:

wow, petra about to bagel li na.

grendel – i can now see the talent you have been talking about


Kimmi Says:

kimberly – just saw your post. yap, vika played well, but julia was helping her a lot today.

this kvitova is so good though..i dont know what will be azarenka chances tomorrow


Kimmi Says:

li na held another game yepeeee!


Kimmi Says:

OK, definitely one to watch grendel. she started a little slow, as soon as she settled in.. she could not look back. she wins 6-3 6-1

I hope she wins tomorrow. love to see these new talent coming up..


Kimmi Says:

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Skeezerweezer Says:

Gordon,,

Great article, intelligently written. Thanks for posting that.

Joker,

Your love for Fed has no bounds. Total slams holders are reserved for the best of the best, not h2h, that is for tennis pundits. Sorry Tennis rules say you have to play against a field. No doubt Novak and Rafa are playing better tennis now though.


grendel Says:

Thanks, Kimmi. I’ll lay aside some time to make sure I catch womens’ final tomorrow.


Vinod Says:

Hi Guys … Any free streaming link for the federer match ?


jane Says:

^ You could try fromsport?


Daniel Says:

DF pn game point and than an awfull gotejando mimes out and nos a shank. He already gave up mentally.


Vinod Says:

Thanks jane … Fed broken early and me too :(


Daniel Says:

Abortar game point He lost. Close Thia game Federer.
C’mon. Can’t He serve a girar um quem leading?!


Daniel Says:

Finally, on his 4th game point He closes a game! Uf


Daniel Says:

Damm it Nadal put 9 sateight first serves in this game and even so Fed had 3BP


Vinod Says:

cant watch it anymore … atleast will do my work :(


jane Says:

Good aggressive game by Roger on Nadal’s serve, but the 3 break points go begging in the end. (I see Moya is in the house). Fed needs some first serves, though his second serve is one of the best. He is at 37% first right now.


Daniel Says:

Fed serving at 37% and dropping. Nadal at 82%.
Fed choose poorly on Nadal’s forehand.
At least this time he finda a first serve to sabe BP.


Daniel Says:

Well, at least we have a contest. Fed’s backhand and forehand are working. His serve os off.
Last game Nadal serves Fed had 15-40 with retuning gerar with the BH, no slice return. Let’s ser if He can create more chances.


jane Says:

Nadal’s serving very well: 86% first serves in the box!


jane Says:

Much, much better service game there from Fed – he’s hitting down the middle of the court a lot, and down the line on his backhand.


gonzalowski Says:

I see ok Nadal, but he seems a bit nervous
On t.v.(spanish):
http://danielmejor2.blogspot.com/p/5.html


Daniel Says:

85% serves in by Nadal. His level has to drop eventually.


Daniel Says:

This is one of the best I see Fed return Nadal serve on His backhand.


jane Says:

Fed breaks back – 4 all.


Daniel Says:

Guys you are missing something. Fed os contesting Nadal with His backhand as I haven’t seen sincero Rome 06. He playes some excelent points to break back.
He needs to ímprove first serves in and we’ll have a batle.


tfouto Says:

I dont get Federer… Is capable of sublime tennis like is doing now. I dont get that first break on the first game…


Ben Pronin Says:

Wow Federer’s backhand holding up quite well. The court in Madrid amazingly helps Federer more than the one in Miami.

One a quick side note, I was on Nadal’s wiki page last night which lead me to the ATP records wiki page. I know I recently said that Nadal is the greatest based on some logic I conjured up, but Federer has an obnoxious amount of records. I mean the guy is on various lists MULTIPLE times. The guy is easily the Brett Favre of tennis only with multiple championships to boot. One of the interesting facts that caught my eye: Nadal has only reached 14 slam semis overall.


gonzalowski Says:

What a way of hitting by Federer!


jane Says:

Fed is playing excellent tennis right now, best I have seen from him in a while. Nadal has 90% first serves in but still isn’t ahead. I did notice that Rafa is going for a bit more depth on his shots and thus has made a few UEs long.


Daniel Says:

All sets they played in Madrid in this Last 3 years the score is 6-4 or closer.
Nadal will serve under pressure now


Gannu Says:

Good to see my man putting up a fight.. come on feddy bear.. take it on to him and fight tooth an nail…I hope you do well…


gonzalowski Says:

It seems I’m watching it 4 minutes after you???
Fed is leading now…


tfouto Says:

1st serve is key…


tfouto Says:

great hold by Federer… needs 1st serve…


jane Says:

What a difference a first serve makes. Fed got tangled in long rallies at first there, after second serves, and Nadal won them, though there was that wicked crosscourt forehand return by Rafa – ungettable by Fed. But Fed fights off 3 break points with some clutch serving.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Seriously, Rafa? How can you let 2 BPs slip by?


Daniel Says:

Wow, Fed just saved a 0-40 game against Nadal on Clay with 4 straight serves and some winners. He lost te first 3 points with second serve.
Nos go on and risk everything trying to break. Tiebreak at least.


Lulu Iberica Says:

^^^^ meant 3 bps


Ben Pronin Says:

Federer smacking the crap out of the forehand when he gets a chance. Wow. Nadal looks a little edgy.


jane Says:

Set point – Nadal looks nervous; Fed is on fire.


tfouto Says:

Yes! Hope Federer keeps this level and dont drop…


Ben Pronin Says:

Wow!! This has got to be the best I’ve seen Federer play all year. I mean he’s taking advantage of every little thing and he’s making so few unnecessary errors.


Kimmi Says:

miracle!!


jane Says:

Fed wins the first set 7-5 behind some very aggressive tennis.


Daniel Says:

OMG. This Last 3 points were amazing Fed to take first set!!!
Madrid really suite His game.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Damn! Well, Fed’s clearly still a contender. Cannot watch 2nd set, unfortunately. Will be crossing fingers for Rafito.


Krishna Says:

Wow Fed takes the 1st set!! :)


ertorque Says:

yeah, way to go Roger! Glad to see that he is handling’s Nadal’s ad court service well, return with pace and somewhat forcing Nadal on the defensive with that side of the return


Gannu Says:

Y the fcuk that my God doesnt play like this every time?? come on fedex velieve in urslef..

Madmax u there? to support our man ad me ofcourse ;-)


Daniel Says:

Ben, Fed made 17 Unforced Errors, its not litle, but He sure is taking His chances.
I expect a more agressive Nadal. He was kind of waiting Fed to miss.


Daniel Says:

Shi… Bad selection of shot by Fed. Aceeeeeee to sabe BP, please


The fighter Says:

i can’t blve it!!!!!rog won the first set


Krishna Says:

Nadal breaks to begin the 2nd set :( sigh..


jane Says:

I think grendel mentioned Fed’s return during this event? Anyhow, he has been returning very well today hasn’t he, attacking right away, which allows him to dominate with winners. This is similar to how he was playing at the WTF, imo, only he was serving even better there.

Fed has fought off plenty of bps too (more than Nadal); mentally he is “in it” today, razor sharp focus.

Having said that, bit of a letdown to begin the second set, and Nadal gets an early lead with a ball that painted the line. Fed’s mad!


Ben Pronin Says:

When did Federer decide he’s gonna channel Roddick?

19 errors versus the 60 some he made in Miami, I’m sticking with that’s a little.


Daniel Says:

Why Roger stop in a point ejete you Can’t ser the ball?! Bad luck in a point so important.


Daniel Says:

Fed miracle defense


jane Says:

Wow phenomenal court coverage from Fed in that point; if he can turn his anger into that, then he should get mad more often, ha ha.


Daniel Says:

Nadal hiitng way harder.


Duro Says:

Rog doesn’t want to go to the pension…


Daniel Says:

Damm it, break point down and Nadal serves 3 times into Fed’s forehand which He couldb’t return neither.


Krishna Says:

2nd set could be over quickly..


e normous Says:

this has been good to watch from federer but he’s definitely lost a good bit of foot speed.


jane Says:

Nadal figured out that Fed’s backhand return was working very well today and changed it up. He had upped his level in this second set.

Duro, :)


Daniel Says:

Nadal made a ballon return which landes in when Fed leading 40-30 and now break. 3-0 Nadal and serve. Governo ip. This set Fed and focus on the third.


The fighter Says:

come on Rafa!!!!!


tfouto Says:

Fed has to focus on the game, and stop arguing with the referee.


e normous Says:

has to be said nadal is still a little off colour.


Kimmi Says:

OK, back to earth!


Daniel Says:

Can’t Nadal miss a first serve facing BP down?!


Daniel Says:

Another game Fed with chances and Nadal served great to saved those BP.


Krishna Says:

wow hope Fed doesn’t get bagelled :( ..he should save energy for the 3rd..


tfouto Says:

Fed back in the line is always out…


jane Says:

That ball on the line may’ve thrown off Fed’s focus? At first I thought it would get him all fired up, but in the end, I think it has had the opposite effect.

Nadal is playing better now, too. So it’s a combo of Nadal upping his play a gear or two, and settling into the match, and Fed losing a little focus.


Daniel Says:

Shi…t. 40-15 and nos deuce.


Duro Says:

Bagel?


tfouto Says:

Federer is starting to show off… errors…


Daniel Says:

Fed is missing alot BH down the line. He wasn’t missing those eaelier.


jane Says:

^ true Daniel; that was a money shot earlier. And the backhand returns too.


Duro Says:

Naaaaah…

Daniel, your countryman with any chances?


Duro Says:

Jane, who we support here? Fed?


Krishna Says:

haha bagel means having 0 games in a set..at least he got a breadstick (1 game) :) .


skeezerweezer Says:

Regardless of Fed winning or losing here he has proven a formidable opponet for Rafa. No humuliation here, even at 29 on the Beasts favorite surface. Can hardly wait for Rafa and Novak to turn 29/30 and see how they do…


Krishna Says:

Yah agree with that..that is why Fed = GOAT :)


Daniel Says:

God Damm, Fe had BP in All Nadal’s service games this set, Can’t He get one?!


tfouto Says:

Daniel, he’s just training for the 3rd set…


Krishna Says:

3rd set should be closer hopefully..


tfouto Says:

Nadal is much better now… It will depend on Federer level…


jane Says:

This is reverting back to the classic pattern, where Fed’s backhand breaks down and Rafa fends off numerous break points. In the first set, it was different because Fed was taking it to Rafa and his backhand was so solid.

Duro, I was kind of hoping for the upset here, to see Fed get a W on clay for once, but on the other hand, I picked Rafa to win the tournament on my bracket challenge. So whatever. I just hope Fed at least comes back and makes the third set competitive. As Daniel says, he has had chances on Nadal’s serve; he just needs to convert. I won’t be around for Nole’s match, so cheer him on against giant-killer Bellucci.


Duro Says:

Skeez, 29 is not that old. Talking about age, Fed spent his golden age losing to Nadal and falling to 8-15 H2H. 8-16 most probably today, no matter how much I wouldn’t like it.

Nole and Rafa at that age? Who can tell? Future is often unexpected…


skeezerweezer Says:

^ya 6 chances Rafa had to break……not a good sign…Fed HAS to tighten up his service game if he has a shot


tfouto Says:

Federer can’t afford to loose the first game of the set again…


Krishna Says:

Honestly..I dont see Rafa playing at 29..he will be either retired..or he will be playing but he wont be an elite player..


Duro Says:

Jane, all wrong! Both your reasons! We want an upset because we do not care about Fed’s “win on clay for once”, but for Nole get advantage out of it. Rafa would lose points and Nole would have more chances in the possible final. Your second reason, well… Is your bracket more important than our basic interest?

Be opportunistic, ha ha ha… And more optimistic, of course ;-).


skeezerweezer Says:

duro…unexpected….that is why I look forward to it..Fed has already doing it and done it :)

So Fed is a loser cause he has a losing record against 1 guy with 9 slams? How about a guy like Sod? 1-16 vs Fed, but he is #5., so that makes him lower than #5? Don’t get this stuff. The h2h stuff like I said is for looky lou’s, not the record books, and Tennis doesn’t reward H2h matchups, it rewards the winner of a tournament. Matchups are fun, but the game is not a boxing match, you have to play the field. However, no doubt, disclaimer, Novak and Rafa have been playing the better Tennis against the Field.


skeezerweezer Says:

Have to say when these to match up H2H however and they both are on it’s magic to watch :), great stuff!


tfouto Says:

Federer cant afford to loose such points…


Daniel Says:

Fed Can’t miss This chances. He returned Nadal serve on BP, had a moon ball and trew it out long trying to force the baseline. Nadal was in defense in that point.
Hope He can hold His own games.


jane Says:

Fed needs to convert those: Rafa’s now saved 8 of 10 bp chances.


Duro Says:

Skeez, wrong conclusion. He is not, wasn’t and never will be one. He’s the greatest champion of all time. The point is, his resistance to Rafa doesn’t have to do anything with the age. He didn’t do any better than today even when he was 25. Which is very good if you didn’t understand me…


jane Says:

And now Rafa’s converted on 5 of 12 chances. In a way, it’s two things that have made the difference in this match – first, Nadal’s better conversion on bps; and second, Fed’s low first serve percentage. Perhaps Fed’s drop in focus was a factor too.


Daniel Says:

Fed os really unlucky today. H made a ball for winner to Close the game. Nadal contested and it was out. Fed was already ready to receive being 2-2 and now was broken.


jane Says:

That was a good service game by Fed; he’ll go for the break again here.


Gannu Says:

Signs of times… i dont know when i am ever going to see fed winning something major in his life!…Feels frustrating dsgusting and helpless at times…Really disappointing.. have to live with him losing every now and then…


skeezerweezer Says:

Duro,

Got it :)

Fed played as good as he could have today, looks like the beast will prevail again. Novak is waiting and smiling :)


pigirl1 Says:

Come on Fed! Its time to do your biggest comeback of the year!


jane Says:

Fed’s last chance to break; otherwise it’s a Rafa “W”.


tennismonger Says:

Yes, it’s official now: that rent-w/option-to-buy condo in Federer’s head that Nadal has been enjoying – looks like Rafa has made that final payment…


jane Says:

15-30… 30 all … 30-40…


jane Says:

second serve … deuce


jane Says:

Match point, and Nadal wins. Congrats to Rafa.

Fed! You were right there dude! You had to convert on the break points. 9 of them, gone fishing.


Krishna Says:

damn it is over..Nadal wins.. :(


Daniel Says:

Federer really has a mental thing with Nadal, he can play until break point in peace. Severel times this match he has BO and lost 2, 3 straught points not being able to return.
Credit also to NAdal, who start changing his serve, serving to the body a lot. Plus, after the first set where Nadal was playing “safe” he start hitting more power and taking more control.

Also noticed that Federer was stretching his right arm a lot, as if he felt something close to the chest muscle. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t serving great and with no ace.

Another BP contest, 2 out of 11. And it was all spread in games, more than 6 or 7 games he couldn’t break.


tfouto Says:

too many failed break points… 2/11 break points 37/46 win/ue

it was a good game…


Duro Says:

The most important thing here is: Roger could have done it! He could have!

Make conclusions for your own.

For me, he’s not done at all.


The fighter Says:

Congo Rafa!!! u scared us….


The fighter Says:

now go bellucci!!!


billyboy512 Says:

delusional duro!!!


Kimmi Says:

oh well!


jane Says:

Today, you really felt like Fed *could* win it, but came up just a little short. Judging by that performance, it seems to serve Fed better to have some battles along the way before playing Rafa, as he came out raring to go.


steve-o Says:

Bad luck is bad luck, you just have to deal with it the best you can. It’s not an excuse.

The bigger problem is that Federer couldn’t concentrate. He wasn’t mentally ready today to execute his tactics. Hopefully next time.

Congrats to Nadal fans.


skeezerweezer Says:

^yep in the past when Fed really really really had to get a crucial point he would get it. How long have we all been talking up here about his BP % decline? He has to convert the opportunities or find a way to do so. He is gotta know by now when you play Rafa. He has the game to do it, he’s beaten him 8 times, not 0. Rafa will come through everytime if Fed doesn’t play coinsistently well throughout as his game is built around consistency, very low UE’s and a big FH. Simple, efficient, deadly game. I gotta believe this is an age thing with Fed, as these decisions ( ie: Bp, 3-5, 3rd set )sometimes are absolutely quizzical to a guy who has the most brillant shots in the game. “Senior guys” call this “brain farts”. That said, all credit to Rafa, could tell by his excitement after the match he was in a great battle today, it wasn’t easy, and he got through. If Novak gets through, we should have another great Final!


van orten Says:

hahahahah business as usual !!!
in years from now i will only remember how often federer came short playing nadal…they both played a solid match…it is just that federer is not capable of converting his BP
anyone who says that nadal played better today is blind!!!
the only difference is the bp convertion…
what a pity
but i am tired of federer not taking his chances vs nadal..


Daniel Says:

Now NAdal will win RG. Remeber a theory I posted that wenever he beats Fed on clay prior to RG he win RG. 2009 Fed beat him in MAdrid and he had 0 victories over Feder. He lost!

Djoko can at leats win this one to make it interesting.

If Murray and Federer are winning sets on clay agaisnt Nadal (Murray delivered a 6-2 in Monte Carlo and Fed was down 4-2 before winning 7-5, 5-1 to come back), Djoko sure can do better as he is playing better than Murray and Federer.

I am Brazilian but Bellucci will have no chance agaisnt Nadal tomorrow, too much of a ocasion to handle.

Djoko needs a statement performance today, easy straight sets to feel even better for tomorrow.


van orten Says:

i will enjoy the moment when nadal starts fading on clay..like losing tight matches and not having the champions luck ( the one federer had for many many years)
what i will not enjoy is the bashing ( if any) he will receive by media and fans for starting losing against younger hungrier players …today fed should have won he had the right answers and played a decent match ..a pity the forehand went a bit long at 40:30 1:2 that ball decided the match…


Daniel Says:

I am kidding, I will cheer for Bellucci all the way. Nothing will be better if Somebody no one is expecting beat Nadal on clay tomorrow for a change. That would be something, ending Djokos streak and beating Nadal in a clay final!:)


Daniel Says:

van orten,
My sentiments exacltly.
I was even mad with Nadal for contesting it, Federer hit an almost perfect shot from the baseline running away his bh with a beautfull inside out forehand to level at 2-2. But the marck was right in fornt of Nadal and he just can’t let a game pass by. Fed paid the price with that short ball and Nadal making magic hitting a cross court short return in the line. That was it!


van orten Says:

yeah shi…happens…but it still leaves u with bitter taste …why cant he be a little bit luckier vs nadal ..nadal always prevails ..


grendel Says:

Daniel, yes, has Fed got a shoulder problem? He was certainly clutching it. Maybe he’ll elaborate later. I agree, Fed returned Nadal’s serve much better than normal, although sometimes he does seem a bit dumb. How often has Nadal gone for the body serve when he’s in trouble, especially on 2nd serve?Catches Fed every time, every sodridden time. Fed’s glory is also his downfall. He’s an instinctive player, and when it works, we’re all ooh-ing and ah-ing. And this happened several times today – the most brilliant tennis was played by Federer, although Nadal wasn’t so far behind. But Nadal just doesn’t care. He puts it behind him, and starts again. You get the feeling Federer is still celebrating emotionally, he’s on a high, whilst for Nadal, that point is history, could have been a year ago. He is mentally absolutely alert, though whether he is already planning or is readying himself to respond, devestatingly, to whatever comes, who can say.

Still, you can’t change people. At least Federer did enough to suggest he could well be a serious contender at Wimbledon, and maybe even the US. Nadal said afterwards in oncourt interview with the Petch – he was highly emotional b.t.w. due to the death of the great Spanish golfer Ballesteros – that this wasn’t one of their better matches, too many errors from both of them. Well, more errors than usual from Nadal certainly – but from Federer? Nadal also admitted he’d rather face Bellucci than Djokovic. Oddly, that probably isn’t true – I suspect he’d rather face Djokovic with the intent to show who’s boss.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Some spectacular tennis between these two, reminding us all of why this rivalry has been so glorified. Fed has achieved an unparalleled dominance by being stronger mentally than the field. Against Rafa, that advantage is ceded. BP opportunities tell the story so often in their chances.
For Fed, it is quite heartening that the IW loss seems to have been the outlier. He played quite even today with the best clay courter of all time. You better believe Fed will be in the mix at RF.
For Rafa, what else can you say? His fighting spirit and consistency, day in and day out, year after year on clay is utterly remarkable, like nothing we’ve ever seen in this sport.


grendel Says:

I hope Bellucci does himself justice.


Kimmi Says:

when is djoko bellucci suppose to start?


tfouto Says:

already started… belucci is playing really good… 2-2


tfouto Says:

djoko breaked by belucci 3-2…

sublime shots… wow


Daniel Says:

Wow,

Bellucci mimicking Nadla’s point construction! 3-2 and serve.


Kimmi Says:

Thomaz is on..hope he keeps it up!


Daniel Says:

Bellucci close his 2 service games with ease and wass 30-30 in all Dkoko’s games. Let’s see if he can hold with easy after the break.


dave Says:

Federer did very well regardless of the loss. He showed Nadal’s vulnerabilities on clay, mostly when Roger planted himself on the baseline and developed the rhythm to take risks and time away from Nadal. Had a few points fallen his way in the third set (or earlier), Federer could have beaten Nadal. Many of Nadal’s service games were long in duration. Federer definitely had far more than a 10% chance to have beaten Nadal, and the match was closer than it seemed despite the final score.

Thus Federer has a lot of positives to take from this match considering he played against Nadal:
- on Nadal’s favourite surface of clay (and certainly no non-Spaniard has Nadal’s experience playing on clay in Madrid)
- in Nadal’s home country with the entire stadium of Spanish fans supporting him (feeling the love both in Madrid and Barcelona)
- despite Federer coming into the match with only half the clay-court match practice (6 matches in Monte Carlo and Madrid) compared to Nadal (about 13 matches from Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Nadrid)
- despite Nadal having benefitted from playing all his matches at 4 pm in the afternoon, while Federer’s two significant matches (Lopez and Soderling) were at 7 pm evening (his one afternoon match was quickly over in one hour)
- despite a long grueling three hour first-round match battle against Lopez which may have left Federer with possible shoulder injury or tightness in his last two matches.
- despite Nadal’s attempts to pound the Federer backhand on high-altitude, high-bouncing bouncing fast clay, which showed that what Federer’s backhand did to Nadal at the World Tour Finals was no fluke (read this slowly, you Federer naysayers).

Yeah, Federer has a lot to look forward to going into Rome and the French Open.


grendel Says:

Bellucci looks the goods right now – he overpowered Djokovic in a series of bam whangers, needed a few because of Novak’s good defence. Can he keep it up, though?


Daniel Says:

Djoko’s missing a lot inside out forehands.

Bellucci’s serve is way tricky, with lot’s of spin.


Daniel Says:

Djoko seems mentally tired. I think today is the day.


billyboy512 Says:

delusional dave meet delusional dro


grendel Says:

I love the way Bellucci can hit the ball apparently with all his strength and it goes sailing up, up, apparently off to Barcelona or somewhere – and then lands safely on the baseline. Great skill from djokovic to handle it.


skeezerweezer Says:

^typical attitude during the Clay season…ahh the chest is sticking out and the feathers are fluffy…..too bad Rafa can’t play on Clay year round, eh? Now that is delusional.

Novak is down a break…..why do I have the feeeling he will still win this match?


grendel Says:

Bellucci’s serve has been superb. Now it’s crunch time – will he still go for it?
Yes, Djokovic doesn’t seem quite there – lots of errors, too.


tfouto Says:

6-4 belucci… wow


Kimmi Says:

needs to go to the net to finish those shots bellucci..he was lucky there


Daniel Says:

Wow,

Will we have a contest of lefty forehand power spin balls. Bellucci’s forehand is closer to Nadal’s than Verdasco.


tfouto Says:

1 point of luck and the other of great talent…


grendel Says:

Bellucci’s first serve didn’t work that well – but it didn’t matter. He has a tremendous kicker for a 2nd serve. Seriously, does anyone do that better?


grendel Says:

Daniel, that’s very interesting – I thought of both Verdasco and Nadal to compare Bellucci, but wasn’t really sure. But I think you’re right, ’tis the spin does it. Jes’s, he’s good. Again, you ask, can he keep it up?


Daniel Says:

Bellucci rushing the exchanges with his bh. Serve gone also.


Daniel Says:

Well, he is brave and confidant. Perfect drop when down 0-40. Cold blood!


Kimmi Says:

nole is playing bellucci back hand more.


tfouto Says:

amazing… 0-40 to 40-40 with an perfect drop shot and two perfect aces… then 2 more points ant its 1-1…


Daniel Says:

Guga Kuerten is watching the match and tweeting, said the commentors here.


Daniel Says:

Wow, Djoko in yellow lights this game.


Daniel Says:

Djoko’s body language are not good. Can he also save a 0-40 game?


Kimmi Says:

time for djoko to save 0-40


skeezerweezer Says:

Novak finally running out of gas?


tfouto Says:

wow… just wow… que jogaço… djoko breaked up to love


Kimmi Says:

BELLUCCI!! go beat all of them..today and tomorrow!


Daniel Says:

Amazing, he is hitting as hard as Nadal from both wings.

THis is it, unless he chokes, this is his match. Djoko is not serving great to get some free points and is just not hurting Bellucci enough. He is not risking, unless he start painting the lines as he can, but I don’t see Djko winning this match right now.


Kimmi Says:

8 straights point for bellucci! wow just wow!


tfouto Says:

http://twitter.com/#!/gugakuerten

kuerten is saying djoko is exausthed…


Daniel Says:

tfouto, Vc e Brasileiro ou Portugues?

tfouto, Brazilian or Portuguese?


Kimmi Says:

gendel – so true about bellucci FH, it is like they are going out but always finds the court.


tfouto Says:

portugues… rooting for belucci…


Kimmi Says:

CRAP! will the dropper attempt cost him?


Kimmi Says:

lucky bellucci..go go go


tfouto Says:

maybe the altitude has an effect on djoko stamina…


grendel Says:

I think Djokovic is back, and Bellucci has had his run of luck. So to win, he’s just got to go all out on the serve – any holding back, and Djokovic will patiently, methdically, haul him back.


The fighter Says:

go bellucci!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Kimmi Says:

the test!


Kimmi Says:

djoko is back..


Daniel Says:

The luck is entirely with Bellucci.


Kimmi Says:

bellucci suddenly making lots of ue


Kimmi Says:

OMG..that ball was WAAAAY in


Daniel Says:

Wow,

Suddenly, and yet again Djoko finds strenght from nowhere and is all pumped up.

This guy just forgot how to lose.


tfouto Says:

what a game… belucci played a bad final serve game…


Kimmi Says:

djoko pumped up…we go to decider


Ben Pronin Says:

I know Djokovic said he has that gluten allergy but does he also have seasonal allergies? His nose looks really red.


Kimmi Says:

djoko seem to be in control now!


The fighter Says:

keep fighting Thomas!!


Daniel Says:

This match is an excelent preparation for whoever wins and faces Nadal tomorrow. The only problem is if they stay in this level, they may show exhasuted tomorrow, since they are playing the second match, with less recovery time.


Daniel Says:

Djoko awaken his evil within twin!


Kimmi Says:

whoever wins….its djokovic!


Ben Pronin Says:

This is like a Nadal-Djokovic match. Jeez. They’re making each other ripe for Nadal’s picking.


Ben Pronin Says:

From 1-3 in the second set Djokovic has reeled off 8/9 games.


Kimmi Says:

bellucci picked an injury…djoko is in a good place now


sar Says:

Anti Nole crowd has shut up.


sar Says:

Ben I think NOle has seasonal allergies too. Last spring he had such bad ones at Belgrade.


Ben Pronin Says:

I was going to say that the players don’t seem to be sliding a lot on this court but I guess that was just unique to Federer and Nadal. Novak and Bellucci are doing plenty of sliding.


andrea Says:

well, even though the result is what i expected, fed’s game against nadal today was pretty good. the abysmal break point conversion stat is something that haunts roger whenever he plays nadal, and today it was the same situation.

he had many chances and despite the snit with the umpire at the beginning of the second set, he remained calm. (you wonder how players feel after the match when they finally get to see the replay of the point they argued on….)

madrid is more of an equalizer for fed against nadal so i was hoping for a close game and it was. and eve though he lost, i thought it was amazing that he came back on won the first set. he certainly made nadal work for it.

after the inexplicable, nonchalant match he played against nadal in miami, it was encouraging to see him so much at net and really playing some aggressive tennis. paul annacone should be happy with this result.

thankfully, we didn’t get a whiffer on match point like last year,

the final with novak and nadal is pretty pivotal – does nadal’s clay court winning streak from 2010 come to an end or does novak’s 2011 best start ever come crashing down? i give the small edge to nadal since it’s clay, but he’s not as ferocious as he was a couple of years ago and with a pumped up novak, hopefully it’s another blockbuster.


andrea Says:

and i’m sorely disappointed that nadal didn’t get challenged by delpo. with his firepower, delpo can play anyone like a yo yo on the back court. maybe the french?


Kimmi Says:

ok, nole, go for it tommorow


grendel Says:

Yes, it was clear Djokovic was going to win just before he broke back in the 2nd. Asked after the match about tomorrow, he said he hoped he would recover in time. He looked perfectly sincere as he said this, this was no pre-emptive excuse. He looked a bit flat sometimes today, he had to exert a lot of energy to pull back, and unfortunately, I’d be surprised if he is in tip-top form by tomorrow evening.

From a more or less neutral spectator’s point of view (who happens to want Djokovic to win, but neutrality’s a subtle game, you know)this is annoying. Nadal is not at his best, and I would make Djokovic marginal favourite, other things being equal.

But are other things equal?


Huh Says:

AGREE WITH YOU DANIEL, NADAL’LL SURELY WIN RG 2011 NOW THAT HE HAS BEATEN FED BEFORE RG. ;)

PROUD OF ROGER. I KNOW FED’LL GET NADAL SOON. ONLY DELUSIONAL BILLYBOYS RULE OUT FEDERER IN A MATCH! ;)


tfouto Says:

there is Rome yet. Federer can win Nadal on clay before RG, Nadal is favourite but who knows…


sar Says:

Nole did what he had to do today–make Bellucci beat him. Thomaz didn’t have it in him to make that happen.

Tomorrow is a different story. Won’t know until they start playing if Nole can pull it off.


contador Says:

grendel,

happy to say i missed the fedal. aw, schucks. sounds like the worst happened – gets his fans hopes up and then the slow torture….the end.

bellucci started strong and djokovic gave him a lesson about how hard it is to get a masters 1000 final. now i really feel sorry for bellucci because his 1st round in rome he has a qualifier (that’s the good part) but he has rafa right after. i hope bellucci can pick himself up and take a fight to rafa. otherwise rafa will likely have 2 spaniards for his next matches and then into the semi. arrrrrrrgh! a fedal again? i hope not. the mercy could come from berdych. i’m going to pick the czech to win.

looking at fed’s draw he has tsonga or baghdatis, then gasquet or montanes, and berdych or monfils before nadal. i say go out to berdych and get ready for FO! wishful thinking on my part because feddy will fight his way to nadal again and again and again…

bellucci did well in his 1st masters1000 semi. he ran into the hottest player in the atp. somebody’s winning streak ends tomorrow. will it be rafa’s or nole’s? i give nole a chance but he was looking pretty “knackered” after the last 2 matches. bad luck. and nadal had the good luck – no delpo to fight. not that delpo would have won.


Duro Says:

Hi countess.


Duro Says:

Bellucci played 150% of his capabilities.

Novak won.

600 points that is. 1600 more to go…

Allez alleeeez… No1-le, No1-leeee…


M Says:

I don’t think it’s “ho hum” to watch Roger & Rafa play at all. I think they’re two of the best in the history of the sport and we are fortunate to be here to watch them compete at this time.

I’m always thrilled to watch them play — even as Rafa said in a Yahoo article “it was a difficult match, not the best for either of us”.

http://sports.yahoo.com/tennis/news?slug=ap-madridopen


M Says:

@ Ben Pronin – there’s some nice sliding Roger did in his 2nd set against the Sod the other evening

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9aNHb9bv_g


sheila Says:

unfortunately, roger loses more points having not made finals & djokovic gains points because he did better than last year. hes starting to pull away from roger as #2 player. i still do not c djokovic taking over #1 ranking from nadal i predicted a nadal/djokovic final in madrid & i predict nadal/djokovic finals in any tournament these 2 play in. i still think nadal will win him on clay & take the remainder of the gs events lft. best of 5 nadal is impossible 2beat(although i would love 2c roger win wimbledon @ least-wishful thinking????) feders 5-6 yrs older than these guys & he just doesnt seem 2 have that same youthful intensity that nadal & djokovic have. murray, if he could only get the mental part of his game 2gether, he would be a real force. that, imho, is the difference now btwn him & djokovic. mental focus & maturity. i just hope roger @ least finishes the yr end as #3 player & doesnt drop anymore. he did have a good win over soderling @ least & hopefully he can have a good run in the gs events


contador Says:

ah. hello, Duro.

you are such a positive voice for your dear novak djokovic! : )

you know i will be warching tomorrow and cheering for nole. he was wearing a different strapping below his knee today and started slow. i guess rafa started slow too, i read.

nothing personal against rafa and all due respect to his fans but i want someone else to win one trophy on clay. no one better than nole and isn’t madrid the best chance for someone else to win?

bellucci did give his all and then some.


Milos Says:

Did anyone notice that Belluci looks a little bit like Ray Romano :)


Duro Says:

And if he wins – 800 to go!

No1-leee, No1-leeee…


contador Says:

yeah he does look a bit like ray romano, Milos. bellucci is better looking. and simon does look like joaquin phoenix but not as crazy.

Milos, did you know “you” have to play verdasco 1st round in rome? wishing you the win! not sure i trust these italian draw.

Duro, that would be huge if nole can take no. 1 this year! how long has it been since someone other than federer or nadal have been no.1?


contador Says:

j/k abt the italian draw. but it is ironic.


Duro Says:

Countess, if he wins, it will be almost certain!

0 points for Rafa for a long long time, and for Nole… well, only to collect them.


madmax Says:

contador,

you are very very wrong here – you missed an excellent match.

‘happy to say i missed the fedal. aw, schucks. sounds like the worst happened – gets his fans hopes up and then the slow torture….the end’.

It wasn’t slow torture at all. It’s the best roger has played against rafa since the WTF 2010 and he could have pulled it off if his first serve had been better and if he had converted those break points. Rafa didnt’ have it easy. Roger outclassed him intermittently throughout the match. Vintage roger. Brilliant roger.

Trust me, it was not a roll over. Far from it.
You should watch it on replay – especially the first set, plus roger came back to beat rafa when he was 0-40 down. When was the last time that happened?

Have a bit more faith will you?

You will miss him when he’s gone conty. Don’t waste the opportunity :)


jane Says:

Super happy for Nole! Had to go out this afternoon, and Nole looked gased, down a set and I think a break, too. I came home only to find out he won. Wow Bellucci has had such a break through. As contador says though, he runs almost straight into Rafa at Rome. The good news is we will get to see how they match up on clay even though Tomaz did not win today. Anyhow… Here’s hoping for a good battle tomorrow.


Skeezerweezer Says:

@Ben

Novak slides on HC and Grass, so Clay why be surprised?

Novak had some good practice against a Lefty today, Rafa shoild be worried. Rafa better hope that Novaks tank is empty. A new Sheriff is coming to town very soon.


someone Says:

@gordon

Here is an example of Nadal’s other delays, those beyond simply holding up every serve, from “Strokes of Genius”, a book dedicated to the Wimbledon 2008 finals:

Federer went directly to the net for the ceremonial coin flip, where a local child, often one with a chronic illness, is summoned to play a small role in the match … The two were joined by Pascal Maria, the chair umpire for the match, and by the tournament referee, Andrew Jarrett.

The quartet waited…and waited…and waited. Nadal sat at his chair, sipping Evian, chewing on an energy bar, folding his sweats and then indulging his longtime ritual of sipping from each of two bottles of water, one colder than the other, and then fastidiously arranging the bottles just so with the labels pointed outward toward the side of the court he’ll next assume….

Impatience transparent on his face, Federer rocked back and forth and took a few practice swings near the net. …

According to a member of the Nadal entourage, in the players’ box Federer’s girlfriend, Mirka Vavrinec, watched the Spaniard’s dallying and muttered, “Oh, come on.”

After a full minute of self-indulgence, Nadal trotted to the net. )

OMG Nadal, what an arrogant cheater. I hope he gets a career-ending injury soon. He should be stripped of all his titles. Doesn’t respect his opponents, umpire, guests or the rules.


Ben Pronin Says:

Skeeze, I’m not surprised that Djokovic was sliding, I was surprised by the lack of sliding by Federer and Nadal.


skeezerweezer Says:

Ben,

Thats because Fed/Rafa have taken Ballet lessons, when they took during the one on one time and bonding they spent together over the Holidays. Nole is at a disadvantage here as he is out of that relationship, just getting leftovers and having to run harder, faster, and slidier than Fed/Rafa duo. However, due to the bitterness of feeling left out of the twosome by Nole, it is not surprising that he has totally dominated Fed/Rafa in ’11 so far as it is never cool to leave the 3rd wheel out of the cog. Thus the inevitable equation we have left that Novak is kickin @ss so far this year in a big way, no?

:)


Milos Says:

@contador Thanks for nice wishes :)

Hoping for Nole’s win today!!!

Top story: Roger Federer Wins The Davis Cup Title For Switzerland, Here's Video Of Match Point And The Celebration
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Rankings
ATP - Nov 17 WTA - Nov 17
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Kei Nishikori5 Ana Ivanovic
6 Andy Murray6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Tomas Berdych7 Eugenie Bouchard
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9 Marin Cilic9 Angelique Kerber
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