Rafael Nadal Saves 2 MPs In Rio SFs, Says He Didn’t Play Well, But Kept Fighting, Running For Everything
by Tom Gainey | February 23rd, 2014, 10:41 am
  • 42 Comments

Rafael Nadal showed once again why he is the King of Clay. Last night in a spirited match with heavy underdog and countryman Pablo Andujar, Nadal was pushed to the very brink before winning 26, 63, 76(10) in the Rio Open semifinals.

Nadal, who at one point led by a break in the third set, needed to save two match points during that incredible tiebreak against Andujar who was playing the tennis of his life.

“I guess the difference from top players to the others is that we have less bad days. When I don’t play well I keep playing, fighting, running for every ball and looking for chances to win anyway,” said Nadal.

Uncharacteristically, Nadal was outplayed early by his lesser countryman, but in the end found a way to get through.

“I started the match with an intensity Pablo could overcome,” Nadal said. “I didn’t have the best sensations on court. I didn’t have energy to move, lost aggressiveness, struggled to control the ball.”

Andujar actually won more points in the match than Nadal (108 to 106), and afterward took the positives from the tough defeat.

“I think I played one of the best matches of my life, probably the best,” said Andujar who was just 3/14 on break points. “But I had one of the sport’s greatest in front of me. I had two match points and that leaves a bitter taste, but the positive point is I played very well and I get a lot of confidence to my next matches.”

After that long match 2-hour, 45-minute match, in the title match Nadal will play surprise finalist Alexandr Dolgopolov who upset David Ferrer. Nadal has won his lat 27 matches on clay.

Here are some highlights from Nadal’s win on Saturday:


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42 Comments for Rafael Nadal Saves 2 MPs In Rio SFs, Says He Didn’t Play Well, But Kept Fighting, Running For Everything

Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa!
Good luck for the final.


Frankie Says:

Eventually he will not be able to run for everything. But then this happens to every athlete.


Brando Says:

Gulbis wins in Marseille: finally cracks top 20. He states he wants to be no.1. He’s got the talent but its nice to see he’s putting the work in. Only 25: with his talent there is still some time left.


Skeezer Says:

“Rafael Nadal Saves 2 MPs In Rio SFs, Says He Didn’t Play Well, ….”

Of course he says he didn’t play well, Pablo deserves No credit for playing well, no Rafa?

Woohoo.


Hippy Chic Says:

Rafa says he didnt play well,i dont know as i havent seen the match,ive only seen the highlights above,anyway Pablo deserves credit for the fact that Rafa wasnt allowed to play well.


Hippy Chic Says:

Gulbis wins and states he wants to be number 1,hes always talked the talk,but never walked the walk,he has the talent to trouble the worlds best players,but you also have to have that self disipline,but also drive and determination,hes always had quite a cavalier attitude towards tennis,so its great to see hes now taking it more seriously.


Giles Says:

Rafa has won many a match without playing well. That is why he is a great champion!
Vamos Champ!


Hippy Chic Says:

Giles yes you have a point,not to take anything away from Pablo though.


Giles Says:

Pablo said he played the best match of his career and I am sure he did. I didn’t watch the match but I remember him giving Rafa a hard time in RG 2011.


Okiegal Says:

The commentators were saying how bad Rafa was playing. They have the stats right there so they can keep track. They talked mostly about 1st serve %age was bad. I watched it, every point and Pablo played fabulous. Now, was Rafa playing so bad that he made Pablo look good or was Pablo playing so good that he made Rafa look so bad?? What difference does it make?? Rafa won, barely and Andujar played probably the best match of his life and still lost, barely.
But I don’t think for one second that Rafa wouldn’t applaud him for how he played. Rafa had a worthy opponent last night and he knows it.


Okiegal Says:

@Chic

Look at the stat sheet, Rafa was weak in a few areas
He just hung tough in the tiebreak and got the win. I really doubted him winning……exciting match all the way through. Umpire called time violations on both players.


the DA Says:

I watched the whole match. It turned into a great thriller. Very enjoyable. Pablo played outstandingly – similar to his RG performance vs Rafa in 2011. However, Rafa’s serve was not firing. Some of his 1st serves were slower than Venus Williams’ earlier in Dubai. It allowed Pablo to crush his returns. If his serve doesn’t improve soon, I can only imagine what great returners like Nole & Andy will do to them.


Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal thanks for the info,and indeed there is a good reason as to why Rafa is one of the greatest players ever,and why hes won 13 GS,and why hes world number1,and not for nothing is he called the CLAY GOAT either.


Okiegal Says:

@Chic

You’re welcome and I agree with DA that serve has got to shape up. Watching the match now and Rafa actually smiled. A shot by Dolgo was barely wide and I suppose Rafa was thrilled by that……and he broke him just now!! VAMOS!!


Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal im actually watching the final as we speak,and he can play much better than he is doing for sure,hes getting away with not playing well,which he wont get that luxury against the top players,anyway its early days and only the start of the CC season,so hopefully he will play himself into form,for the tougher challenges that lie ahead.


Okiegal Says:

They both are showing some CC mastery right now!!


Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal Rafas seving much better now.


Okiegal Says:

Yes, Chic he is. Forehand is good today too. Playing much better today. But don’t want to take anything away from Pablo last night, he was awesome and Rafa had problems and Pablo was causing a majority of them.

Vamos Rafa!!


Hippy Chic Says:

God i dont know how they can concentrate with all that racket going on in the background jeez.


Okiegal Says:

@Chic

Well, I’m glad that was in straight sets! Now I guess I will zero in on Dubai and cheer Roger on!!

Vamos, Mr. Nadal!! (and please work on speeding up that serve ……they mean business!!)


Giles Says:

Vamos Champ!
Well done!
King of Rio!!


metan Says:

Yooohooo, what a happy day. The king add one title. Congratulations RAFA. VAMOS. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

RE. PABLO. He was playing fantastic match. Worthy to spend time for it..sad it is only in sf, otherwise he deserves a trophy too. The rest agreed with @ the DA.
hey there was serve and volley. Pablo produced a good volley. Hahahaha, don’t say not s&v, eh


Perfect fan Says:

Congrats to rafa n all his fans worldwide….certainly, the clay aka the rafael nadal season has started. I m also desperate to see how some other non-spanish players are faring on clay this year, like novak, stan and delpo.


Okiegal Says:

There were some great points in today’s match by both . I sit and watch and wonder……how did they just do that?? Amazing stuff.

I’m looking forward to Dubai, should be a good one. I would love a Novak/Roger final. We will see

VAMOS RAFA!!


Okiegal Says:

@Perfect Fan

Thanks a bunch! It was good to see him win #62. I think his play ran hot and cold at times, but he managed to play two great tiebreaker this week, so that was positive. What’s not positive is his slow play when he serves. He better get more serious….He makes me nervous.


Steve27 Says:

Rafa reach 62 titles , tied with Vilas, two behind Borg and Sampras-
He has 43 titles on clay, three behind the Argentinian.

Here a pic with the “real” Ronaldo: http://s2.glbimg.com/HqlbVYGkBTLmcQRd-gG-yyTpv4I=/s.glbimg.com/es/ge/f/original/2014/02/23/nadal_e_ronaldo.jpg
Here with the ball girl:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLIfmnlSkQ4
Here the ATP video:
http://www.atpworldtour.tennistv.com/video/clip/2351576/
And a fantastic point of the final:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPXry40ReIY
Vam1s!


Perfect fan Says:

@ okiegal, dnt worry abt rafa….he most probably is heating up his engines for the upcoming gruelling clay season. U’ll see him at his best again at MC, monaco whr he’ll be motivated enuff to take back his crown from nole. I m also hopeful that nole will put up a good show, thr being his second home. Tell u what, this year RG is exciting me like never before….can’t wait for April.


Giles Says:

@Steve 27. Lol. The gorgeous ball girl certainly earned some limelight. She couldn’t take her eyes off Rafa and who could blame her. Wonder if she distracted Rafa during the Pablo match. Good job Xisca was around! Lol


Okiegal Says:

@Perfect Fan

I love to watch my guy on clay for sure. I’m getting kind of nervous for RG this year……..the dreaded law of averages is definitely not on Rafa’s side…..a potential #9…….that’s freakin’ incredible! Novak is no slouch on clay himself. He will be fighting hard to defend his points in Monte Carlo, his residence. I think?? That being his home is motivation enough for him. I, like you am looking forward to the next couple months, should be exciting. You know, our favs will win some and lose some, but I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us! When I discovered that a lot of the matches are live streamed, I was ecstatic. I watch espn3.com. for most of the matches, it’s a good solid stream, some of the others aren’t so great. Good luck to Novak in Dubai. He’s such a great player. Maybe there will be a Novak/Roger final. I haven’t checked out the draw yet. Enjoyed your feedback, as always!!


Steve27 Says:

Hahahaha, Giles, indeed. But looking discreetly is not cheeting. Another thing is to be a voyeur.


metan Says:

@Giles & Steve 27.
LOL. Rafa was indeed distracted, no wonder he said, it was very hot there. And Pablo was double motivated to play his best matches for showing off.😜


Okiegal Says:

What was the purpose of that girl? Maybe all of the players pitched in and paid her to try to distract Rafa and get him off his game!! LOL. Well, if so, the scheme failed!! LOL I’m being serious now…….what was she supposed to do for him?? I thought it was very weird and I’ll just bet she felt that way too!!


Okiegal Says:

I felt sorry for Dolgo in regard to his country having all the unrest going on there. If I lived any where close to that city, I would not go back until all the fighting had ceased!! He did have a good week in spite of it all……good for him.


Okiegal Says:

@Perfect Fan

I realize after reading on another thread that you are in Roger’ s corner…….I thought Novak. When Rafa isn’t playing I always cheer for one over the other. If it’s Roger/Novak…..I’m always for Federer, even though he could crank out another win garnering him a trophy and surpassing Rafa even more. Good luck to your guy!!


Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal Perfect Fan is IMO one of the best fans on this forum,he is a diehard Federer fan yet you cannot really tell,as the guy has no anymosity towards Rafa,Novak,Andy or any other player,and always gives them all credit,more to the point he always seems to put his point across in a very unbiased and yet unagressive way,its a rare thing on this forum,two other posters one called Grendel who is a genuis with a dry sence of wit,and Tennis Vagabond whom is very intelligent, knowledgeable,approachable yet classy are some of the best posters on this forum IMO.


Hippy Chic Says:

I shouldve put Michael on that list too.


Okiegal Says:

@Chic

Yes, I have read their stuff before, but not in awhile. Michael is a good poster too, always enjoy reading what he has to say. He is very knowledgeable. Having never played tennis, I don’t really understand the mechanics of it…….but I feel like I have learned a lot more since I’ve been following the TX forum. There are several on here that seem to know what they’re talking about. I’m very interested in those comments.


Perfect fan Says:

@ chic n okiegal,

stop blushing me, u ladies :)) my cheeks have turned blood red reading ur posts. Seriously, I dnt deserve this much of praise. I m like 6 months old in TX and thr r so many here with years of posting experience n tennis knowledge. Some even play to have the real physical experience and ideas.

See, all I have been saying since landing here is that we should not be posting defamatory n negative, repellent comments abt any player. A pinch of salt here n there is ok, but sometimes we r like pouring heaps of it n relentlessly….which is rly uncalled for. These players are rly talented and might have worked real hard to be in the position they r in right now….and they must be real proud of themselves to be representing their country, giving it all on court to get a recognition for themselves n for their nation.
We all have our favourites, which is a great thing….its absolutely ok to declare our love n admiration for our favs in a pompous way in a public forum. But posting negative, tasteless n cheap comments in a public forum is a real childish n immature thing IMO. I mean, it takes nothing to sit at home n post such unnecessary comments online….but think of these pros, who day in day out slog it out trying to be at their best and be the best….we really owe then some respect, be it a #1 player or a #999.

But then again, its my personal opinion….both u guys r on same frequency with me, thatswhy we r thinking alike. Others may be tuned into some other frequency, which suits them best….anyways, I m trying my best to keep away from those kinda debates where players dignity n honour were slaughtered.

But nevertheless, many thanx to both of u to understand me better and to agree with my thoughts. :)


Hippy Chic Says:

Perfect Fan your more than welcome,and your post above hit the nail on the head perfectly,with some posters i must admit to been scared to approach or ask a question for fear of been heckled or belittled,but with you im never scared of doing that :))..


Okiegal Says:

@Perfect Fan

I don’t intend to make you blush, but it’s refreshing to come across another poster who can base an opinion on another player, other than their favorite, and appreciate their accomplishments as well. Chic and I think it gets to be childish and immature. Appreciate your down to earth unbiased approach to the z


Okiegal Says:

Oops, PF……sent before through……

unbiased approach to TX forum. Thanx for that!

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