Nadal Finally Gets Right, Faces Djokovic In Sunday Rome Finale; Who’s The Pick?
by Sean Randall | May 17th, 2014, 9:29 pm
  • 177 Comments

After a week of endless marathon matches and uneven play, the dust has literally settled in Rome leaving familiar rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to duel for the final clay Masters event of the season.

Nadal, who had played erratic tennis all week put together a very tight Rafa-like performance today crushing the young upstart Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2. Following a string of 3-setters, it was just what Nadal and his shaken confidence needed.

“I think I started the match in a perfect way, in the second set he made more mistakes than usual,” said Nadal who had lost at least a set in his four prior meetings with the Bulgarian. “But, talking about myself, I played a solid match and was very good with my backhand. Yesterday I played a great match and today was a good confirmation that I play better, that the forehand starts to fly again, the top spins as well. A lot of positive things.”

Djokovic’s road was far, far tougher. The Serb clashed with the big serving Milos Raonic in a three hour 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-3 thriller. It was a nip-and-tuck affair as the Canadian flashed not just his lethal serve/forehand combo but a newfound backhand and better mobility. The improvements paid off. Raonic hung tough until late in the third when Djokovic finally swept him away.

“It was a big win,” said Djokovic. “Because it gives me a lot of strength and belief that I hope I can carry into tomorrow’s final and the rest of the season.

“He played at a high level, especially on his serve, and I cannot recall the last time when I felt so helpless in the return games. I couldn’t really read his serve.

“He did surprise me with his movement,” said Djokovic. “He is moving really well and has improved his backhand down the line, especially. He comes to the net and has improved his variety.”

At the end of the day Raonic and Dimitrov have no reason to hand their heads. For the two 23-year-olds it was a very promising week. Despite the bad outing today, the future is bright for Dimitrov who’ll likely crack the Top 10 in the coming months. Raonic showed some added savvy today and with his power and frame, he’s going to be at the top of the game for the next 4-5 years if not longer. These two will have their time, it’s just not now.

Their losses also pave the way for chapter 41 of the best rivalry in tennis: Nadal vs. Djokovic.

Rafa (still) leads this one 22-18 and 13-3 on clay. But Djokovic has won three straight and they’ve split their last two on dirt. Entering, I’d give a slight edge on level of play to Novak. He’s had the better season and he’s been playing better of late. Nadal, meanwhile, has really struggled. Of course except for today.

The problem for Rafa is even when he’s playing near his best, Djokovic still gives him fits. So mentally, Rafa’s going to be worried going in because he knows this is a different battle. He’s the favorite, he’s the King of Clay and the pressure is on him not to cede his surface this close to the French. But he’s got issues.

“Djokovic always plays unbelievable, he’s a complete player and has all the shots,” said Nadal. “If I want to have chances to win I have to play my best tennis, be aggressive. It will be a very tough match. That’s the only way. I have to be ready for the competition.”

Djokovic, though, hasn’t been at his best either. We’re still seeing those ill-timed lapses in concentration – what happened in the first set breaker when he was up 3-0? – and he just doesn’t look right at times.

For me, all things being equal on the clay (both guys playing a decent game from the baseline and they are fit – Novak is coming off a 3-hour match today) the match hinges on Rafa’s second serve. If he’s having a hard time with his second then Djokovic, a master returned, is going to be dictating, and that’s bad news for the Spaniard. However, if Nadal serves well he’ll be the one in the forecourt and being the aggressor. He can apply the pressure and get Djokovic thinking.

For Djokovic, he’ll have to attack that second and be willing to hit the backhand down the line. I guess it would be asking to much for him to cut out the nickle-and-dime errors, but like Nadal, who’s also battling his own bloopers, I think we’ll see likely see some good tennis mixed with some bad.

So that said, this is a tough one to pick. With the big prize still three weeks away, neither player is firing on all cylinders right now. But this is Rafa’s domain and he’ll do everything in his power to protect what’s his. He’s the King of Clay afterall.
The pick: Nadal in three

In the opening act, the women’s final pits heavy favorite Serena Williams against local hero Sara Errani. I can only imagine what Serena will do to the Italian’s puffy second serves.

Tennis Channel has live coverage starting at 7:30am.

SUNDAY ROME SCHEDULE
CENTRALE start 1:30 pm
WTA – [1] S Williams (USA) vs [10] S Errani (ITA)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)


Also Check Out:
Poll: Rafael Nadal Or Novak Djokovic, Who’s Your Early Favorite To Win The French Open?
Who’s That Running? Who’s That Stripping? Why It’s Rafael Nadal! [Video]
Djokovic Denies Federer, Faces Nadal In Rome Title Rematch; Who’s The Pick?
Indian Wells Final: Roger Federer v Novak Djokovic, Who’s The Pick?
Andy Murray On Who’s The French Open Favorite: I Don’t Know And I Don’t Care!

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177 Comments for Nadal Finally Gets Right, Faces Djokovic In Sunday Rome Finale; Who’s The Pick?

Jess Says:

Did not like watching Nadal’s match tbh. Whats the fun in seeing him hit 80% of the shots to the right-handers backhand? It was definitely a downgrade from the match with Murray.

Lets hope the final will be more competitive and have better tennis.


Kimmi Says:

The only one handed backhand that can stay toe to toe with rafa forehand topspin is wawrinka.. Too bad he cannot sustain his good form week in week out

Hope tomorrow is a good match, a three set thriller would be perfect. Hope Nole wrist can hold up.

Surprising it is the first rafa/nole match on clay this year. Love their matches if they all play well.

Lets go Nole!


Bad Knee Rules Says:

Raonic was going nowhere with Galo Blanco. The best decision he made was to sack him and take Ljubicic who persuaded his former coach, Riccardo Piatti, to dump Gasquet during WTF and join Roanic’s team. It’s paying off big time – maybe the best coaching team on tour at the moment.
By the way, Riccardo Piatti used to coach young Djokovic.


Hippy Chic Says:

With the way Rafas played this week,i would say Novak in 3,the opponents hes faced this week were unable to sustain that level of play for 3 sets after he started slowly,so he had the luxury of been able to raise his game when not playing his best,he wont get that against Novak he will have to be dialled in from the word go….


Hippy Chic Says:

Not really feeling confident about Rafas chances here or at RG this year,still ill continue to watch him as fans always do with the favorites,and as long as he does his best is all one can really ask….


Michael Says:

It is difficult to pick a winner in this match and it will all boil down to the form of the player on this particular day. It will all depend on the way Rafa serves and the quality of Novak’s return. Right now, the two players are not playing at their best and that would make the contest even more gruelling. Still considering that Rafa is coming on the back of a win at Madrid and doubts about Novak’s full recovery from his wrist ailment, the edge should lie with Rafa. It is 52:48 in my opinion. Novak can definitely win against Rafa on any court.


youyong Says:

I agree with Hippy Chic. His wins were not convincing enough to make me feel confident about his chances winning tonight and at RG. Against Dimitrov, his win came largely due to the absence of Grigor’s game last night. Many points were gifted by unforced errots and when Rafa made winners it was because he was given many opportunities. We often talk about a player’s form but we forget that this is sometimes aided by the opponents play on that day too and of late, Rafa has only been able to hang in there long enough for a win because the other player just cannot sustain the level of play till the end of the 3rd set. Nole won’t give him the chance to come back. If Rafa doesn’t win the first set, this is likely to be over in 2 to Nole. Nonetheless, by reaching the final at least he has made this clay season suck less for him. I am more worried about his RG campaign and hope to be proven wrong.


Nitesh Says:

I don’t understand why fans want there favorite player to win easily every time. Rafa is struggled this season everybody knows that.


James Says:

I expected Rafa to routine Grigor if he played like he did in last 2 sets against Murray. I know Dimitrov is said to be highly talented, but I don’t think he’s good enough to take on Nadal playing at a high level on clay. Grigor seemed very nervous throughout the match.

As for the final today, it promises to be another great match between the world’s top 2 players. Big servers usually trouble Novak but he usually finds a way to beat them. Novak’s in good form and Rafa is playing like Rafa Nadal again. Expect a hard fought match.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

The only one handed backhand that can stay toe to toe with rafa forehand topspin is wawrinka.. Too bad he cannot sustain his good form week in week out

I don’t agree, neither Wawrinka’s record against Rafa stands for this claim. Except in AO 14, there was not a single time where Wawa could stand toe to toe with Nadal. For me AO is just an exception than a rule for his future matches against Nadal.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Today’s match is going go be between two players not playing at their best throughout the tournament. I would go with Rafa, maybe he is more confident now after beating Murray. It was a good practice for him to play against Novak.


Klaas Says:

Th edge goes to Rafa: he is homing in on his best, while Djoker is still struggling.
Still, if Rafa shows a loss of confidence as in his earlier matches lasting a set, Djoker will grab it on hold on.


Yaya Says:

Even in worst situation, Rafa had not lost a third set in Rome, so he is my pick today.


rafaeli Says:

Hippy Chic Says:
With the way Rafas played this week,i would say Novak in 3,the opponents hes faced this week were unable to sustain that level of play for 3 sets after he started slowly,so he had the luxury of been able to raise his game when not playing his best,he wont get that against Novak he will have to be dialled in from the word go….

May 18th, 2014 at 1:46 am

You cannot be serious, you cannot be serious man. Nole barely got passed Ferrer and Raonic also went to 2 sets with Khols.


rafaeli Says:

^^^THREE (3) SETS with Khols.


gonzalowski Says:

Rafa starts using paralel forehand, good sign.


Gordon Says:

When the Bryan Brothers win Monte Carlo it was their 98th title as a team. Interviewed afterwards, Bob Bryan said 100 team titles was one of their goals and they were hoping to do it BEFORE THE FRENCH OPEN!

Now I’ve seen examples of arrogance, but considering they played 2 tournaments between MC and Roland Garros, methinks the freak twins were counting eggs prior to the hatching.

If your not a doubles follower The reunited Nestor / Zimonjic tandem, who are one of the few teams with a winning record against the Bryan’s, beat them in the finals of Madrid and have just also won Rome, after beating the Bryan’s in the semis.

Nestor is on track to be the first tennis player to log 1,000 wins in doubles. He is now at 938 wins, 48 ahead of Mike Bryan. The 41 year old Canadian still has it.


Daniel Says:

Nadal is playing good. Waymore depthand agressive than previous matcnes on clay. And his serve is clicking more so far.

Djokovic of late is taking longer to get into match. Today he is a bit off.


youyong Says:

Nole is just having a slow start. I won’t write him off yet. He just had a break back and held his serve easily. Hope Rafa can hold on to his serve the rest of the first set.


Daniel Says:

Djokovic have all the chance to level the macth. Losing this game where Nadal was 0-40 and won 5 straight points can cost him the matcn


Hippy Chic Says:

Rafaeli the point is you dont expect Rafa to struggle against these(no disrespect)lesser players,and Novak is a very different animal to those lesser players….


van orten Says:

well he is not coming back like that. careless mistakes. oh god. 4 unforced errors in a row . tough luck


Daniel Says:

Djoko holds 5-4 Nadal. Last two times Nadal served Djoko went 0-40 broking 1 time. Let’s see if he can start another good etunr game or if Nadal will be more agressive. Last game ge saved 2 BP’s the other 3 points Djoko hit long.


princessice Says:

Rafa takes the 1st set!


van orten Says:

djoker gifts the set


Daniel Says:

That game to me was decider, Djoko didn’t took his chances to at leats level match and place some doubts in Nadal. He is feeling confient now even hititng his signature shit FH DTL on the run outside the court. Djoko has to cut some errors and win more second serves on Nadal serve. Nadal won I think 75% of second serves. You can’t beat him not winning second serves returns points. Let’s see if he can push a third


Daniel Says:

TV just showed an inferesting graph thta compared to Miami 2014 Djoko is retunting second serves to short


youyong Says:

I think there is a momentum shift the beginning of this set. Nole with the break. Never write him off. I hope Rafa doesn’t let this affect him.


Daniel Says:

Wow, amazing passing shot from Djoko on the run to break. Only he can get to these ballas agter Nadal hit a greta FH DTL.


Daniel Says:

Djoko’s found his range on BH DTL, hitting at will now in this set.


youyong Says:

Looks like this will go to a 3rd set. Nole will run away with the 2nd set.


Daniel Says:

Even drop shot working for Djoko now. He is the zone where everything clicks his way. Nadal needs to hold his serve and stop the bleeding beacuse Novak won two service games for love and is 12-2 in pts this set.


youyong Says:

Happy Chic, I think what both of us feared is happening. Once Nole gets into his groove, Rafa cannot beat him. Unless Nole’s game suddenly collapses, I don’t see Rafa winning.


van orten Says:

nadals moonballing is disgustin g


van orten Says:

again nadal doin nothing but gettin his chances because of sloppy djoker play unbelievable


Daniel Says:

Damm Djoko was in total control of the set, 40-0 than Nadal hits an excelent return and now a string of errors by Djoko to gift the break back. Nadal was just putting the ball back in play the last 3 points. Hope he can regroup.


van orten Says:

hahahha djoker why ???? he has nadal on the ropes and has gamepoint .. nadal forcing himself back into the match??? what match the commentators are watching???? djoker losing badly balance all of the sudden ,


youyong Says:

Just a minor set back. Nole will come back with a vengeance.


youyong Says:

Win or lose. Both of them are not at the top of their game. Both giving away easy points.


van orten Says:

first unforced error by nadal in ages


youyong Says:

Don’t worry van orten. Nole is going to win.


van orten Says:

uhhh double fault by nadal . break djoker , totallyy unexpected


youyong Says:

Nole is totally dominating now. When Rafa won the first set, he didn’t win decisively because it was mostly on Nole’s poor play. Once Nole gets warmed up, with the form Rafa is currently in, he cannot beat him.


Daniel Says:

Djoko regroup pretty quick. Seems it will go for a third.
Best for Djoko is to broke for the set and start serving the third. For Nadal hold and pressure one more time for a come back which he is totally cabable of.


youyong Says:

With the form Rafa is in, he can only come back against “lesser” players. Nole is in a class of his own and won’t let Rafa back in, unless he gets totally distracted by something and loses concentration. Rafa needs a miracle now.


Hippy Chic Says:

Youyong its funny that when Rafa beats Novak,be it in a game,set or a match,people on this forum say its because Rafa was lucky or Novak was unlucky or not at his best,but definetly not because Rafa was the better player ,when its the other way round its because Novak played outstanding,such is life i suppose….


van orten Says:

again djoker is bringin nadal back., nadal would never do this ever


van orten Says:

pretty open 3 set on the way i suppose


youyong Says:

I know what you mean Hippy Chic. Haters never like to give Rafa ANY credit… though admittedly his form of late is poor.

We are going to the 3rd. And based on momentum, I give Novak a huge edge. Overall, he is the better player today and if he does win, he will be my strong favourite to win RG.


Hippy Chic Says:

That was an exceptional second set from Novak breathtaking tennis….


youyong Says:

Rafa needs to lift his game several gears to give himself a chance to win this. Already facing double BP in the first game of the 3rd. Nole is too good.


Hippy Chic Says:

Youyong yeah thanks i have never had a problem when another player beats my favorite,i just get annoyed that he doesnt get the credit he deserves….


van orten Says:

borisssssss


Hippy Chic Says:

Yeah ive given up all hope of him winning this match now,well done Novak and fans,well deserved….


Daniel Says:

Djoko in control now. Nadal will have to be more agressive. Lng time I don’t see a great inside out FH from him.


youyong Says:

Assuming both of them make the RG finals, I believe we will see something not done before. Rafa beaten in the finals at the French Open. With the exception of the few months last year when Rafa was doing well, Nole has owned him for the better part of the last 3 years and will likely continue to do so barring injury.


van orten Says:

rafa getting the credit he deserves.,..he is the most feared player ever !!! he never gives up and is beaten when u shake hands at the net . huge respect for that. liking rafa is tottally different thing . but respecting him is easy


Daniel Says:

Just because I asked for it, Nadal hit a conving inside out FH, althpug not a winner.


Hippy Chic Says:

Not what i said Van Orton?its when people repeatedly call him lucky,lucky in this match,lucky in that match,is not actually giving him credit is it?and anyway its not like he has the monopoly on luck,as they all have an element of that at times,no complaints about this match better player is winning/will most likely win?


youyong Says:

I’d be happy if Rafa gets to hold serve once in this last set :) Nole is by far the better player today.


van orten Says:

hippy we all know u do not become one of the best ever just by luck


youyong Says:

Yay! Rafa holds! :)


mat4 Says:

Great match so far.


van orten Says:

well well djoker . had the double break on his racquet with the second seerve return, credit to rafa for hangin in that game


Daniel Says:

Great hold for Nadal. Djoko had 2 BP’s missed a return by inch and Nadal stay in the match.


Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 hi Novaks much the better player,no complaints….


Hippy Chic Says:

Van Orton exactly….


van orten Says:

djoker should not put his foot off the gas pedal


mat4 Says:

It is a fight to the death. I have an irresistible temptation to laugh when the commentator says that Rafa has to up his level of aggression a bit: I don’t think he can hit the ball harder.


courbon Says:

Hold your horses! Match is not finishined-anything can happen.
This is too tense for me….


van orten Says:

this is hard to watch. nole nole nole


youyong Says:

Slight momentum change now. Now to see if Rafa can ride it or will Nole bounce back immediately.


mat4 Says:

It’s over, in my opinion. Rafa has broken back.


Okiegal Says:

My guy breaks back…….Vamos, Mr. Nadal!


Daniel Says:

Damm, where Nadal hit tis ball, Djoko foot DTL.
Djoko had BP’s to go 3-0 serve and now Nadla is serving on 3-3


van orten Says:

the same procedure as always. typical nadal we see today , just not goin away, he had the chance nole being 2 breaks up misses by an inch nadal practically was beaten and now it is 3:3 in the third ,,, tragic,.


youyong Says:

Ok Nole fans can relax. He is going to bounce back ;)


Daniel Says:

0-40. This could be it. If Nadal hold this game he will win it.


Okiegal Says:

Apprehensive on serve….break back from the Serb, it looks like!! Yuck!


van orten Says:

and now again 3 break ppoints nole ??? what a weird match


courbon Says:

and Nadal breaks….


youyong Says:

Nole is LUCKY. lol… kidding.

He is the better player today and should win.


Daniel Says:

Djoko breaks again. He has to hold now convincinly. Both exchanged breaks and is time for someone to hold. Who ever holds first will take it.


Daniel Says:

Same thing happen in second set: Djoko had the lead and Nadal leveled only to Djoko break again.


courbon Says:

and Novak breaks????


youyong Says:

There was a slight glimmer of hope but I think Rafa missed his chance. Don’t think Nole is going to let him come back.


Daniel Says:

3 winners in a row by Djoko


Daniel Says:

…and an ace. Most perfect game. 1 game away from the title. Total pressure on Nadal to hold.


mat4 Says:

I don’t care if Novak loses today: he just played magnificient, magic tennis, I don’t think he can do better. If Rafa wins, kudos to him.


Hippy Chic Says:

Hope Rafa holds seve here,just to ask Novak the question of serving the match out….


youyong Says:

Looks like it’s going to be 6-3. :(


Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 Novak aint losing this match,hes two points from winning it….


van orten Says:

he should have won the first set already . he is just the better player but nadal was a lot of times mentally stronger.


youyong Says:

Nole played incredible today. He deserves to win.


Okiegal Says:

Novak is in the driver’s seat now!


Kimmi Says:

Welldone Nole!!!!!!


ertorque Says:

Novak, best player period


van orten Says:

please no roger federer in noles half at rg . he could spoil the party vs nole . so i want him in rafas half. we all know what is going to happen there but nole would be in the final and he can actually beat rafa there . he was so close last year and he has the momentum , he has not the momentum vs federer


courbon Says:

YEESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Commiseration’s to Nadal fans ( specialy absent friend Brando and all girls-Hippy, Okiegal, metan ). Obviously this win gives some hopes for RG;Still best of 3 is differnet beast to best of 5, but still…4 defeats in a row will work mentally in Novaks favour.Anyway, it’s time to open that whisky in the cupboard.


youyong Says:

Novak has been the best player for most of the last 3-4 years. Rafa has done well to keep it competitive but he is clearly on a decline now just like how we can no longer expect Roger to keep winning.


Daniel Says:

Their history in clay finals:

RG: 1-0 Nadal
Rome: 2-2 tied
Madrid: 1-1 tied
Monte Carlo: 2-1 Nadal

Since2011 Djoko was able to win 4 clays finals where Nadal won 3 with the most important one in RG2012.
Djoko really is the one against Nadal on clay. Only place left for him to veat him is RG. Hoping this year he achieve it as he deserves it to be the only player who can go with Nadal. Similar to Nadal versus Federer on Wimbledon


youyong Says:

It’s funny how Nole’s fans seem to have little confidence in his abilities.


Okiegal Says:

Kudos to Novak and Dana. He was the better today. I was wondering how is wrist would hold up. That question has been laid to rest, now on to the French Kiss!!

Vamos Rafa!!


Daniel Says:

Credit to Nadal to hang in there and level in both sets.
Still the man to beat in RG. Djoko if want to be RG champipn will have to take the trophy from him when it matters the most. Unless someone takes Nadal out early. Maybe Murray can work that QF magic for long or Wawa in the semis. Curiosu to see the draw. O to RG and history to be made once again


courbon Says:

@ youyong: Well I follow Novak since 2008 so there was lots of ups and downs since then.I know is different since 2011 but even then, 2013 was a let down.Fed and Nadal fans have been spoiled with all trophies, we Novak fans have to keep things more humble ( it is 6 GS versus 13 or 17 ).


Hippy Chic Says:

Youyong agree i actually for some reason dont even feel that dissapointed,i have this feeling of resignation this year,hes 28 in a couple of weeks so its inevitable,Novak will probably go in as a slight favorite,and probably wont get a better chance as he will also turn 28 next year,he needs to make hay while the sunshines….


Rick Says:

I donot know how the joker could beat Rafa! He can’t even beat Fed on clay. And who he was beaten by in Madrid? Clay is not his best. And hasn’t won a Slam. Rafa get beaten is simply by mental.


Okiegal Says:

@Courbon

Hey, thanks…..appreciate that so much. Congratulations to you, I know you are a happy camper. When these 2 hit the court, we are usually in for a treat. Wow, Nole is speaking the Italian fluently. I guess Rafa is too?? Or Spanish?? I just speak Americanese!! Lol


Margot Says:

Terrific match and Supernole triumphs! Well done! Congrats to all his fans.
Commies to Rafa fans.


Hippy Chic Says:

The only thing i was dissapointed with was Rafa not holding serve,wouldve been great to see him force Nole to serve it out….


Gordon Says:

It certainly was an ebb and flow match. Nole won the first 3 points in 3 different games and proceeded to lose them. Both guys made some brilliant shots and overall this was a fun match to watch.

So the three clay Masters 1000 results -

Monte Carlo: Wawrinka over Federer
Madrid: Nadal over Nishikori
Rome: Djokovic over Nadal

The draw is going to be very interesting at Roland Garros, no?

I wrote this before and I stick to it – until Nadal loses at Roland Garros he still has to be considered the favourite to win the Grand Slam again.


Giles Says:

Rafa spent too many hours on court and it was bound to catch up with him. Onto the big prize RG!
Vamos Champ!
#1


youyong Says:

@courbon, unless one of the upcoming players come in to “spoil the show”, I think we should be seeing Nole dominating the rest of the year and perhaps for the next year too. No doubt he will continue to add GS titles to his resume. As for Rafa, I believe we are starting to see him decline as we have seen Roger. He will continue to do well and will add more titles of course, but to be realistic he will no longer dominate like he used to given the physicality of his style of play.


gonzalowski Says:

Congrats to Nole fans!
He was the best again. Not bad tourney for Rafa, nevertheless, IMO, I think he recovered his playing.
But a loss against Nole is not good anyway.


Lesego Says:

It’s getting to a point where it doesnt matter what Rafa does, Nole will always have an answer. Kudos to Rafa for always keeping it close.


Okiegal Says:

@Rick

Rafa addressed his mental strength during matches in an interview this week. He admits that keeping mentally tough is a problem for him. I think the age he is now has a lot to do with that. Confidence level not nearly what it once was. I think Rafa plays better when he isn’t ranked #1……just my 2¢ worth.


Hippy Chic Says:

Congrats to all Novak fans especially Courbon,Mat4,Contador and of course abscent friends Jane,Wogboy,Duro,Bada Bing etc,better player won simple as that no complaints,lets see now if he can win the biggie RG?….


youyong Says:

@Hippy Chic, I was disappointed too that he couldn’t hold to let Nole serve it out, but Nole was just too good.

Positives from this tourney is that Nadal was able to hang in there despite being down so many times. He has shown vulnerability on his favourite surface and I hope he can find some magic again at RG. My gut feel is this is Nole’s year to win the FO and this is a title he deserves to get.


youyong Says:

@Okiegal, I feel that way too. Somehow Nadal plays better when the media puts him as the underdog.


Rick Says:

If Nole runs into other clay specialists, they might upset him at the French. An old Fed will do it. But if he plays Rafa he’ll wins. I don’t know how Rafa could allows him into his head again. Even Warinka beat him in at his best Slam. He is not fearful!


calmdownplease Says:

`@courbon unless one of the upcoming players come in to “spoil the show”, I think we should be seeing Nole dominating the rest of the year and perhaps for the next year too…`

No, just because Rafa can’t seem to get a handle on Novak doesn’t mean noone else can.
I’m thinking of a certain resurgent Scotsman in particular, although an old swiss player could still have a moment or 2 yet.
Among others.


Kimberly Says:

Congrats to djoker fans. Very well played match. For rafa and fans, we’ll get him next time, and if not then the time after that. Nadal reversed the seven in a row before, I believe he can do it again. Nice match today.


Hippy Chic Says:

Youyong i dont know about him dominating the whole year,i think thats a bold statement,especially as Murray seems to be getting back to his best,and is a better GC player IMO than Novak,he is also vulnerable on HCs against player like Wawarinka?smaller tournies possibly but not the GS i would be surprised anyway if he did?however we will see?


courbon Says:

@ calmdownplease: Agree with you.I think there is still Novak, Andy and Rafa show closely followed buy Wawrinka and Fed and then all young ones coming very close, each month little by little…
Off course, I would like youyong too be right! (-:


Hippy Chic Says:

CDP @1.05PM it was Youyong that said that not Courbon,who actually always plays it down for Novak,but i agree with everything your saying in your post though….


youyong Says:

Yes I guess we will see. Admittedly, I am a little over optimistic about Novak but it’s hard to argue that Rafa is not likely to do well the next few months at least. His confidence level is clearly shaken. Hope he can find his way back to top form. :)


Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon lol seems like we were posting together….


mat4 Says:

There is something exceptional about Rafa: although he has lost the last two sets with 23 points of difference (in other word, it could be qualified as an utter beatdown), I felt that he had his chances until the very last point. His competitive focus is second to none in the history of tennis.

I am also utterly shocked by the was Novak played since the middle of the first set, especially at the beginning of the second: it is probably his best match on clay ever. He made 46 winners! Unbelievable. I don’t know if he can play that good ever again, but I do hope so.


mat4 Says:

And to comment some other posts: I would be very happy if Nole wins the FO this year. It would be the crown of his career. He can’t win everything, especially not with such a level of opposition.


Hippy Chic Says:

Nice touch playing Tina Turners Simply The Best,Novak won today,but Rafa is Simply The Best ever on clay no question?


Lesego Says:

Interesting stat brought up by the commentators:

Going into this match, Rafa was 5 in 22 against Novak, when he wins less than 50% of points on his second serve. That is something he needs to work on going forward. Adding a bit of variety on his first serve won’t hurt as well. Serving consistently to the backhand will be a weapon against Wawrinka, Fed, Dimitrov but seeing as it didnt work that well against Nishikori, I am sure it wont work as against Novak.


Klaas Says:

I was wrong about Djoker: felt he was still struggling, but do not think he can play much better than second and third set. This reault is huge for coming RG. Rafa cannot be very confident only winning one clay title, and let us be honest, he got very lucky winning that one. As usual a lot will depend on conditions.

Rafas problem is that his mindset is basically defensive, like most extremely good clay courters. Put the ball in play enough times to earn an error or an easy midcourt ball. That does not work with Djokovic, who is able to take the game away from him. In the third set Rafa tried to be more agressive, that resulted in a rebreak, but also more mistakes.

Just hope one thing for RG: that Nishikori will be fit for fight.


Kimberly Says:

I personally still like nadal chances at Roland garros. Maybe I’m a rosy eyed optimist.


Hippy Chic Says:

Kimberly well best of 5 is a very different animal….


Okiegal Says:

@Chic

You are so right……no one can ever take the King of Clay title away from him. I will gladly trade out this title for a slam any day. But, I think we will see an iffy Rafa from here on out. Novak has said tennis will come second when the baby arrives…….we will see.


courbon Says:

@ Hippy: Stop coping my posts! (-:
just joking, by the way did York City win other night?


Patty Says:

Perhaps the end is near. Nadal cannot I repeat cannot get any faster or stronger at his age.
His confidence now must be at an all time low going into RG and he will become fair game for the others.

Sad really, but not surprising.


Daniel Says:

Djoko is domintai g the tour since US Open last year. The only importanto tourney he lost was AO in the fifth to a iluminated Wawa. MC (whihc is not madatory) he lost injured in the semis to none other than Fed and did nor play Madrid. He won Shangai, Paris, WTF, IW, MIami and now Rome. The orblem is, he lost AO, which was the most importanto of all during this period. But if he won 3 out of the 4 Masters he played this years and the ones he likes the most (fast Hard courts) are yet to come he can win 2 or 3 of the next 4 hands down. He has won 5 of the last 6 masters he played plus WTF. Getting back to number is a matter of time.
But indeed the dinaymics of big 4 is intersting. Fed and Murray gives more trouble to Novak than Nadal. Nadal can handle Fed but seems Murray is catching up and will give more trouble to nadal on hards.
The ting is, if Noval treaches RG final he return to #1 regardless of Nadal. If Nadal faltes better for him. But who will do it other than him?!


calmdownplease Says:

`CDP @1.05PM it was Youyong that said that not Courbon,who actually always plays it down for Novak,but i agree with everything your saying in your post though….`

Oh Sure, I know.
It was just my copy & pasting skills.
Agree with you on Novak versus Andy on grass.
As do the stats, may I add.


contador Says:

As usually the case, @Daniel. I agree with you. Missed the match but will catch it later on Youtube!

Well, it very well could be that team Nadal has a trick or two up their sleeve for winning yet another French Open; ho hum, would not surprise me. Nadal is still the favorite to win RG and will be until someone else wins it straight up against him in the final…

…that said, Congratulations to Novak Djokovic for winning Rome!

Condolences to the Vamos Brigade.


Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon nah unfortunatly it was a 0/0 draw they had to win the match 2/0 to get to the play off final against Burton Albion,not to be unfortunatly,they finished with 12 points less than Fleetwood Town such is the permatations of the play offs so i suppose justice was done,for the team thats described as the Manchester City of the 3rd division :-))….


calmdownplease Says:

`Sad really, but not surprising…`

Don’t be sad, Rafa is the star that has shone brightest and played the hardest too.
It was bound to happen a little sooner than say a Fed style player.
It might be a quick deterioration, but it is unwise to write him off at this stage.
Its funny I remember when Novak lost AO, it was all
Oh he has only won AO for x years and now he can’t even win that, he’s a turkey!
Having said that these last few weeks have been a shocker compared to his usual incredible level.
We’ll surely have a better idea in just a few short weeks.


Hippy Chic Says:

CDP i would love to see Andy defend Wimbledon….


contador Says:

As for Nishikori, I hope it is not sciatic nerve pain – that can take a long time to resolve. A fit to fight Nishikori is dangerous to everyone :D : D !!


Giles Says:

Miraculous recovery of “wrist injury”!! The joker is Superman, no question about it!!
#Fakerovic


andrea Says:

are you kidding me? someone get a real ump in the chair! how can nadal wait to see if his ball is out and then challenge…blatantly flaunting the rules.


courbon Says:

Giles, Novak learn from certain Spanish player to fake injuries…he is still amateur,_he fake it for only 3 weeks, other guy done it for 7 months!
Any comment, chap?


calmdownplease Says:

@Hippy Chic

Moi aussi mon chéri :)


Hippy Chic Says:

IMO Novak doesnt fake injuries and niether does Rafa,both are way too competitive to do that,my two cents….


Hippy Chic Says:

CDP LOL my french aint that good,but doesnt that mean my darling?


Giles Says:

Hahaha Courbon. Nah, joker is the master in fakery. He knows it, ask him!!


courbon Says:

@ Hippy: Off course they don’t!But certain people love conspiracy theories…I blame internet for that.Too many fantasist…some wise man said once: When you stop believing in something, then you start believing in anything…


Giles Says:

I wonder what injury joker will drum up next year for Madrid! Maybe he will have an earache and withdraw. Waiting for it!
#Fakerovic


calmdownplease Says:

One other thing I have to say and that is about Novak’s ROS.
It has moved beyond anyone else’s playing Today.
Only Andy can come close.
It was simply sublime & really did a number on Rafa’s general sense of `colm`in this match.


courbon Says:

@ Giles: I just think your heatred for Novak is clouding your judgment… no Vamos today???Camone, Rafa will still win RG, cheer up.


courbon Says:

What is ROS?


calmdownplease Says:

Return
Of
Serve


Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon return of serve,have to ask what does Moi aussi mon cheri mean,its what CDP said to me?


Kimberly Says:

Look , the nets beat the heat in every regular season game. Then got their buys kicked in the playoffs. Just sayin…..If I had to bet money today I still go with rafa. Maybe when/if he loses it will be different. It certainly would be the year to happen. But I refuse to believe yet.


courbon Says:

@ Hippy; I think CDP is hitting on you…it means: Me too, my love .

@ calmdownplease: Ah, yes.It was spectacular today.


Hippy Chic Says:

Kimberly exactly,only relavant if/when it happens,Rome is done,RG next so all bets are off?


calmdownplease Says:

Courbon, It was just a term of endearment with my agreement.
No need for any restraining orders!


Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon/CDP your both making me blush with your compliments ;-))….


courbon Says:

@CDP: If you say so…by the way, I like your moniker.Often on this blog, those words come to my mind


Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon that sums me up sometimes on this forum,usually after a Rafa defeat i turn into a raving lunatic,but now im willing to take whatever comes,the only thing i do get p*ssed off with is people belittling his achievements….


skeezer Says:

Giles,
Your imaginary accusations are hilarious!
#alwaysjealous
#whostourdaddy?


calmdownplease Says:

@courbon
`Often on this blog, those words come to my mind`

Me too, hence the moniker evolved from reading some of the posts here.
Esp the crazed, frothing @ the mouth LOON Hippy Chic!
only joshing!)


Hippy Chic Says:

CDP lol im growing,far more important things in the world to get upset about other than sport,especially after reading the post from Vox on the other thread really sad,i work with a girl whom has family in the Phillipines thankfully not it that effected area but still equally sad though never the less :((….


Giles Says:

skeezer. The last time I checked Rafa is still tour daddy #1. If he loses it so be it but until then he is still tour daddy. How’s fed doing? Practising or playing with babies? Lol


calmdownplease Says:

`i work with a girl whom has family in the Phillipines thankfully not it that effected area but still equally sad though never the less..`

Yeah tis true,
Or Malaysia, Syria, food banks, Egypt Nigeria & so on.
Many more to take your pick from.
We shouldn’t feel too down when a favourite loses.
It can contort one’s soul & end up making one bitter.
As you say, there are bigger things to be upset about.
#Perspective.


Hippy Chic Says:

Thanks CDP i have been known for losing my cool on occasion you would notice,and said things i wish i hadnt and wish i could take back,but when its done unfortunatly its too late then,ive had bad luck in my personal life thankfully nothing to that extent,and i was bitter about it but blaming others gets you nowhere,just like i cant feel too bitter about Novak when his only crime was beating my favorite player….


Hippy Chic Says:

We actually have food banks here in the UK,we actually give it to our neighbour as hes flat broke and cannot find a job….


calmdownplease Says:

well that’s a nice to do indeed HC.
There’s no real use feeling sorry for Andy rafa Novak etc when they lose a match when many don’t know where the next meal is coming from.
Besides they’re all f***ing multi-millionaires!


Hippy Chic Says:

CDP thanks ;-))….


skeezer Says:

“How’s fed doing? Practising or playing with babies? Lol”
Probably. Along with polishing his 17 GS Trophies.
#itsallgravybaby


Okiegal Says:

Novak will be bouncing a baby soon too! All of his loyal fans will be crushed when his tennis takes second place to fatherhood. This was an interesting statement that Novak made about becoming a father. I wonder if he was serious…..we will see!


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Kimberly well best of 5 is a very different animal….

HC, maybe the statement is valid against lesser players like Nishikori, Almagro or Ferrer. I doubt we can include Novak in that, that too after his close to winning semis against Nadal during FO 2013.

I may not have the confidence like you have when Nadal faces Novak in a 5-setter. That does not mean Novak is going to beat Nadal for sure.

I just hope we get a Nadal – Novak FO final. It’s no guarantee and so many good players around to spoil, especially with Novak.

Top story: Djokovic, Murray Advance At US Open, Azarenka Survives; Federer, Monfils v Dimitrov Tuesday
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Rankings
ATP - Aug 25 WTA - Aug 25
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Simona Halep
3 Roger Federer3 Na Li
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 David Ferrer5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 Milos Raonic6 Maria Sharapova
7 Tomas Berdych7 Angelique Kerber
8 Grigor Dimitrov8 Eugenie Bouchard
9 Andy Murray9 Ana Ivanovic
10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga10 Jelena Jankovic
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