7 of Top 8 in Men’s Quarters; Murray, Serena Duck Out at Rome
by Staff | May 14th, 2015, 10:27 pm
  • 170 Comments

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was stretched to three sets for the second time this week at the Italian Open on Thursday, rallying to defeat Thomaz Bellucci 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 in the third round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.


It was the 19th consecutive match win for the Serb, who will next meet Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals after Japan’s No. 1 player defeated Djokovic’s Serb countryman and friend Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-3.

Djokovic also needed three sets to beat Nicolas Almagro in the second round.

Had Murray not withdrawn on Thursday from the tournament to rest-up for the French Open, allowing David Goffin to advance into the quarterfinals, and defeated Goffin, then all eight top seeds would have advanced into the quarters.

Other winners Thursday were No. 2 Roger Federer defeating No. 15 Kevin Anderson 6-3, 7-5; No. 4 Rafael Nadal overcoming the big serve of No. 16 John Isner 6-4, 6-4; No. 6 Tomas Berdych barely stopping the run of homecountry favorite Fabio Fognini 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(2); No. 7 David Ferrer strumming Spanish countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1, 6-3; and No. 8 Stan Wawrinka topping Austrian comer Dominic Thiem 7-6(3), 6-4.

Federer against Anderson blew a 5-2 lead in the second before closing it out 7-5.

“It was so different, because it’s Kevin and his amazing serve,” the Swiss said. “There’s only so much you can do on the return games. The first thing was not to get frustrated, because I was not seeing where he was serving…I was able to break him four times, which was a really good effort in the quick conditions here in Rome.”

Federer is 13-6 against his quarterfinal opponent Berdych.

Nadal appeared as if he was approaching back to form in his straight-set win over Isner, and will next meet Wawrinka.

“When I was winning a lot in the past during claycourt season, I never thought that was the normal state,” Nadal said. “I always thought that was really special. Today, I accept all the challenges that the tour presents me, having some good weeks and some bad weeks, but always with the motivation to find the right way again.”

Nadal is 12-1 career versus Wawrinka, with the Swiss taking their most recent meeting at the 2014 Australian Open.

World No. 1 Serena Williams’ walk off was the big story on the women’s side on Thursday, with the American citing elbow pain and the desire to be 100 percent for Roland Garros.

“It actually started a little bit in Madrid last week,” Williams said. “I wasn’t serving my best. I have to be able to serve and hit my shots with a lot of confidence, and when you’re injured, you don’t have that much confidence. It’s so important to have it when you go up against any player out there, whether it’s in my match today or in the final of a Grand Slam. You just really need it.”

The result was a walkover for fellow American and qualifier Christina McHale, who advances into the quarterfinals against another qualifier, Russian Daria Gavrilova, who upset one of the hottest players of the claycourt season, Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 6-4, 7-6.

Top 10-seeded winners Thursday were No. 2 Simona Halep rolling No. 14 Venus Williams 6-2, 6-1; No. 3 Maria Sharapova handling Serb qualifier Bojana Jovanovski 6-3, 6-3; No. 4 Petra Kvitova continuing her clay run with an easy 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 16 Jelena Jankovic; and No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro upsetting No. 6 Eugenie Bouchard in a grinder 6-7(2), 7-5, 7-6(7).

Romanian qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru was also an upset winner over No. 8 Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 6-3, and in the late match unseeded former No. 1 held off Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.

Friday Schedule:

CENTRALE start 12:00

[Q] A. Dulgheru (ROU) vs [2] S. Halep (ROU)

Not Before 2:00 pm

[6] T. Berdych (CZE) vs [2] R. Federer (SUI)

Not Before 4:00 pm

[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [5] K. Nishikori (JPN)

Not Before 7:30 pm

[3] M. Sharapova (RUS) vs I. Begu (ROU) or V. Azarenka (BLR)

Not Before 9:00 pm

[8] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs [4] R. Nadal (ESP)

GRANDSTAND start 12:00

D. Goffin (BEL) vs [7] D. Ferrer (ESP)

Not Before 2:00 pm

[10] C. Suarez Navarro (ESP) vs [4] P. Kvitova (CZE)
[Q] C. Mchale (USA) vs [Q] D. Gavrilova (RUS)

 


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170 Comments for 7 of Top 8 in Men’s Quarters; Murray, Serena Duck Out at Rome

nitesh Says:

I think today’s winners will be neishikori berdych nadal & Ferrer


nitesh Says:

djokovic is a bit tired mentally or looking over towards Rolland garros prematurely I don’t know


nitesh Says:

Berdych is having season of his life so he might today get Federer
Nadal & Wawranika both are playing up down so I think nadal’s desire might get him through
Ferer will sail through easily


M Says:

I still don’t understand how Gulbis is still ranked #22 when he plays about 10 minutes per match.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Some great matches today.

Berdych is going to be very tough for Roger. Of late, Roger has found it difficult to return serves consistently. Unless Berdych has a very bad serving day, it should be done in 2 sets.

If Nishikori can find a good serve (he will not, with his physique) he could be the No 1 for next 2-3 years. It’s not going to work out for him, just defending his own service games.

It should be a pretty routine win for Nadal if he maintains his own form. But we don’t know about Nadal still, if he could maintain the consistency.


van orten Says:

the last time they met fed demolished berdych in Indian wells …just saying


Gordon Says:

Nadal’s form is all over the place.

And Federer has this match on his racquet; if he is playing at the top of his game Berdych will go quietly into that dark night.

Of course Berdych and Wawrinka will try to prevent a Fedal semi-final, but if we get one in two days we will have to cherish it, for how many more will we get before the two legends no longer run into each other?

Fed has and will need the advantage of playing first, in my opinion. Nadal’s match will not start Friday before 9:00pm, meaning a shorter turnaround that what Fed will have should he wins.

Cross fingers for a Fedal semi clash, but if Wawa or the Bird prevent it so be it.


Matador Says:

Off topic, what a match for the Rockets, outscored the Clippers in the last minites of the fourth quarter. Clippers, as always, are unclutch.


Daniel Says:

I am almost sire Fed and Nadal will be drawn to play Quarters (depending on n Nadal’s ranking) or semis in RG.

The Fedal’s are getting fewer each passing tourney and they still are the most desired match for tennis viewers all over the globe. So, organizers will want to have them whenever they can. They were on the same side in Wimbledon and AO, although they didn’t play. US Open Nadal didn’t play.

I don;t think the draws are rigged but once in a while I do (mat4 can have some input here). But the chances of we seeing them play in Slams are less and since they re not playing finals anymore as in the past, they will be drawn to play Quarters or semis whenever possible.
Have to check other tourneys this year to see how many times they were on the same side.


sienna Says:

i have feeling Federer will be ready for berdych this time around. the losses against him were more about Federer detioratingform then to Berdych good form.

But Berdych does fancy to stick it to the top dogs. fed berdych on clay should go with more variaty for Federer. or not if shanking backhand is on…..


sienna Says:

Well hè did him the last couple of time….

another proof slams are the tourney that kick in the most.


sienna Says:

beat him!!! off course. I dont care what they did besides tennis.
probably nothing without a normal verb after did or doing.


KatH Says:

@ Gordon

Berdych v Federer – a different opinion:

If Berdych does go quietly into that dark night it will have more to do with exhaustion following his match with Fabio than with Federer playing at the top of his game.


gonzalowski Says:

What’s the point of scheduling Berdych-Fed at 2pm and Wawrinka-Nadal at 9pm?


TennisVagabond.com Says:

“When I was winning a lot in the past during claycourt season, I never thought that was the normal state,” Nadal said. “I always thought that was really special. Today, I accept all the challenges that the tour presents me, having some good weeks and some bad weeks, but always with the motivation to find the right way again.”

I love that quote from Rafa. Fed said something very similar in ’08 or ’09 when he started actually losing more than one-hand’s-digits worth of matches a year. This is something great in the attitude of Rafa, Fed and Novak. They all believe in themselves, they all believe they can be #1, but they ALSO consider their level of success, or dominance, to be beyond their expectations (“not normal”) and they never take it for granted.

Historically, such dominance is NOT normal. Even Wilander’s 3 Slam season was not as dominant as Novak’s 2011, or Fed’s 05-08 run. And Rafa’s clay dominance arguably outshines any single season record. Now we’ve had three players exhibiting such feats in a row/ overlapping. I wonder if we will ever get back to the 80′s/90′s parity. Sampras, Agassi, Becker, Edberg, never had this kind of dominance, you have to go back to Lendl/McEnroe early-mid 80′s.


Markus Says:

To make people buy 2 tickets for the day perhaps? US Open has day and night sessions and one needs a dofferent ticket for each. Money. Understandable.


gonzalowski Says:

yeah it will be the money…
but it’s an advantage for Bird or Fed
Fed 63 wins “il primo set”


Markus Says:

Federer having a longer time to rest raises his chance of playing well against Nadal but I don’t think it will matter. He will still lose. That story in this rivalry will not change.

Berdych rested or fatigued will still lose to Nadal. The Australian Open win was an aberration.

So, playing day or night session will not matter.


sienna Says:

tvguy
I didnt read the whole comment. to long.
but you want to include 04 and feel free to take 08 with it.

I always think Fed is extremely proud of that slamyear comming of the mono. it was superman stuff to reach semi, finale, final, win that year

without the mono who knows what had happened.


Daniel Says:

Wow, Fed, this last few games he played amazing shots. Double 6-3, clean fast match.

Hope he can keep the aggression tomorrow.


skeezer Says:

Fed is having a nice run @ Rome. Congrats on shuttin down birdsh!t. 33 and still kickin it. Congrats.


Muhammad Says:

I’m feeling good about Roger making it to the finals.


Gordon Says:

Some of you trolls really do crack me up in your dislike of Fed.

He again made Berdych (who served well) look ordinary, but just skip over that and call him a loser for his next match. If he wins that continue with the non-acknowledgement, just saying how he will lose the final. If he hoists the trophy ignore that and just say he hasn’t a chance in whatever tournament he plays next.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Did not get a chance to see the match, but looking at the score looked like a pretty straight forward one for Roger. Nice to see him back in the semis, it should give him lot of confidence.

Most likely he would be playing a night match in the semis. The change could impact as it’s much faster conditions during the day which helps his aggressive play.


Daniel Says:

Yes Nirmal, but night denies Nadal spin a bit. Nadal likes sun, look what happen in Madrid (i know there isnother factors as altutude etc…) but when you took him out of the sun and he was not bothering Murray.

Let’s see how he will fare tonight against Wawa, who likes slow conditions (AO, Monte Carlo).


sienna Says:

nishikori is becomming whipping boy the new Ferrer is among us.


Giles Says:

Daniel. You must be the only poster here that goes on and on and on and on about sun. clouds, rain, snow. Give it a rest please and take the elements as they come. Geeeeeez!


Giles Says:

PS. Oh I forgot wind.


Giles Says:

Why did fed get a code violation ystrdy? Anyone know?


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Daniel, I beg to differ. I would not blame the Sun for Rafa’s defeat, rather I would blame Murray.

There are many night matches where Rafa has come through comfortably. I doubt it’s a big factor, though playing a day match could be Nadal’s preference.

Remember AO 2009 Finals, it was a night match.


RZ Says:

That photo of Murray in the Xmas sweater will never get old.


RZ Says:

@Matador – definitely off topic but I’ll play. I didn’t see the game but was tracking the scores. I don’t know whether it was a choke fest by the Clippers or a sudden burst of inspiration for the Rockets, but to be up by 19 at one point and then outscored by 25 in the 4th quarter has got to be so painful for the Clippers (as it is for us fans).


Ben Pronin Says:

Rockets went on a 49-18 run in the last 14 mins & 30 secs. Unbelievable collapse by the Clippers. Very disappointing indeed.


lapinroyal Says:

Nishikori is sub-par on clay this season (watching his match against Murray…), but calling him whipping boy after beating up the #1 to get his final USopen Final is a bit insulting. Kei H2H against Nole is 2-3 (1-1 in GS).
Just to put thing in perspective, not that i’m a big fan of super-retreiver.


Markus Says:

I like Federer and would love to see him beat Nadal on any surface but until he does that I will keep singing the same tune.


RZ Says:

@Ben and Matador – I just couldn’t understand why the score on my phone kept changing for the Rockets but not for the Clippers over a 5 or 6 minutes stretch.


sienna Says:

this is getting sick…
NK is looking back and cherry picks matches to show his understanding of game of tennis in different conditions.

once it was said Fed didnt like windy conditions only to steamrol his next opponent in a hurricane.


Markus Says:

Kei beating Djokovic at the US Open was a fluke, He is a whipping boy and joins Ferrer and Berdych in that club.


lapinroyal Says:

Hon… Look at who just got the break!


jane Says:

number 6 in the world a “whipping boy”?
i think not.


sienna Says:

and what happened in the final?
Nishikori is largely overrated esp. on this site.
He is failing in the big matches bigtime.


Daniel Says:

Kei to serve second set. Not able to watch this match bit looks this will be a well contested title for Djoko if he is to win. Or maybe he will get better on later rounds as Incan see either he blastimg Ferrer or losing a set as well.


sienna Says:

winning 2nd set just to fade away in third….


andrea Says:

i have to get to this tournament one day. the place looks spectacular and Rome is such a great city.


RZ Says:

@Andrea – Agreed (though I haven’t been to Rome yet). I’ve also heard that the restaurants near the stadium are amazing.


lapinroyal Says:

@Jane
Thanks for the support, abeit Ferrer (up to #3) was the big four whipping boy (17-62) H2H against
Nadal 6-23
Federer 0-16
Novak 5-14
Murray 6-9 (the weak link)


Giles Says:

He is such a barbarian!! #joker


Matador Says:

Nishikori is a part of the lost generation. He, Raonic, Dimitrov are good players, very good sometimes but lack the spirit of champions like Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and even Murray.


jane Says:

i love when novak comes forward. when he does he’s often successful. idemo!


RZ Says:

You know who Novak is starting to remind me of? Hulk Hogan. I remember those Hulk Hogan wrestling “matches” where either the Hulk would start out well or it would be even, and then it would look like Hulk was getting the crap beat out of him, only to start shaking his head no and then just dominates his opponent to finish it off. A lot of Djokovic’s recent matches have been the same.


Daniel Says:

Can’t see Ferrer troubling Novak much and this time expect Novak to win in 2 sets. He needs a clean winnto prepRe for the final beacise either way he will play players who won agaisnt him in big matches before: Fed, Wawa or Nadal.

Curious tonsee how Nadal will play with Wawa today and than Fed tomorrow. All tourneys this year he had at least one bad macth per toruney and so far his twi wins were great, although not much can be concluded from his opponents. Wawa mat come to play or fold, but I think the slow conditiona at night favors him. If he serves decent and not miss too much on the FH it can be a well contested match.


jane Says:

interesting stat:

Josh Meiseles ‏@jmeistennis 7m7 minutes ago
Novak Djokovic is the 4th player in Open Era to amass a win streak of 20+ at least four times, joining Federer (7x), Nadal (6x), Lendl (4x).


Daniel Says:

Nirmal,

Is not that Nadal can’t play at night, but most of the macrehs he lost on clay were under night, or dump cloudy conditions.

When was the last time he lost a clay match on a sunny day?! Beacuse all matches Djoko and Fed beat him were cloudy.
This year all matches were night or cloud.
Don’t recall last year MC and Barcelona. But if he did was 1 or 2 matches.

And at RG Soderling match was dump, the year Djoko won 8 straigh games were under light rain and even 2013 there was no much sun. Also, the Wimbedon 2008 and AO 09 were almost nigt matches and close. And AO 12 nigt as well whcih he lost to Djoko.

I am just saying that the chances ti beat Nadal on clay are higher under cool conditions or at night than sun and dry.


Margot Says:

Haven’t seen any matches but well played Fed, from the score looks as if it was quite straightforward and well played Nole, looks as if it was a little less so.
@jalep
Well, eek, out goes one of our picks! Like CSN tho too. She’s having a grat year, I was wondering if she’s got a new coach?


Wog Boy Says:

The more I watch Nishikori, the more I believe he is better player than Nole and Rafa…though Nole beat him today with his B game;)

Did anybody timed Nishikori’s service, I had a feeling that he is going often over the time limit.


sienna Says:

nishikori is nothing more then food for cannonballs.

if whipping boy is to harsh…..


Wog Boy Says:

Rafa might have a problem with the court later on, the court is in the pretty bad shape. Nole’s movement was compromised because of that.


Muhammad Says:

Roger vs Novak in the final.


jane Says:

^ you mean semifinal muhammad?


Wog Boy Says:

Roger/Berdych match was higher quality match…did I just said this?:)


jane Says:

sorry muhammad, i thought you sad roger vs nadal in the final. i need more coffee. :)


jane Says:

wog boy i didn’t time kei but i get the feeling he prepares/moves slowly sometimes too. he reminds me a bit of delpo that way.


Wog Boy Says:

jane, I thought Nole is going to lose this match and the reason has nothing to do with tennis. Whenever I go and watch my footy team and they lose Nole is losing too, and tonight my team was trashed and I got back home in a really bad mood and told my wife, ” The Samurai will beat Nole tonight” but it wasn’t to be:)


Wog Boy Says:

jane, exactly, I was thinking on Delpo too.


Colin Says:

Good grief! I come back from a dental appointment (only a clean & polish!) to see that Petra lost. Did the Spanish lady play a blinder, or did Petra have one of her bad days?


jane Says:

glad that novak broke the trend for you wog boy. :) i’m please with his results in rome. beating kei today means he’s won over every top ten player this year. i wouldn’t even be too disappointed if he were to lose to daveed tomorrow. we’ll see.


jane Says:

^ pleaseD


Wog Boy Says:

I am not worry about Rome, that is not objective. I just wanted Nole to beat Nishikori, to improve H2H, Daveed can play final if you ask me.


Muhammad Says:

Novak is just too consistent for the opposition right now. He’s a complete player, everybody knows that (except stupid haters Giles and Sienna) but even lower ranked players on their good day can trouble him during a match. His last two matches before Kei were just like that. Rafael was on par with Novak in MC half way through in both sets until Novak’s better focus took away both sets from him.
And it’s not about physical conditioning why Novak usually takes deciding sets, people who think that likely never competed in anything.


lapinroyal Says:

@WB
If I was Novak coach, I would tell him to pull a Serena/Murray excuse to rest his what ever he got with his arm for French open. I’m not pulling for Novak normally, but TennisGod should do the right thing to let Novak have his career Grand Slam!


Giles Says:

Muhammmaddd. Shhhhhhhhh!!


Wog Boy Says:

@lapinroyal,
Thanks for the nice words, BTW you noticed too that he has some problems with his arm, I am worried too:(


TennisVagabond.com Says:

RZ- Hulk Hogan! That was great.


Giles Says:

https://mobile.twitter.com/cheeers1/status/599248980493598720
Rafa’s stats in Rome. Don’t think they will be matched.


chris ford1 Says:

It wouldn’t be good for tennis if fans of top players succeeded in getting their faves to avoid Davis Cup, Masters events so they could only risk and exert themselves at “The Holy 4″ events.


Markus Says:

If Novak has a sore arm, it can only get worse if he conitunes to play considering the caliber of his upcoming opponents. It is not very wise (no, make that stulid) to risk further injury so close to the French.


Giles Says:

Who said joker has a sore arm? Load of rubbish.


jane Says:

well as far as i know he’s said nothing about his arm since his first match back versus nico, and even then he said he wasn’t worried about it. but still, i hope it’s nothing!

they said there are rain clouds during this sharapova/azarenka match. that could mean nadal/wawa delayed for a day?


brando Says:

“The more I watch Nishikori, the more I believe he is better player than Nole and Rafa”: spot on wog boy! I was thinking that myself. Had Kei been 6 foot plus and healthy I have zero doubts that he’d be dominating right now. He’d be king of clay and HC for me: his BH is not as good probably as Novaks but it way more offensive. I see him going for DTL winners more often. His FH may not be rafa level but again he’s more offensive and he hits some screaming shots with that wing. The combined quality of his shots on both side is better than rafa or novak combined quality on both wings. Kei’s technique is perfect, and he’s more offensive on both wings. And the brilliant thing is he’s so consistent in how he pulls off those high risk shots. Insane talent no doubt.


brando Says:

I came to this conclusion yesterday after seeing him play a match not involving my fav rafa, and I have to say: FABIO FOGNINI may be the most talented and entertaining player on tour. He’s just so damn good to watch. His catlike movement, Djokovic like BH that can have players moving side to side whilst your rooted to the same spot since you don’t need to move an inch. A powerful FH capable of generating great speed and power DTL or cross court for winners. Hell: he was going toe for toe with birdman and he was winning some FH exchanges!! Then there’s the guile: drop shots, flicks here there at the net, insane movement, very good serve capable of generating high speed and aces. He’s a unbelievable talent. And I laugh at how he has that macho, ballsy strut about him: puffs his chest out and strolls like a boss in between points. IF he had a brain, some consistency upstairs damn would fabio have people in awe at his game like fed has done. He’s sensational viewing for sure……..except when he beats rafa. Then he’s just a mean.


lapinroyal Says:

Maria using drop shot??? Since when?


KatH Says:

Oh gosh – there’s such a rash of comments about so many could be/should be top players – I’ve come out in spots (Yes – the talent is stunning) I still love Tsonga, Gael, Kei and the other “entertainers” eg Fabio, Gulbis irrespective of their rankings and would love to see them anytime…. SO YES, Brando – AGREE WITH YOU.


Daniel Says:

Well, Nadal is favorite for RG, just by this game alone.


Daniel Says:

You know Nadal is playing great when his return is depth and in. Wawa winning 3 points in a row to have a Break Point to break back, second serve.


Daniel Says:

Break returned. Tags two are paying on the edge, nice exchanges so far.


Daniel Says:

Nice serve and volley by Wawa to surprise.


jane Says:

i think stan will need more than 40% first serves to have a chance!


Muhammad Says:

All that talk about talent and should’ve – could’ve is garbage. If Kei was any good he’d be a multiple slam winner by now. No excuses. We’re not talking about some 18 yr old kid but a 25 yr old man. He’s only 2 years younger than Novak and he’s supposed to be the next generation? He supposedly has better this and that than Novak or Rafael but Novak has 8 slams and Rafael is still no. 1 favorite to get his frickin 10th in RG alone.
People make judgement based on a few shots. In reality his greatest achievement was beating Novak on his day off in USO semis. Until he actually wins something big that’s how he should be measured.


van orten Says:

Spot on


Daniel Says:

Wawa misses a sitter to kill the point at 30-30 and set BP. Nadal hold but have BP in 2 games and this one should have also. Wawrinka hold 2 games more easy apart form the one he was broken.

Wawa also playing at high level and hitting hard, let’s see if he’ll keep it up.


Daniel Says:

Wawrinka will lose this game in this shot. should be 30-0 and now 15-15. He should have gone to the net or use a drop shot. Nadal will always make him hit another ball and 2 times he missed already.


Daniel Says:

Told ya, kkk


Daniel Says:

Nadal with a lot of UE this game, another BP and now second serve


Daniel Says:

And Wawa break back again, 4-4. 2 games where both missed a bunch of ball and conceded breaks to one another.


Daniel Says:

My God, how can he misses this point. will be broken again


Daniel Says:

Game Wawa, 5-4.


Daniel Says:

Tiebreak, feel this is more important for Wawrinka’s chances.


Daniel Says:

Nadal lucky, his ball hit bad but passed short, mini break.


Daniel Says:

Wow, from 2-6 down to 8-7 with this FH DTL winner. Wawa with set point on serve. He should serve ad volley


Daniel Says:

And he takes the first set. Wow! After almost smashing his racquet and he won a string of games. Nadal also was too passive, after 6-2 he kind of watched Wawrinka waiting him to miss.


Daniel Says:

Could it be that we are not having a Fedal tomorrow?! Wawrinka to win has to do in 2, if Nadal takes second set, very likely he will win in 3.


lapinroyal Says:

Fedrinka is not bad too #BackHandPorn


mat4 Says:

@lapin:

Just arrived from a trip to see your post.

I agree — Fedrinka is not bad at all.


jane Says:

how can nadal lose that tiebreak when up 6-2?


the_mind_reels Says:

I’m not watching the match, so if anyone has some commentary, I’d appreciate it, but…it would seem like Nadal’s confidence on clay is far from back if he’s going to let a tiebreaker slip from 6-2. Particularly against a one-handed BH.


mat4 Says:

That’s a question without response, jane…


mat4 Says:

avg time between service points:

Wawrinka: 24 s

Nadal: 29 s

Of course, Bernardes is not the chair umpire…


Josh Says:

Basically Wawrinka played fantastic from 2-6 down in the tiebreak, completely dictating the points with some great play at the net.


Daniel Says:

Damm, Wawrinka risk the return and break with a FH return winner after a second serve.
Will serve with a break up.
He only played 3 great matches all year, against Kei in Australia and Djoko and today so far.


lapinroyal Says:

… and Stan is not afraid of Rafa FH (rush to the net to Rafa FH to win the set point).!

@jane
May be Rafa got the same trouble as Mady Fish?


Daniel Says:

40-15, wawa needs to close this game to consolidate the break.
40-30 now


Daniel Says:

DF, 40-40, now he can complicate an easy game.


mat4 Says:

avg first serve speed:

Wawrinka: 198 kmh

Nadal: 180 kmh


Daniel Says:

Game Wawa, 3-1 after two excellent serves.
Nadal has to hang in there now and wait an opening, he can’t risky another break for Wawa.


lapinroyal Says:

If Rafa cannot win against one handed BH on clay… this should be bad…

Stan closing in!


mat4 Says:

Distance covered:

Wawrinka: 1694

Nadal: 1638


jane Says:

i’m still in shock that rafa lost the first set. he was up a break, twice, and he was up 6-2, with 4 set points, in the breaker. plus stan’s first serve still hasn’t cracked even 50% for the match. normally nadal would be all over his second serve. i am not sure what to make of it when he made isner’s serve look more or less ordinary yesterday. is it just inconsistency? i realize stan was hitting some awesome winners, but still this confuses me.

and once again it looks like rafa will lose before facing fed. we haven’t had a chance to see these two play since fed and edberg, really, since the AO 2014 was the last time they played and that was fed’s first event with stefan as coach. i was looking forward to it. i know it’s not over, but it seems like stan will win.


mat4 Says:

Stan breaks once again. Although Stan played some stunning shots, Rafa made unusual errors.


sienna Says:

why would Nadal win third set?
u dont think he has enough stamina to compete for longer matches.


lapinroyal Says:

Double break for Stan… really close!

@jane
Rafa play short too short and he stay to far for reception even on second serve. MardyFish during Tie-break?


Daniel Says:

4-1 Wawa but Nadal has a BP after 2 FH out by Wawa.


Daniel Says:

Nadal making Wawa play always another point and him missing another smash. Save BP with an excellent serve


mat4 Says:

Stan is playing sublime tennis on big points. Third BP saved.


jane Says:

stan’s forehand, wow.


mat4 Says:

Now it all makes sense. I understand why Wawa is spending so much time with Novak ;-)

BTW, some players play better when married, but others clearly play better when divorced…


Daniel Says:

yes Jane, Nadal is just not consistent anymore this days. All shots are there, his never say die attitude and he won some vintage Nadal points today. His game alone Wawa serving 4-1 Nadal survived due to his relentless defense. But he just doesn’t play matches with total of 10 errors as in the past, now he make this amount in 1 set.
Also his serve is vulnerable, Wawrinka was in several of his service games, hence breaking 4 times already.


jane Says:

i agree lapinroyal – rafa’s way too far back. he’s “digging his own grave” back there!


Daniel Says:

5-1, can’t see Wawa losing now, actually he can even have another break to close it out as he will be more freely, pressure is on Nadal.


mat4 Says:

Stan made it from 2-6. Can Rafa make it from 1-5?

BTW:

avg FH speed:

Wawrinka: 138 kmh

Nadal: 120 kmh


lapinroyal Says:

Stan just wack the ball… Rafa’s FH, no problem! Stan just wack the to rafa FH… :shock:


lapinroyal Says:

No stick (or as the frenchies said “baguette”) for Rafa 2-5, still downn double break. Stan will serve for the match!!!


mat4 Says:

What a point! Sublime play by Stan!


lapinroyal Says:

WHAT A POINT FROM BOTH!!!


Daniel Says:

Of course, this game would be tense, 30-40, BP for Nadal


Brando Says:

It’s over.

Pre-match:

Knew this was going to be extremely tough. Wawrinka is a big match, big opposition player. He’s always up for them. When I saw him advertising this match on Instagram thought:

Yep, Wawa will bring it. He did and congrats to him.

Set 1:

Rafa actually played well here. No complaints from me as a fan. He fluffed his lines in 2 service games badly, but so did Wawrinka. It was even/steven’s so it’s fine.

Tie-Break:

Rafa played well here. Where he messed up was tactically on those set points:

He waited/played for wawrinka to miss rather than pull the trigger.

Wawrinka played excellent on all those points. Very aggressive, inside the court and won it deservedly.

Usually I would be peeved here, but to be honest: i felt wawrinka won the tie breaker by being aggression and rafa did not play too badly at all.

Set 2:

Calamitous tactical thinking from Rafa.

He stayed far, far too deep and let wawrinka have free reign to step inside the court.

That’s just idiotic!

Ask Novak: you let wawrinka inside the court and you are totally screwed since he has far too much power on either wing.

So Rafa lost in here on that front really. Stay too deep is being conservative, possibly linked to low confidence perhaps.

Overall:

The positive is in this loss he did not choke as he did v fognini and murray.

Mentally he seemed fine.

Where he screwed it up from his end was just staying far, far too back on the baseline and giving wawrinka free reign on the inside court.

As for Wawrinka:

IF it’s a big match, big opponent = STANIMAL brings it and can beat them.

Props to Wawa, moving on for Rafa!


Kimmi Says:

C U Tom RF!! ha ha peRFect!


Daniel Says:

Wow, Congrats Stan. Finally getting back in contention.

Curious to see how he will play tomorrow. Any final, Djoko x Fed or Djoko x Wawa will be great.

Nadal for the first time with no title in European clay pre RG. Can’t see him winning there. We are all saying he is the favorite until someone beating him there but the writing is clear, 1 by 1 all his clay fortress were coming down and the last to go is RG. If someone plays him tough, he crumbles, was like this all year. He lost almost all close matches he had except Isner in Monte Carlo.

Under pressure he will fold and now add Wawa with 2 straight wis against him, together with Murray, Djoko, Key, even Fed all potentially can beat him. He will be seeded #6 in RG so he may face Fed/Murray/Djoko back to back nor in that order from Quarters onwards.

the question will be on who’s draw he will land. And he may have a tough 4 th round as well.

Time for a new champion there.
Can’t see Djoko not winning this title, unless Wawa beats Fed tomorrow and keep this form.


FedExpress Says:

@brando

When the first set wasnt a choke what was it then?


Muhammed Says:

Good analysis Brando. I saw the match the same way.


Brando Says:

@FedExpress:

Honestly: I did not feel it was a choke. Seriously.

I’m on record here for thumping rafa for his fognini and Myrray loss so IF he had choked:

I would say so.

I just think from Rafa’s end he played conservatively there, looking for Stan to make a error but really:

Wawa produced the good’s with some seriously aggressive shots.

Yes: losing from that position was bad. But I did not feel bad since I thought Wawa just ramped it up a real notch.

It is what it is.


Muhammed Says:

Nadal didn’t choke. He was just too defensive. Stan played those points really well, he was going for all or nothing and pulled it out.


RZ Says:

Seems like recently, anytime we have been one match away from a Fedal meeting, we don’t get it.


lapinroyal Says:

Rafa defend on running BH et better than FH and Stan take it to Rafa’s FH. Bravo Stan the Man!!!
Time for Fedrinka! One of the intense match of Fedrinka was at the YEC 2014 with bonus Mirkagate…


Emily Says:

i have been waiting for Stan the man to show up since he won Rotterdam in March. He played amazing tonight, hitting shots that reminded me of AO 14. So many ups and downs supporting Stan, but this is an amazing up. I thought the first set was done at 6-2, but he has a habit of coming back from behind in tie breaks, just not against rafa on clay.

Sorry for Rafa fans, but no matter the result tomorrow, this was Stan stepping up when he needed to and it was great to see


jane Says:

congrats to stan on a nice win; he’s been struggling a bit this season, perhaps due to his marriage breaking up again, but he seems to have found some form.

a bit confounded by rafa’s play. quite erratic. maybe the 5 set format and the court on which he’s been so very successful will be what he needs to get his mojo back.

looking forward to the semis.


FedExpress Says:

This is just shit.every time fed gets the chance to make his h2h vs nadal better this year someone comes in between.

h2h is screwed


the_mind_reels Says:

Interestingly, Nadal had never lost a set to Wawrinka prior to their meeting in the AO last year, and now Stan has won 5 of the last 6 sets they’ve played.

This is uncharted territory for Nadal, and I think the draw will prove critical for him if he stands any chance of playing his way into form at Roland Garros. With this European season as it is, every player out there — and I think particularly the younger/lower-ranked players with nothing to lose in the early rounds — will come out thinking there’s a real chance for them to take it to Nadal. He’s going to be nervous, even in his fortress in Paris.


FedExpress Says:

Boah. That monte carlo final loss last years still hurts


Brando Says:

‘Muhammad:

Thanks buddy.

Honestly:

I am not too dismayed about the loss. I thought steve tignor got it right:

Rafa brought the effort but wawrinka was too good.

That’s how I saw it also:

I bollocked Rafa for his Barcelona loss and even Madrid. Very badly on here. So i’m not shy to criticize my fav if I feel it as such.

But here:

I was pleased with Rafa’s play generally, and more than anything else:

HIS FIGHT.

That’s what I wanted: win or loss matters not: just finish the match knowing you fought hard and the opponent got the best of you.

Should they win despite that: fair play.

Credit to wawrinka for his performance. he brought it like I knew he would. He’s a genuine big match player.

The ONLY mistake I thought rafa made:

He conceded territory ridiculously easy to wawrinka. He was happy staying back-ridiculously back- and letting have wawrinka the inside of the court which is the worst possible tactic.

That cost him big I feel since IF Rafa was inside the court I think he would won. Nearer the baseline he would have taken this one i felt.


mat4 Says:

Rafa is simply slower. He has lost a step, so he often just isn’t in position to hit the ball well. Then, the question of confidence arises: when you start missing shots you didn’t, you stop opening your shoulders, you get tense, and it gets worse.

So, it won’t be easy for Rafa. In time, I believe he will adapt, but I just hope it won’t be soon. Nothing against Rafa, I just want Novak to win a RG title.

Stan played well, and showed that he is still a very dangerous player. He is a very serious contender for the title here in Rome, and could be a contender in Paris as well, if he plays consistently.


Muhammed Says:

Roger will have a nice chance to enter the final; Stan might be mentally drained. The match was intense more than what the score shows.
Nadal was silly to celebrate when Stan had missed one smash and Stan reacted.


sienna Says:

his clay % winnings are dropping like a big fat fly.


jane Says:

this tweet is telling:
Nick Lester ‏@nicklester 5m5 minutes ago
Certainly doesn’t tell the whole story but here are Nadal’s Break Point conversion rates in last 6 defeats
2/9,
0/3,
3/14,
1/3,
3/12,
1/7
= 20%.


andrea Says:

wow. can it be? no clay titles for rafa before the french? fed/nadal thwarted again. good win for stan. he needed a confidence booster.


lapinroyal Says:

@jane
That is sooooo Federer Circa 2013!


Brando Says:

My HONEST take as a Nadal fan on his situation (i’ll minimize the spaces, use sub headings):

- Roland Garros:

There is no way on this green earth does he merit the tag or is the favourite. He’s not playing anywhere near good enough for that and it’s disrespectful to those who are. Right now: I just do not see him winning. Grand Slams require a whole host of qualities and probably the biggest is: sheer mental strength when the going get’s tough. Right now when it get’s tough: Rafa comes out the loser in those situations. He has all year in fact. So I cannot see how suddenly just because he’s stepped onto to Roland Garros court, hey presto: the jitters have disappeared. To be honest: the very notion seems ridiculous in it’s logic.

- This loss:

I am comfortable with it.

He performed woefully in Barcelona and Madrid that was so dejecting to see that I lambasted him for it. Here though I felt he played well just lost to the better player. As simple as that. I cannot argue with such a situation. I was pleased to see that he was fighting hard and gutting it out. A few points near the end from Rafa were very pleasing to watch even. So all in all: I feel fine with the loss, since his performance was better than in recent losses.

- What he needs to do IF he stands any chance going forward:

We don’t need Einstein to return from the dead to tell us Rafa needs A WHOLE LOT of good fortune with the draw. He need’s it big time. But outside that what he needs to do is:

1. Go back to basics mentally and play by Nadal principles:

Give your all on all points. Forget the score and just place great emphasis on each point. And fight. Lost the point? Fight some more. Won the point? Great, let’s fight for the next point. Through this he can find his true self I feel. Towards the end of this match I did see very heartening signs in this regard, and IF he fights like he did near the end from start to finish:

whatever his outcome in Paris he’ll guaranteed do himself justice.

2. Be aggressive on ALL fronts:

Do not misinterpret this. I’m not asking Rafa to be Marat Safin or Juan Martin Del Potro here. No. Just asking him to do what he can do, quite easily, and has done in over many matches in the past. Hit every shot with intent. Stay close to the baseline. Have depths in his shots. Look to attack with his FH. In the big moments: be the aggressor. Do not concede court easily.He can do those things. Has done so in the past few weeks, even against wawrinka in stretches. Do so from the outset and not when it’s too late.

3. Look at his record and remember you are Rafael Perrera Nadal:

Despite everything: Rafa needs to remember who is. He’s a 14 time Grand Slam champion. 5 time defending champion. 9 time winner. The one who kicks all comers butt on that court.The one who players know deep down even today: IF Rafa plays his best= my butt will get kicked.So he NEEDS to remember that. Realize who he is, and know that as much of a problems others can give him: he can give them way worse.

Bottom line:

I feel more pleased with Rafa than 2 weeks ago. It has been little, but he has improved for me.

And I am excited.

He’s in a corner. He’s looking out. What will my man do? I believe he shall fight. Scrap hard. Put everything on the line. Since that’s all he’s got right now. And that makes me excited as fan since regardless of the outcome: that’s the rafa I love to see. One who is playing with fight and passion.

As bad as his scenario is: it’s also one in which he can create another great story and let the tennis world know once again:

Who Rafael Nadal is.


Daniel Says:

Actually, Nadal could play FH DTL more. Unless henis saving for RG as he did with Novak in set 3 and 4 last year. Because he didn’t use that shot consistently enough this clay season. Today he was going to much to Wawa BH and when he went for FH the shot was not hurting Wawa much. Unless when it was his usual inside out FH after a short ball to kill the point.

Maybe is the sun;-)☀️


brando Says:

@Daniel: rafa lost a night match today. He played none prior to today in Rome. He lost in the evening in Madrid. He played none prior to it. It’s a little thing, but players are creatures of habit. He had no night play and when he faces that situation, he’s up against a Murray who’s played night matches (Andy prematch called it a huge plus in his favor), who’s confident and he’s facing in the final. And then today: another top player, differing conditions after playing first up in the blazing sun yesterday, to playing last in these conditions where for a playerwho relies heavily on movement, thecourt was not easy to move on. A touch unlucky, but when you’re down: the roll of the dice goes against you.


DC Says:

i honestly though Nadal was playing well. He was defending extremely well, he did not get a lot of chances to attack as Wawa is a better attacker and wasnt giving Nadal much opportunities to attack.
The only problem is that Nadal seems to be getting tired defending and he will end p giving a very weak return. Its not only about the mind, this time its the body as well. He’s going to be 29 soon.
Unlike others, i cannot predict about the outcome of his performance at FO; however, wish him the best for the FO.


brando Says:

@DC: I agree he was playing well. My issue-only one- was that he was far to back on the baseline. He conceded the inside court invitingly to wawa and that’s borderline suicidal v wawa. Beyond that: it was a good performance. He shouldn’t be too downbeat about it as after all: wawrinka is a grand slam player who beat Djokovic at AO and also a clay master series winner v Federer. Finalist in Rome also. So he did not lose to some fognini type atleast this time. He lost to a on champion.


Markus Says:

I just learned something today: the best tennis players ever are Fognini and Nishikori. Thank you Brando for this enlightening information. I look forward to watching and enjoying their games. Well, maybe in the next tournament because I couldn’t find their names among those who advanced to the next round.


Wog Boy Says:

“Just read the top tweet. Bye!”

You misunderstud that tweet, it meant “Bye bye FO”


Wog Boy Says:

brando,
My post about Nishikori was in response to “nice” conversation we had with another poster on another thread, those were his words about Nishikori, I just forgot to mark them as his, my words were:

“…though Nole beat him today with his B game;)”

Sorry for misunderstanding.


skeezer Says:

LOL @ 8:40 post.


Margot Says:

@Mat4
Stan had no business winning that match…..those shorts. EEEEUK!
Good for him, coming back in the tie, but Rafa’s court position, WTH?
@Markus
Lol from me too.


Daniel Says:

They were playing with a lot of spin today, maybe that’s why he was so far back and couldn’t adjust properly landing some balls short.

I just think there is no solution to his game unless he goes after his comfort zone and goes for his shots FH DTL and steps inside the court. He can’t win with relentless defense anymore waiting opponent to miss, his body, age and mind is not up to it. My take is, if he is to go out, go out missing but trying to be aggressive.

But the thing is the core of his game is defense, so when other aspects is not working he will resume to staying back (Chatrier allows him to), retrieve one more shot and wait opponent to miss. The points he was cheering and vamos and pumping himself the most todays were the ones he won with defense. Kind of building his confidence when he made a hit one more shot. He is just going FH cross court to BH of trying to take more risks and only goes for inside out when receive a very short ball. I can’t see him winning RG with the current field just with defense, which is not effective anymore. Plus his serving is getting worse during matches. Start great and than players attack it more.


KatH Says:

Nadal was winning the tie-break – but he lost it – to me that defines a “choke”.

Following Andy Murray’s return after back surgery, he did much the same – as one of Andy’s fans I could never count on him winning anything much – because he choked. Andy had no confidence and doubted his own ability — it strikes me that this is exactly what is happening to Nadal. I feel confident Nadal will overcome the same type of problems and be HIMSELF again – How long will it take? Is anyone’s guess.


Giles Says:

“You misunderstood that tweet. It meant “Bye bye FO” says the ignoramus from down under who can’t string a dozen words of English together. You should go to English classes and stop making a fool of yourself. Better you talk Serbian.

Top story: Halep, Wozniacki Lead Loaded Wuhan Field; Kerber v Keys, Svitolina v Sabalenka Tues.