Nadal Wins 500th Career Match, Meets Ferrer for Barcelona Title Sunday
by Sean Randall | April 23rd, 2011, 7:13 pm

The Rafael Nadal express continues to chug along this clay season with no signs of slowing down. Earlier today, Nadal hammered Ivan Dodig 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the final in Barcelona where in a rematch of last week’s Monte Carlo title bout he’ll face his countryman David Ferrer, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Nicolas Almagro in the other semifinal.

The victory for Nadal was already the 500th of his career and at age 24 only Bjorn Borg (23) registered more wins at that age in tennis history.

“Maybe I didn’t play my best tennis today but I’m very happy to be through to another final here in Barcelona,” said Nadal who hasn’t lost a match in April (66 straight) since Igor Andreev at 2005 Valencia. “I expect a very difficult match tomorrow. David will play aggressively, with high intensity as always. He makes you play every point and I will have to play great tennis to win.”

After his win in Monte Carlo last Sunday, Nadal leads Ferrer 12-4 winning eight of the last nine with the only loss to David coming at the Australian Open this year when Rafa suffered an early injury. Rafa has also beaten Ferrer all three times they have played in Barcelona including consecutive finals in 2009-2009.

“Rafa is the best clay-court player in the history of the game,” said Ferrer who is 13-1 on the red stuff this year. “I will try and do better than last week, play my best tennis and fight until the end.”

Rafa has won his last 33 straight matches on clay dating back to that Robin Soderling French Open loss. Since, he’s also won a staggering 73 of the 76 sets he’s played on clay!

And tomorrow Nadal will bid for his sixth straight Barcelona title and 31st on clay. Will he get it? I see no reason he won’t.

Easter Sunday match time tomorrow is 10am ET. Tennis Channel has live coverage of the women’s Stuttgart final between Julia Georges – Caroline Wozniacki at 10am. A taped broadcast of the Barcelona final will air at 4pm ET.


PISTA CENTRAL start 12:30 pm
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA)

Not Before 4:00 PM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [4] D Ferrer (ESP)

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Nadal Wins 35th Straight At Barcelona, Ferrer Crashes Out; Raonic v Gulbis Thursday
Nadal’s Clay Campaign Shifts To Spain, Murray Wins; Wozniacki Faces Jankovic In Stuttgart
How Nice, Rafael Nadal Gets A Rose After Practice [Video]

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50 Comments for Nadal Wins 500th Career Match, Meets Ferrer for Barcelona Title Sunday

The fighter Says:

Congrats Rafa!!! Proud of you!!!!

jane Says:

Interesting how – in some ways – Fed had Sampras to chase whereas Rafa seems to have Borg.

Huh Says:

can’t agree more mrs. jane.

Kimmi Says:

Another player winning almost everything is wozniacki. time to win the big one!

I am excited for serena comeback. she will be thirty soon, should she be declining like federer?

darib Says:

Sure she should declining, technically, but decline is relative to.the field.
I am now a woz fan, good luck to her today and at RG.
HAPPY EASTER to those who want it. Had to wake up eaaarrrllly for sunrise service, but I got some tennis gear in my basket!

Kimmi Says:

bryans lost the final. congrats to the unseeded gonzalez/lipsky

Daniel Says:

Same history of MC final: Ferrer has breakpoint in Nadal’s first service game When leading 1-0 and Nadal sabes just to break later.

madmax Says:

It’s just boring. Players need to go into a clay tournament with the mind set that they are going to win rather than going to lose.

Why are there so many clay court tournaments in a year? It just seems very unfair. If only there were more hard court tournaments or even grass court tournaments then at least it would be worth watching.

Ferrer is injured and nadal has played one seeded player up to the final – Monfils.

Murray pulled out, berdych pulled out, novak resting, roger not having barcelona on his schedule, soderling playing a different clay court tournament. It’s just boring.

jane Says:

Ferrer breaks and is broken right back – no way Rafa is losing. Even though Ferrer said he would fight and fight. Rafa is just too good on this surface.

Happy Easter Sunday. I can’t believe you got tennis gear from the easter bunny, dari. ; )

Kimmi Says:

mmmm, no contest at the moment. rafa showing everybody that the rafa of montecarlo is gone.

back to women tennis..i am cheering for goerges, the german girl! tough match with wozniacki. so far so good. she is cute too :)

Kimmi Says:

is darib = dari?

Kimmi Says:

ferrer injured? what is it again? he seem to be over his knee trouble that happened early on in the tournament..

jane Says:

“is darib = dari?” Oops Kimmi, didn’t even see the “b” at the end. Maybe it’s not dari.

Kimmi Says:

goerges takes the first set! go georges! I think this girl is here to stay..she is found her game and confidence. hope she wins.

Second set and i have to go! aaaargh!

Good luck goerges!!!

Just checking the score board for rafa vs ferrer! wow! the bull has arrived again…ferrer could be bagelled!!


Lulu Iberica Says:

There are more hardcourt tournaments than anything else. Only 3 clay Masters, with MC being optional, meanwhile there are 6 hardcourt Masters. I agree there should be more grass tournaments. The problem is not too much clay, but a lack of top clay competitors. I do think other players are too deferential towards Rafa, just as they used to be towards Federer. No doubt beating either of them at their respective peaks is a monumental task, but competitors should go into a match thinking that if they play smart, and at their best level they have a chance to win. Anyway, hopefully for the rest of the clay season we’ll see Djoko, Murray and others at least giving Rafa some good matches.

Daniel Says:

Or maybe, in a couple of teses Fed and Nadal will be te 2 greatest postres that ever libes and We will think, well there’s no much anyone could have fone facing this 2 legends.

Daniel Says:

Damm iPhone!

Lulu Iberica Says:

You are probably right, Daniel! Right now, though, Ferrer is putting up a fight.

Lulu Iberica Says:

Woo, hoo! Congrats to Goerges! How did that happen? Is she especially good on clay? Did Woz have a terrible day?

Colin Says:

Kimmi – “The Rafa of Monte Carlo is gone”? You mean there isn’t anyone in the Barcelona tourney good enough to take a set from him.

Kimberly Says:

jane Says:
Interesting how – in some ways – Fed had Sampras to chase whereas Rafa seems to have Borg.

I noticed this too, I think its a testament to how different their style of game is.

grendel Says:

Ferrer didn’t really put up a fight. It’s all very well coming from behind to go ahead. The tough bit is keeping ahead – Ferrer didn’t look like doing that, slashed wildly. Obviously Nadal is a better player than Ferrer, and would certainly have beaten him had it gone to a third. The fact that it didn’t go to a 3rd was due to Ferrer’s mental state – he couldn’t handle the pressure of being ahead. I’ve seen that with him against Federer, too.

jane Says:

^ Yes, grendel, and for a while Davydenko was like that. He could break a top player and then he’d be broken right back. But then in 2009 he started to believe and perhaps too he improved his serve. Because he made the YEC final in 08 but by 2009 he won it. Maybe it is too late for Ferrer. Too bad as Rafa didn’t play here last year and that might have been his best chance to win this title he covets.

How many six-peats and seven-peats can a player have? Congrats to Rafa & fans.

grendel Says:

jane, I think Davydenko firing on all cylinders is a lot more formidable than Ferrer. He hits the ball very hard, and his serve is not negligible – whereas Ferrer’s, at this level, is. I miss Davydenko – I suppose we have seen the best of him, sad to say.

grendel Says:

Daniel – that iphone of yours is becoming something of a classic, should be preserved in some kind of bloggers’ museum….

Lulu Iberica Says:

To me, if you are playing a far superior opponent, lose the 1st set 6-2, and manage to get a break up in the 2nd, you are putting up a fight, regardless of whether you have much chance to ultimately win or not. That is, assuming your being up is not due to the opponent double faulting 4 times in a row or something. I think the day Rafa actually plays what “neutral” tennis fans consider an interesting match (i.e. he loses) everyone is going to miss all of it except perhaps the last few points, due to assuming that the opponent cannot possibly sustain the lead.

jane Says:

No doubt Ferrer was outmatched. He is more of a match for Rafa on hard courts, like most other players. Hey Lulu, be happy. I was happy for those first 3 months when Nole was winning. Mind you, Fed and Nadal made his semis and finals a lot tougher overall. Maybe that is all it is about – just seeing a tighter contest. Like the Murray/Rafa match at MC. Even I was a little shocked by the AO and Dubai finals where Nole didn’t seem to be too strongly challenged, and by excellent opponents too. Less nail-biting, for sure, yet the IW and Miami finals, in the end, were much more exciting and in some ways slightly more satisfying because of it. So hopefully, even if Rafa’s clay prowess tops all, he is challenged on the way to sweeping the events. Like maybe he will lose a set at the FO this year. ;)

Enjoy – he deserves all the superlatives; he is a Master on this surface. And like Daniel says, we will probably all look back on the clay competition one day and say, well, they tried as best as they could, just like they did against Fed all those years.

jane Says:

grendel, maybe more formidable, but as you, I think, said in the past, Davy didn’t always seem to believe against those ranked above him. He’d defer a little. I still remember that semi with Fed at the USO in 07: Davy broke Fed multiple times, but he’d immediately be broken back. They traded breaks a few times, just like David and Rafa did today. Maybe it is a mental thing re: keeping a lead, especially against someone to whom you usually lose. Panic/nerves set in, game collapses, etc. But maybe it is also simply about being outmatched and outplayed.

dari Says:

Missed the matches, but happy for goerges to win home tournament. I actually watched quite a bit of this tourney- She was playing great this week, moving well and being aggressive. Quite a take-back on the forehand. Different from delpo, but it reminds me of him. Whoever said she was cute- you got that right!
And darib is me-typo :)
Grass masters must be made in next ten years.

grendel Says:

Lulu – there is this odd contradiction with Ferrer. For all the world he’s like a terrier, holding on for grim death just when you think he ought to have received the knockout blow. He even manages to inch ahead – but that’s when the gremlins march in and play havoc with his mind, and the terrier shuffles off, shamefaced. There’s quite a pattern there with Ferrer – that’s why I opined that his fightback was a bit illusory.

This domination of Nadal on the clay. It is so absolute, or near absolute as to be very surprising when you consider we are talking about the entire planet. 6 billion people or whatever it is, and not even one can offer a realistic challenge to Nadal. Doesn’t quite seem credible – and of course it isn’t. Out of those 6 billion, how many play even half serious tennis? Very, very few, when you think about it, as opposed to the number playing football or even cricket, say.

So somewhere in the world there will be men who, if they had taken up claycourt tennis, would be even better than Nadal. And these men may (now)barely even know what a tennis racket looks like. It’s a curious thought. Maybe they are playing godlike football. Or maybe they live deep in jungles and are fearsome warriors. Or perhaps they were lost to the urban jungle at a very young age, dead and forgotten before they were twenty. Or possibly their sublime talent passed unnoticed as they followed the lure of the golden calf. How good would Nadal have been if he had been orphaned and adopted by, say, Gulbis’ parents? Or people like that?

Stuff which looks inevitable is, it seems to me, just a product of chance……

Kimmi Says:

OK, I am back and late too. happy for georges!! my new fav of mine. she wins and in straights sets too. congrats to georges. have to learn her first name..its julia! nice name julia.

Sorry for wozniacki fans but i cant seem to warm up to her. something about her game. julia has a better game. aggressive and the serve is big..with more coaching she could have a really good one.

ah, i think julia must have won the convertible Porsche. One was parked by the court side waiting for the winner. I am sure she will enjoy.

her ranking should move up too. she was 32 before this tourney.

Hope we see more of Julia. GO Julia!!

Kimmi Says:

Now for the men. glad ferrer was not bagelled. oh, so glad. looks like the rafa of monte carlo is still around colin.

When i left this morning the match looked one sided, i started to worry for everyone but after this match i still think the other guys have a chance. OK, i didnt see the match but the results give me hope. I think somebody will beat rafa. i am talking to you nole!

Dimitrov gets his third tour level win. he beats andreas beck this time. OK, beck is ranked 40 places behind grigor, so maybe not too impressive there but a win is a win. slowly but surely, we will get there grigor.

grendel Says:

Kimmi, I like Julia Georges as well, in more ways than one, look forward to seeing her on big occasions. Her and that one with the funny name called something or other who, when agitated, squeaks like a castrated mouse – they’re the 2 to watch among the skirts.
Also, I agree with you about Nishikori. It’s annoying when he gets beaten. Unless it’s by his rafaship or something when it can’t be helped.

About Dimitrov. He said a couple of months or so ago that his goal was to reach #40 by end of year. At the time, this seemed a modest ambition. Now, it seems like he might be overeaching himself. But as you say, it’s a slowly but surely scenario. He’s learning the ropes now, isn’t he. Dent said that the difference between full ATP and Challengers was only a few points here and there. But they tend to be the important points – perhaps that’s what Dimitrov is learning. Goodnight.

thark Says:

whenever grendel comments, in my mind i am always relaxing in a chair by the fireplace with a pipe in my mouth, gently and somewhat pensively turning the key to my pocketwatch over and over in my hand – only occasionally breaking my silence to offer a toast to a particularly poignant remark or chuckle at some well-timed witticism.

deep in the jungles of our hearts, there are many such men – indeed…

Kimmi Says:

grendel – the one with a funny name ha-ha, do you mean petkovic? andrea petkovic is another germany girl. yeah, i think she is the one who squeaks. she likes to dance after a win too. I like petkovic but i think julia is more talented.

I just watched the video on demand from tennistv. wozniacki vs julia! tennistv have full final matches of all big atp and wta tournaments; well, they keep the videos for few weeks. this is were i say my money is worth something. i don’t think you can find anywhere a full match that one can watch anytime..over and over again with great quality, unless you record the match yourself ofcourse.

I used to watch a lot of federer matches but they are few and far between nowadays. The WTF matches were great. I think i must have memorized the final ha-ha!

I don’t have the full match stats, the video stopped just before the stats were up but i was able to see first set stats which shows wozniacki with 5 winners and 5 UE while julia with 22 winners and 18 UE..what a difference!

I think dimitrov will win only one match this tourney coz his second round opponent is either baghdatis or benneteau. i don’t think he is good enough to beat any of these guys. yap, i agree, its tough grendel but i hope he proves me wrong!

Kimberly Says:

One should appreciate the immense amount of pressure on Nadal every time he steps on the court, he is essentially expected to win every match. If he loses, its earth shaking news.

No other player other than Federer has faced such pressure and even fed had a small reprieve in clay season when nadal was expected to win it all, or coria before him.

I have said its highly unlikely Nadal will repeat his undefeated clay season. Kaiser thinks its quite likely he will repeat it, as he thinks other than Novak no one can beat him and even Novak is a big question mark.

However, statistically to sweep two seasons in a row is near impossible, no? (i sound like Rafa). I mean, you’ve got to have an off day and bring your B game against a player that doesn’t suck/choke at least once a season?

Kimmi Says:

kimberly – maybe if i see a nole vs rafa match on clay and rafa beats nole hands down then i will stop hoping!

I also think it will be tough for anyone to beat rafa..the guy is a beast on clay but i cant stop thinking nole has a chance.

One of rafa comments after the match today was

“I think my first set today was my best of the season, my forehand was also better today. Last week I felt like I wasn’t causing enough pain for my opponents with my forehand, but today I could change its direction and send it down the line.”

this is very interesting. why rafa didn’t keep his first level? federer used to do a lot of flawless first sets but couldn’t keep it up. Is this what we are seeing from nadal? does it mean if players like nole hang in there they could have a chance?

ah, i can wait!

Kimmi Says:

can’t wait!!

jane Says:

Kimberly, yep, Rafa faces a lot of pressure, though I think you overstate your case here: “No other player other than Federer has faced such pressure”. Players like JMac, who had the most (?) outstanding win-loss season in the 80s, or Lendl maybe, Sampras surely for a while, Borg and so on – other players have been dominant for a while on one surface or a couple, and thus they faced the pressure to stay on course too.


Re: Gorgeous – she played Maria, aka ole Sharpie, at the AO was it? Or the USO? Anyhow it was a great match and you could see her talents then. Good on her to win at home.

Kimberly Says:

As a player I can tell you I prefer playing matches I am expected to lose and feel slightly nervous playing people it is assumed I will beat. Thats my personal feelings. To walk out every day, on every surface, in every match as an overwhelming favorite, where it is expected for you to win not just a tournament, but multiple tournaments in a row and if you lose it is headline news, articles are written on whether anyone can beat you is more pressure than I think anyone can imagine. And rafa handles it reasonably well.

jane Says:

Rafa handles it exceptionally well.

dari Says:

I keep citing nadal for the clay monotony, ferrer is guilty of contributing, too ;)

The fighter Says:

Madmax says
Why are there so many clay court tournaments in a year? It just seems very unfair. If only there were more hard court tournaments or even grass court tournaments then at least it would be worth watching.

you must be kidding right?

thark Says:

i understand frustration at the current situation, with a single, very dominant player, but clay court tennis has produced some of the most exciting and inspiring moments in the sport’s history. stay tuned, those moments will be back.

as for ferrer, i think he is mentally tough as nails. his stature is less than nadal’s (indeed less than most players on the modern tour) and he is 5 years older (which is rather like dog years given the wear and tear of actually playing on the tour for 5 years). because of his mental toughness he outperforms what talent alone would dictate. i can’t believe anyone would criticize him mentally when we have people like murray on the tour who seemingly toss their talent in the garbage anytime they meet the slightest resistance.

dari Says:

It’s just the second clay tournament. These 250 events look pretty good this week and full fields will be in Madrid and Rome as they are mandatory. Clay season isn’t ruined for me yet.

madmax Says:

the fighter – no kidding – checked on the atp website. There needs to be more of an even balance throughout the season. It would be great if all tournaments were of equal measure, but they aren’t.
The only explanation I can find about there not being enough grass court tournaments are that it takes near on a year for the grass to grow back to the standard acceptable, say, for Wimbledon.

I would imagine the same reason would be for Halle and Queens.

There are 22 clay court tournaments on the ATP website, as stated. That’s far too many over a year. No kidding.

Kimberly Says:

See, i don’t find Nadals tournaments boring. I find the ones hes not in boring. I’m sure all fans feel somewhat the same. Is any tournament really exciting that your fav sits out. In fact even after he loses the hope is gone but you are already emotionally invested in the event so you follow it. Listen, I’m not saying one guy could or should win everything, but I don’t think his fans ever find his matches boring.

I remember when Nadal withdrew from Paris Masters the bracket challenge forced me to keep interest. I’m sure Novak fans found Montecarlo lackluster not because Nadal won but because their guy didn’t play.

Lulu Iberica Says:

Kimberly, I agree! Recently I was trying to imagine a scenario in which I grew tired of Rafa winning and actually rooted for his opponent. I decided if one day Rafa is about to turn 30 and going for his 10th FO, and his opponent is some new exciting kid, I would pull for the opponent. Of course, I might wind up feeling sympathy for “old” Rafa and root for him!

grendel Says:

Kimmi, no not Andrea Petkovic. I think she’s wildly overated, not keen on her. No, I meant – I had to look the name up, won’t stick for some reason – Petra Kvitova. She’s #19 at the moment – but she’s a great talent (with a very odd squeal, it is true, especially emanating from such a substantial frame), and when she gets it altogether, she’s gonna be one mighty force.

The fighter Says:

I agree dat we need more grass court tournaments but not on hard courts…

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