Nadal Seeks 8th Barcelona Title Against Almagro; Sharapova Eyes Stuttgart Repeat
by Staff | April 27th, 2013, 6:51 pm

Two of the biggest names in tennis will be looking to defending their 2012 titles on Sunday. In Barcelona, after an early rain delay tournament favorite Rafael Nadal won his 38th straight match there pounding Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-0 to set himself up with a shot for an 8th title at the event.

“I think it was my best match of the whole week,” said Nadal who was down 2-0 to the Canadian at the start. “He played a fantastic second game on the return. I won the third game, which was very important for the match, because if you are 3-love down against a big server like Milos, you’re in big trouble.”

Raonic, who trained in Barcelona, has never won a set off Nadal in three meetings and suffered his third career bagel in the second set.

Awaiting in the final will be Nicolas Almagro, an easy 6-2, 6-1 winner over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Nadal has beaten Almagro all nine times they have played and Rafa’s run off the last 10 sets in a streak that includes the Acapulco final earlier this year.

“[Almagro] is playing great and having a fantastic week,” Nadal said. “Tomorrow will be the most difficult match of the week. Hopefully I can play my best match and take my chances.”

Added Almagro about the match-up, “Every match I play against [Rafa] is fantastic. I’m ready for everything, so we will see what I can do on court.”

Nadal has never lost to a countryman in an ATP final, he’s 12-0. And since returning in February Rafa has reached the finals at all six events he’s played. The win also was his 608th of his career tying him with tennis great Bjorn Borg on the all-time list.

Nadal seeks a 54th career title, Almagro his first of the year and 13th overall.

In the Bucharest final, the man who upset Nadal 10 months ago at Wimbledon has made another stunning re-appearance. Lukas Rosol is into his first ATP final after beating Gilles Simon in Bucharest. The Czech will play Nadal’s countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

“I knew that I could beat him if I played good tennis,” said Rosol after the 6-2, 6-3 win over Simon. “I’m happy because today my game was working really well. Tomorrow I hope to win my first final. I have a good record at Challengers, where I only lost one of my six finals. So I hope that I can continue this good run. For sure, this tournament will always be in my memory since I reached my first final here.”

Like Rafa, Maria Sharapova is also looking to defending her title from a year ago in Stuttgart. Sharapova won her third straight three set match toughing out home favorite Angelique Kerber 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

The Russian who won the French Open last year to complete her career slam has now won 29 of her last 30 matches on the dirt. She’ll face another French Open winner, Li Na, in the finale. Li ended the Cinderella run of qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 6-3.

“My level certainly dropped in the second, but I’m really happy with the way I fought through it in the third,” said Sharapova who’s won 29 of her last 32 3-set matches. “I’m really happy I was able to come through in this match. I did my job out there.”

Sharapova’s now won 15 straight matches on the dirt and 21 of her last 22 losing only to Serena in Madrid last year.

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52 Comments for Nadal Seeks 8th Barcelona Title Against Almagro; Sharapova Eyes Stuttgart Repeat

Humble Rafa Says:

I got that pink shirt free when Xisca bought a few “things” at Victoria Secret.

My good friend, Almagro, has started a choking academy in Spain. It’s the first of its kind, and I am sure he will find a way to promote it during tomorrow’s match.

The Great Davy Says:

He has better mention his academy sponsors tomorrow…

roy Says:

milos said he wasn’t going to adapt to rafa on clay. he is milos and he’s going make rafa adapt to him.

well, milos, the beauty of clay is that you can’t just get away with being a tall server. serve loses its dominance. you have to actually be able to play tennis when the serves come back. you also have to be able to return for a whole match rather than lash out and get lucky for a game or two.

you have one of the biggest serves in tennis right now and just got handed a bagel. that’s the beauty of clay. and it’s safe to say rafa didn’t have to adapt to your incredible game, milos. he just returned your serve and destroyed you.

skeezer Says:

^rather, the serve, which IS a part of the game. The server has the first chance to control the point. Each player gets equal chance at the serve. When you take it away, you’ve taken a part of the game away. Sad, but true.

What if they had a surface that took away the FH?

Rafa would be in BIG trouble.

Humble Rafa Says:

^rather, the serve, which IS a part of the game

So is the backhand. Some people don’t have it, yet want to asssociate themselves with the goats.

skeezer Says:

^This the true, no? I am amazed you would talk about yourself like that!

Humble Rafa Says:

I am amazed you would talk about yourself like that!

Have you seen my BH lately. It’s awesome. Plus I can hit 5 BHs in a row including high ones, something a certain goat can only dream of

Sirius Says:

^ ha ha ha. good one

Sirius Says:

My post was for skeezer

nadalista Says:

^^don’t worry, your post also works for HR.


skeezer Says:

Lets just say that Feds BH has the ability to hit a variety of shots. Rafa? Plain vanilla and awkward. Thank Gosh he has a monster FH.

nadalista Says:

Yes, a work of art, Fed’s back-hand is, no? And like all works of art, belongs in a museum, not the rough and tumble of a tennis court.

Better chance of being protected in a museum, no?

Sirius Says:

Nadalista, it was a coincident that my comment worked also for HR’s last post. didn’t even read that one :)

Skeezer, lol

would you please describe rafa’s whole game in your style? ;)

skeezer Says:


Rafa’s game?
I cannot. It is for me, beyond comprehension and almost impossible. This is the true, no? But, per request, I will try;

At changeover, being the receiver, It all starts with the water bottles alignment(do NOT touch my bottles) and knee shaking, then the awkward run to the baseline with the used towel he brings. Then a wipe of whatever he left on it, and then gives this gift to the welcoming ballboy/girl, who willingly accepts this towel of potential bacteria. Where has it been?

Then, approaching the baseline, the spit, and the infamous shoe rubbing of the baseline. Swish, swish, and swish.
After that, maybe another towel request, wiping whatever needs to be wiped again. And….maybe not.

Then the famous ready position; the butt pick, then using the same hand to swipe the ears, and the nose, then the racquet. Then the swag, ready. Server then has to wake up. Hey, its Rafa time, not anybody elses.


First, of course, the towel. The wipe, the face, the hands, and yes, thankfully, not anywhere else. But there is no guarantee.

Then, the balls, no, not that one, no, not that one either. Do you have a slower one? Thanks. Now approaching the baseline.

Now the famous prep. The butt yank( with the hand he uses to touch the balls), the behind the ear swipe, the nose touch/wipe, then the ball bounce(same hand he used for the BY). The look, the snare, the sway back, the stall, the sway, the stall, and wait…..he starts to actually serve!

Code violation. Time warning. Point to Rosol.

Sirius Says:


no comments. Just this-

:D :D :D

Thomas Says:

In all seriousness, whilst people always talk about Federer’s backhand breaking down against the toughest opponents(like nadal for example), the nadal backhand can actually be broken down as well.(as djokovic has shown on quite a few occasions.)

Wog boy Says:

Rosol just won his first title in his firts ATP final and very convincingly too.

John Says:

Is Almagro for real?

Very strong start.

Humble Rafa Says:

Wow. I gave him a start, and now he is a title winner. Little beginnings.

Humble Rafa Says:

Is Almagro for real?

Very strong start.

Choking happens at the end, not at the start. Friendly reminder.

John Says:


Haha, too true!

And we all know hes gonna Choke… :)

John Says:

Choking happens at the end, not at the start. Friendly reminder.

Not always!

I think Almagro has officially started.

nadalista Says:

8 Barcelona trophies;
8 MC trophies.

We wait for Rafa to complete the trilogy and make it 8 trophies at RG.


Giles Says:

Incredible Rafa! Vamos Champ. 8th Barcelona title.
#King Rafa

Humble Rafa Says:

You are welcome. It was my pleasure #humble

nadalista Says:

…….1st ATP player to win 4 titles in 2013

……..moves up to 2nd in the Race to London points.

………surpasses Borg’s career match wins

and on and on and on and on…………….

Humble Rafa Says:

I am going through the Medicine’s (Rosol) profile on the ATP site..

It says he likes Argentinean meat.

Dear Medicine,

When ATP asked you what you liked, they did not ask your sexual preferences.


Giles Says:

Sky Sports commie:
“And we have to remind ourselves that we are watching the greatest player in the history of this sport on this surface”.
Stay healthy!

Humble Rafa Says:

I am afraid, going forward, the ATP is going to institute some rule that says a player cannot win more than 8 years in a row.

Humble Rafa Says:

“And we have to remind ourselves that we are watching the greatest player in the history of this sport on this surface”.

I am just a humble servant of the game. Getting better every day, surviving on bagels and breadsticks that people give me.

jane Says:

Congrats to Nadal and Rosol.

(Ha ha, feels a bit incongruous saying that.)

Enjoy Rafa’s win to his fans; he definitely continues to set milestones on this surface.

Giles Says:

HR. Keep it up your Humble Highness. We Rafans will always appreciate and support you no matter what! :-))))))))

nadalista Says:

Yeah some people need reminding indeed……..Rafans and sane tennis officionados, not.

nadalista Says:

Time honoured tradition, the Champion taking a splash in the tourny pool:

On to Madrid……!!


Giles Says:

^^^ I hope it is a heated pool. Weather in Barca today cold!

jane Says:

Oh, and congrats to Sharpie for her Stuttgart win; didn’t actually realize she was defending it, but yeah, she won a lot of points in the clay season last year! Didn’t she win Rome too? And of course the FO to complete the career slam.

nadalista Says:

RT @Ringham7: “Nadal & Sharapova generate huge passionate fan base for tennis & feed it by winning titles.Glamour aspect good ‘cos they are so professional”

Giles Says:
Nadal hot shot. A tweener no less. Lol

sheila Says:

gee!!! what a surprise, nadal won again. its either nadal or djokovic who win the tournaments they are entered in. predictable, predictable, predictable. there is absolutely no one who can challenge these two. raonic getting blown away in the 2nd set & almagro, once again, falling apart when the big moments came. nadal & djokovic will dominate for the next 3-4 yrs. i dont see any players challenging them. federer is older, murray, well murray, ya never know, delpo, ya never know, & berdych & tsonga-ya do know, they never can take it to nadal & djokovic in the big moments. french open-best of 5-gee i’ll go out on a limb & say nadal will take it once again. boring, boring, boring. i respect nadal & djokovic, they are great players, but, god, i wish other players would start challenging them.

Humble Rafa Says:

Order has been restored. Peace has returned. Sun will rise in the east again. Good people will win.

Steve 27 Says:

sheila, until 2015 or 2016 you will still bored. It is best to change the channel.

Humble Rafa Says:

Shriekapova is a fighter. I remember several years ago, she when was a top player, she lost 6-0, 6-0 to fat lady Lindsey Davenport. Had surgery, then to come back…impressive.

Not as impressive as my own comback from persistent injuries, but impressive none the less.

Kimberly Says:

what a surprising result!!!!! Lol.

Congrats to Rafa. Should at least build a little confidence. Hopefully he can put in a decent performance in Madrid this year. Would love to see him play Djokovic and Murray more before Roland Garros, he needs to get tuned up to that level.

Kimberly Says:

ANd great for Sharapova to win, an ugly road to the final, but she defends her title.

jane Says:

I guess Rosol dedicated his trophy to his dad, who passed away 10 months ago. Nice to hear.

jane Says:

^ that he was able to thank his dad posthumously in this way.

Kimberly Says:

I was actually happy to see Rosol get the title. I don’t hate his guts like I do Soderling for the early round Rafa upset.

mat4 Says:

@jane, Kimberly:

I have to find some highlights on yt, because I still don’t get how he beat Seppi, Troicki, Simon… even GG in the final.

Humble Rafa Says:

^ that he was able to thank his dad posthumously in this way.

When you said, he thanked his dad posthumously, I thought something happened to Medicine (Rosol). It was his dad who died. Now it makes sense.

jane Says:

HR, I worded both of those posts badly; sorry for any confusion.

Rosol dedicated the trophy to his late father, which I thought was a nice gesture. I garbled my expression of that. Oops. : /

John Says:

^^^I get it…

This Rosol 2.0 Shows up, the one that gets lucky.

Cause when I play with broken knee, no?

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