Nadal Beats Berdych, Seeks First Cincinnati Title Against Isner; Serena v Azarenka
by Sean Randall | August 17th, 2013, 11:40 pm

Rafael Nadal stayed perfect on hardcourts this season after beating Tomas Berdych 7-5, 7-6(4) in the semifinals of the Cincinnati Tennis Masters on Saturday. Nadal, who won in Montreal last week, is now improbably 14-0 on his least favorite, most problematic surface on the circuit.

Rafa had dominated Berdych in their series winning 14 of 17 including 13 straight. And this time was more of the same. Berdych could hardly make on dent on Rafa’s serve in the first set, but managed to break Nadal for a 4-2 lead in the second only to (predictably) lose it and then collapse in the breaker.

“I finished the match playing aggressive with the forehand, with the backhand, and it’s great,” said Nadal. “I think I played a very good match this afternoon against a very difficult opponent who came to this match playing very well, and I have to be very, very happy about everything.”

Nadal will put his surprising cement streak on the line tomorrow afternoon against the big guy from Carolina, John Isner.

The 6-foot-10 American is having one of his best stretches and Saturday he kept it going, with some help, saving a matchpoint in an impressive 6-7(5), 7-6(9), 6-3 win over Juan Martin Del Potro.

Isner, who had never beaten Del Potro in four previous tries, was in trouble again to the Argentine. At 5-3 in the second Del Potro held a matchpoint on his serve but inexplicably double faulted. Isner, who hadn’t even seen a break chance up to that point, broke Del Potro, then won a long, tight breaker and broke Del Potro in the second game of the third. That was the match.

“I had my chance to beat him in the second,” Del Potro said. “Serving for the match, I made too many errors for these kind of matches. And then in the end, he was fighting all the time. I think he deserves to win in the third set, but I missed my chance in the second set, and I’m very disappointed for that.”

Del Potro really looked wary at the end, almost disinterested. Hopefully he can get his groove back for New York.

Meanwhile, Isner collects his third straight Top 10 win and he’ll need one more, over Rafa, if he is to pick up his biggest career title.

“I’ve been winning a lot of matches this summer,” said Isner who’s also been playing a lot of match this summer. “I feel like this tournament here is where I’m really starting to put it all together. I’ve beaten three Top 10 guys in a row. For me to do that, I have been playing well, really in pretty much all facets of my game. There’s definitely some stuff I can always improve on, but I do think I’m playing well.”

Nadal has beaten Isner in all three of their meetings but they haven’t played since their 2011 epic in the French Open first round.

Because of Isner’s serve, he always has a chance to win any match on any surface, and that includes the final against Rafa. But I just don’t know how John’s legs will be after a long match Saturday and really a long summer, so I expect Rafa to avoid those perilous tiebreaks and win this in straight sets.

After the start of the week many, myself included, figured Nadal would not even play in Cincinnati after his big Montreal win. But credit to the Spaniard, he showed up and his game did too. And if he wins he’ll get the No. 2 seed at the US Open and that means he’ll be Novak-free until the finals (maybe that’s also good for Novak, too?).

In the women’s final, the streaking Serena Williams will also seek her first Cincinnati title. Serena’s won 14 straight herself and up next in the Sunday final is former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.

Serena toughed out Li Na 7-5, 7-5 while Azarenka, in a match just concluded within the hour and one that featured no fewer than 23 breaks of serve, rallied to beat Jelena Jankovic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Serena has beaten Azarenka 12 of 14 but the Belarussian did post a win this year on the Doha hardcourts where the world No. 1 gaveherself a “2 of of 10” for her performance. Look for a better one from Serena tomorrow.

“I’m really excited to be in the final,” Serena said. “And I want to give a shout out to some guy back there – thank you! You helped me today. Actually everyone was so amazing – I didn’t feel great, but you were all so amazing today. Thank you very much!”

CBS will have the men’s final at 12:30pm. ESPN2 will air the women’s final at 4pm.

CENTER COURT start 12:30 pm
J Isner (USA) vs [4] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP

Starting at 4:00 PM
[1] S Williams (USA) vs [14] J Jankovic (SRB) or [2] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA

GRANDSTAND start 2:00 pm
[6] A Groenefeld (GER) / K Peschke (CZE) vs [3] S Hsieh (TPE) / S Peng (CHN) – WTA

Not Before 3:00 PM
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs [2] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) – ATP

You Might Like:
Serena Seeks Title Defense Against Halep In Cincinnati Women’s Final
Serena Gags To Azarenka, Nadal Beats Isner To Raise 2013 Cincinnati Title
Serena Into Cincinnati Sweet 16, Azarenka Beats Wozniacki, Bencic Win Streak At 8
Former Champions Cilic, Azarenka Withdraw From Cincinnati
Venus Beats Defending Champ Bertens, Serena Withdraws At Cincinnati; Barty-Sharapova Wed.

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

128 Comments for Nadal Beats Berdych, Seeks First Cincinnati Title Against Isner; Serena v Azarenka

Steve 27 Says:

76 63

Tennisfan Says:

Would have loved if Rafa could get to play Murray or Djokovic at Cincy. Nt to be though.
Rafa to win against isner with a shoreline similar to that against Berdych

skeezer Says:

Oh gee, woulda been better for our fav to play Fed, Murray, Delpo, Nole, anyone but cheap trick Isner. After all, we King of HC now, no? His potential career ending chronic knees was just the latest ploy of Rafa camp wonderment, no? No tape and Bunny running.what knee problemz?
Oh yes, haters are only Rafa ones. Not Fed, Nole, etc.
Our Rafa is the most innocent of all players, never cheats, never bends rules. A hero of tennis for all time and for all. Junior tennis players to look up to and follow his style and bevahiors. All hail the Bull.

Michael Says:

Change is eternal. But there are somethings which do not change in this World and it is about Ferrer and Berdych playing against Rafa. Well, the match between Nadal Vs Berdych went according to the time tested script. Berdych breaking Nadal’s serve in the second set and immediately giving it back. Again in the tie break at 2-all, he serves a double fault to give the advantage to Rafa. It is obvious that he is feeling the heat when he is playing Rafa and he simply cannot handle the pressure of Rafa’s consistency. In contrast look at his match against Andy where he played freely and got his scalp. It is all in the mind and that is where players like Ferrer, Berdych and even Roger loses against Rafa. They simply cannot combat Nadal’s consistency in his serve and shots and that is the speciality of Rafa. If you need to rate highly one of the attributes of Nadal, it is his impeccable consistency no player can match. He has his downfall, but he immediately rises like a phoenix. This happened in 2010 and now in 2013.

Steve 27 Says:

oh skeezer same old story.
You and Humble Rafa are the funniest of this site.
Keep posting

Michael Says:

Just looking at the match of Roger Vs Rafa. Roger wins the first set and that is a huge psychological boost and it is 5-4 in the second with Roger to serve. He is up 40-30 to make it 5-all. The next point, he overhits a short ball from Rafa off his forehand and it goes to deuce and the slide starts. That was the most crucial point in the match and Roger made that ugly error to hand it over to Rafa on a platter. In the third set, it is 5-3 and even though Rafa was up 0-40, Roger finds a way to keep him in tenderhooks and he makes it Deuce with a range of his fabulous shots. But in the one of the exchanges, he is deceived by a net cord from Rafa and overhits the ball and in the match point, Rafa hits a forehand which seemed wide, but Roger doesn’t challenge and it is game, set and match to Rafa. That is how these matches go often in Rafa’s favour. When the matches come so close, it is Roger who is at the receiving end often. It is either due to stroke of luck or Nadal’s brilliance, but it makes the other player lose his confidence.

Michael Says:


It is simple. Andy and Novak were not good enough to reach the finals. It is not Rafa’s fault that they were beaten early.

Tennisfan Says:

Ya agreed Michael, definitely not Rafa’s fault

skeezer Says:

“same old story.”…


billyboy512 Says:

Is this site going to shut down after Federer retires?(probably by the end of this year, the way things look).

I hope not. It’s a great place for laughs.

Dan Martin Says:

I have my picks up for tomorrow’s finals here – I think Rafa is in one of the best stretches of his career right now in terms of confidence, tactics and quality of play. I hope he keeps it up for as long as he can as excellence should be something every fan enjoys.

metan Says:

Come on, we buy ticket because we expect our man perform better than early match and he could win. What ever the player did outside the court is not a big deal for me. I paid for what they show on the stage.

Can we pause for a moment and reflect this line,,,since sports and particular tennis becomes a profesional, the integrity of tennis is in huge question mark.

Debo Says:


You showed how it is done in Cincy.

Brando Says:

@Dan Martin: what a marvelous thing you write there! “Excellence should be something all fans enjoy”: i absolutely agree. Some here rather than gripe about Rafa should just relax and enjoy his game right now. It’s much better to do so. Thankfully I, all Rafa fans and the majority of tennis fans are doing so. Keep doing your thing Rafa!

Debo Says:

Ever since 2005 there were a lot “predictions” by the fedfans that Rafa will be done in the next two years because of his physical game.
But Rafa has been maintaining his level (to say the least) winning grandslams for nine consecutive years. To top it all he looks good to stretch that record for another 2-3 years.

What happens to you when someone proves you wrong time again ?
Ask Ben and Skeezer.

James Says:

“Oh gee, woulda been better for our fav to play Fed, Murray, Delpo, Nole, anyone but cheap trick Isner.”

@skeezer, how dare you, sir, call Isner a cheap trick? He’s the face of American men’s tennis, the slayer of the world no.1 player.

Our fav beat defending champ Fed, no? Same guy who bagelled Nole last year but was not good enough against our fav on these fast courts, no? Our fav is just too good on these faster courts, no?

James Says:

“It is all in the mind and that is where players like Ferrer, Berdych and even Roger loses against Rafa. They simply cannot combat Nadal’s consistency in his serve and shots and that is the speciality of Rafa.”

Ok, Fed’s old now but he lost to Nadal even in his prime.

metan Says:

Tomas twitting after losing to Rafa,,,,it looks like that Mallorca has much more higher speed than the rest of the world #tb…sooo funny.

Question is :
Is that so dangerous against Rafa???☺

Hamza Says:

Good win for Rafa. Hope he is able to handle big John’s serve tomorrow. If not, then he needs to take care of his own serves and play smart tie-breakers. It’s always tough against big servers like Karlovic and Isner, but they do offer that one game in a set which if one capitalizes, can avert the tie-breaker.

I hope Rafa makes aggression a permanent feature of his game. I’d be interested in knowing how much distance he’s had to run in the two masters since Wimbledon versus his hard court masters tourneys which he won prior to this year. It would also be interesting to see statistics like winners per match in these two masters vs indian wells 2009, montreal 2005, madrid 2005 etc.

As far as Rafa’s game is concerned, it’s not a whole lot different. It’s just that he’s serving great, his backhand is working great, his forehand is working great. This Rafa is comparable to the one we saw in US open 2010. And right now, there is a lull on the tour as Djokovic is struggling and Murray is still trying to get his game back on track after Wimbledon. This was the best time for Rafa to find his game.

Come 2014, and I believe Federer will be the one who’ll have nothing to lose. Yes , he might fall back in rankings further but then in 2014, the only way would be up assuming his body holds up, and his motivation. Doesn’t mean he would dominate the tour but just like the lull we are seeing now, he might be able to take advantage of something similar next year. The opportunity will come for Fed, and it will be upto him to take it. And there’s still a US open to be played this year.

Fed fans should focus on the positives. As for me and all Rafa fans, we just want Rafa to stay healthy. If he’s healthy, he can pull off anything.

rafaeli Says:

Rafa understands the technicalities of tennis better than any other player. He said he had trouble returning Roger’s serve for 1 1/2 sets which allowed Roger to dictate play and make life very difficult for him so he decided to change his position to return serve and from then on he was able to take control of the match.

This must make Roger’s heart sink, because he really thought he’d cracked Nadal al last.

Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa! Stay healthy!

roy Says:


this is a good point. nadal is very good tactically.
for years federer fans have branded him as a simpleton, one-dimensional player etc.
but the fact is nadal clearly does a lot of thinking on court and these types of adjustments are a regular feature of his performances.
he’s smarter than he looks and what many of his idiotic and homo-erotic co-curricular activities suggest.

even though federer is relatively intelligent, in his own words, he just goes out and ”takes care of his game”, ”not worrying about the other guy” etc.
this is tactical stupidity and though it isn’t quite that simple i don’t doubt this has been his primary approach. federer got away with this because he wasn’t seriously challenged throughout his mid 20s, but when nadal, murray and djoker hit their prime, federer got more than he bargained for.
those three guys not only have physical talent but are all bright. and nadal and murray particularly are very good thinkers on court.
and they’ve found ways to break federer’s game, a game many used to think was perfect.

when federer talks of ”new tactics” against nadal, it just means playing ultra-aggressive.
well the problem is that’s all federer’s got against the other big 4. and it doesn’t work too well on slower surfaces and 5set matches, though it looks flashy for a set or so and can work on a good night indoors in 3sets. to say this is a great new tactical approach is to say gulbis is a tactical genius.
in the big picture, just trying to blast these guys away will lose federer more matches than he will win.

but in any case federer will finish with losing records against all three and he had many cheap wins over them when they were kids.
the GOAT with losing records against 3 other top guys from his era. quite absurd.

nadalista Says:

“Muy contento después del partido de hoy!

Very happy after today’s match!”

Smile, Rafa, you have every reason to! And you are making us, your fans, smile too.

Vamos Champ! Good luck against Isner!

queen Says:

Great post Roy!

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Michael Roger should have challenged the call on MP,he chose not to and thats his misfortune,or maybe Roger didnt realise that the ball was out anyway i dont know?,however you make your own luck,and Rafa raised his level when he was up against, i believe over the years such has been Rogers brilliance and domination,it was always a credit to Rafa that if ever there was one player out there on tour that refused to be intimidated by Roger and that dominance it was Rafa,and this is not a slant on Roger in any way shape or form,but credit to Rogers brilliance in bringing out the brilliance in Rafa,if you see what i mean ha ha?

nadalista Says:

@rafaeli says:

“Rafa understands the technicalities of tennis better than any other player.”

In addition, Rafa is able to reconfigure and adjust his game in order to adapt it to different surfaces, and players, in a way that no other player can.

Best on-court thinker ever……….

BrooklynAce Says:

Del Potro has only himself to blame. He was cruising in the second set and had match point then double faulted! Just wow. All credit to Isner but that was Delpo’s match to lose. Severely disappointed with him.

James Says:

RT –
Tomáš Berdych @tomasberdych
At school getting a 5 wasn’t cool…today, it is a mark of success for me!!!! #atpranking

Well deserved, Tomas.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

If I look Rafa now and in 2008 and 2010, I do not see too much of a difference. The problem for Rafa has been to maintain the level of aggression for two consecutive years. He has not been able to do that before. Maybe the level of aggression puts more pressure on his knees which gives up after a year.

I would be curious to see if Rafa can maintain the level next year.

nitesh Says:

Nobody can know what future will hold

nobody expected djokovic 2011 season
and nobody
expected nadal return like this

it seems both are superhumans achieving such greatness in a individual sport like tennis
lets just celebrate their hard work and dont keep on looking who is greatest

KRIS Says:


the biggest fan Says:

vamos rafa

grendel Says:

On the other thread, James said:”Re Nadal’s playing style, Roger may be a more talented tennis player but Rafa is a far better athlete.”

This is tendentious on two accounts. Is Federer the more talented player? I have no idea. They are both monumental talents, but so different that I don’t see how comparison even makes sense. And meanwhile, who says Nadal is the better athlete? A player will tailor his athletic prowess to what his style requires. Federer’s athleticism is quite as extraordinary as Nadal’s – but again, manifests in a quite different way.

WTF said:” He basically does everything Nadal does, only better” WTF meant Djokovic. Again, I have heard this many times, that Djokovic and Nadal are sort of mirror images of each other. Of course they have certain attributes in common, but their playing styles strike me as utterly different. Nadal’s forehand, for instance, is absolutely unique, and one of the great shots of all time. Djokovic’s bh is utterly different to Nadal’s, and far more aggressive. Again, makes no sense to me to say one is more talented than the other.

These sort of comparisons don’t work, and kind of miss the point.

@Brooklyn Ace: del Potro was indeed cruising. Isner took advantage, and credit to him for that, of a truly inexplicable implosion. Came out of nowhere, unintelligible. Hope he’s got the crap out of his system and will be ready in time for New York.

James Says:

Another HC title, 5th Masters 1000 of the season, #2 ranking, go for it, Rafa. Vamos!

courbon Says:

@ Nadalista: Ndal does not need luck against Isner.Isner needs lots off luck against Nadal!

nadalista Says:

@courbon, I wish I had your confidence about my guy’s chances today! Thing is, these beanstalks always make me nervous when they play Rafa, and Isner is developing his game nicely. Not only does he have THAT serve, he is also learning to return now, lol! He will paly for the lottery of a TB and it’s anybody’s game then!

Anyhoo, whatever happens, Rafa has already exceeded my expectations by reaching the Cincy final. I hope he plays with “colm”, enjoys himself and gets to New York healthy!

courbon Says:

Your guy is top dog right now.And even I’m Novaks fan, I respect the guy a lot.
I just read some tread from yesterday and…wow!Some people really need head check.Rafa is the great player on any surface, its just that his clay dominance is so HUGE, that he looks somehow average on HC.But he is not average, he is at the top with Novak and Murray.AND RIGHT THIS MONTH -HE IS ABOVE THEM.
Anyway, enjoy the match (if you can, I get so nervous watching Novak that my wife does not get it, why I’m watching in the first place!)and we’ll speak later when you going to be happy with Rafas win!

Denver Says:

Abslutely wonderful exhibition of returning !!
Rafa should be the best ever returner the game has ever seen by a long way.
Djokovic is very good in returning good serves…..but not bombs from people like Isner.

grendel Says:

Pretty good effort from Isner – damn near pulled off 1st set, but last volley unfortunately hit the wrong part of the racket. the relief on Nadal’s face was tangible.

An irony here is that Isner has been worrying the hell out of Nadal with the high bouncing ball – very hard for Nadal to deal with.

I’ve long thought Nadal one of the greatest servers in the game, and he proved that when Isner had 3 break points against him. Now admittedly, Isner is not, shall we say, a returner of note, but the serves Nadal produced would have flummoxed anyone.

I fancy this 2nd set will be easier for Rafa, if only because I just can’t see I sner maintaining such amazing consistency not just on his serve but on his terrific forehand. Goodness, that’s been good, and has certainly surprised Nadal.

This has been an entertaining encounter – didn’t think it would be.

Denver Says:

Noody would have beaten Isner today.
Fantastic display of serving and returning.

James Says:

Vamos Rafa!!!!!!!!! The 2013 Cincinnati Masters 1000 champion!

nadalista Says:

Unbelievable Rafa!

Sensational Rafa!

The Bull!

3 HC Masters wins on the trot!

Back to back HC Masters 1000!

1st player to win 4 straight Masters 1000s!

#2 in the rankings!

Ties Djokovic’s 2011 record of 5 Masters 1000s in a season!


Polo Says:

For somebody who some people claim could not play on any surface other than clay, that was quite impressive…and back to back victories at that!

Graham Says:

great to see Rafa playing so well, the game really needs him. What an absolute legend this man is.

If someone said at the start of the year that Nadal will win 3 Masters Series this year on hard and go 16-0 on the surface they would have been laughed out of town. Unreal.

James Says:

RT –
Matt Cronin @TennisReporters 48m If u go back 2 Vina del Mar final v Zeballos, who would have thought Nadal would be on verge of winning 3 straight hardcourt Masters? Not me


And some smart people thought he’d faked his injury for 7 months.

ja Says:

@nadalista djoko won 5 straight in 2011..

Giles Says:

V A M O S. R A F A!!!
What a feat winning back to back HC titles! Unbelievable! Thank you Rafa for making your fans sooooo happy!

the DA Says:

Congrats Nadal fans! Rafa continues to amaze. Where did all these rock solid service games come from?

Isner showed why he’ll never make top 5, IMHO. His average return game and tactical shortcomings (2 feet behind the baseline and hitting to Rafa’s FH – really?). Plus those two set points and that sitter of a 2nd serve in the second TB.

Oh well, this certainly makes the US Open VERY interesting.

nadalista Says:

@ja, my bad, thanks for the correction. Can you blame me for my hubris?

James Says:


andyroddick @andyroddick 20m Just heard an insane stat…. Rafa has a winning record against every current player in the top 30…. That’s unreal

courbon Says:

Brando, Nadalista, Hippy Chic, James, Metan and all other Rafa fans-Congartulations!Great match, great win-very impressive.
I have to say Isner played great 3 matches in the row-are we seeing a new Isner?
James, I read your posts last couple of days and they have been great-balanced, reasonable and your predictions are spot on!
Move on Jamie, here comes James!

Giles Says:

@nadalista. Mr Sunday!! Mr sundae as well! Haha

nadalista Says:

This is how REAL tennis fans react to such beauty:

RT @NeilHarmanTimes: “Viewing hours of @RafaelNadal from side of court in Cincinnati this week a real privilege. Incredible to watch. Back to No.2 for US Open.”

courbon Says:

@ Giles: Congratulations.By the way, stop talking a piss out of licoirce tea-my granny loves it.
Its very relaxing and I think that’s where is the problem with Novak these days-he has too much tea so its too relax!Can’t be bodered with winning!

Daniel Says:

Last time a player win Canada and Cincy it was 10 years ago, 2003 Nd he went on to Wn the Open, Roddick. Will Nada, repeat it?! Right nowseems Nadal’s #1 at Year end is just a matter of when. The more he wins the more Djoko seems to fade. Maybe Murray could be the one to stop him on a hard court a match we are dying to see as they don’t play in a long long time.

Tis is just bizarre. How come Nadal being unstopable on HC after an injury comeback and winning all 3 MS he played on hard?! And there is still 2 Master to beplayed and he already have 5 this season his best year in masters and he skipped Miami?!?!?! Just bizarre. He is doing what he was unable to do in his prime, peak years with a revamped game. His BH never look better and actually he is making more errors trying to be too ofensive with his FH than his BH. That wing is just not breakimg anymore as some explore it in the past. For somebody to win 3 sets of him in NY will need a hercuelan effort.

Denver Says:

Rafa is No.2 seed now for US open.

grendel Says:

Isner can be proud of himself – beat 3 top tenners and took Rafa to 2 tiebreaks (and nearly won the first). Most people facing Rafa try to do too much, they’re so worried – not Isner. He showed no fear at all. However, if he wants to actually beat someone like Nadal, he’s got to do something about that return. Having said that, he did give Nadal’s last serve a good whack, and it was just in the hitting zone – and he stuck it straight in the net. Must be that heavy spin, they’re never innocent, these Rafa balls.

So, Rafa’s #2 for the US. Who will Andy play is the obvious question. But let’s say it again, there’s only one favourite, and he’s a huge favourite. Something’s got to go very funny in the works for Rafa not to carry off the trophy.

nadalista Says:

@courbon, thank you for your good wishes, you are a real tennis fan. Can’t wait to see your fav on court fighting for honours with my fav.

@Giles, oh man, Rafa is something else. For me the most important thing is he is now back to #2…..

Congratulations to all Rafans!

Kudos to Izzy, he played a blinder all tournament and this was one match where one point truly made the difference.

grendel Says:

the DA
“that sitter of a 2nd serve in the second TB” I mentioned that – is it possible there was more on the ball than it looked? Hard to see otherwise how he could have missed. Isner’s fh was tremendous today. Yes, he’s not top 5 material, but if he can change his mindset on the return, he can trouble anyone and spring a surprise.

James Says:

Thank you @courbon! It’s good to see Rafa win Cincy Masters. Hope they don’t say he can’t play on fast courts again.

As for your guy, I’m sure he’s gonna come back strong at Flushing Meadows. He might decide he doesn’t care about the #1 ranking anymore and play without any fear or pressure.

Oh did I predict a Rafa win for Cincy? Thanks, but not always correct. I’d predicted a Murray victory in Montreal, you know :|

nadalista Says:

@ja, I was right. This is the first time any player has ever won 4 consecutive Masters.

2011, Novak won Indian Wells, Miami, lost Monte Carlo, won Madrid and Rome. Not consecutive wins.

2013, Rafa has won Madrid, Rome, Monreal and Cincy, all in a row.

Giles Says:

@courbon. Thanks for your congratulations. You are a great sport. Re: the licorice tea joke it was just that – a joke. :-)))

WTF Says:

James Says:

“andyroddick @andyroddick 20m Just heard an insane stat…. Rafa has a winning record against every current player in the top 30…. That’s unreal”

What active players does he have a losing record against?

James Says:


A few months ago Rafa in an interview said that despite losing the AO final in 2012 he was playing the best tennis of his life before his knee gave up. He believed he was on his way to the summit before the injury.

the DA Says:

@ grendel – I don’t think there was much on the ball. It was a reflex block from Rafa and it just sat there waiting to be pulverized up the line.

Maybe working on his return mindset will help. The trouble so far – especially in best of 5 – is that he gets involved in these protracted battles in the early rounds and then has nothing left in the tank. To me it seems that his tennis brain isn’t as developed as the top guys. The amount of times he went one-on-one with Rafa’s FH (and invariably lost) had me shaking my head.

the DA Says:

@ WTF – “What active players does he have a losing record against?”

Nalbandian, Rosol and I forget the 3rd.

Denver Says:

Not Nalbandian. I guess you meant Davydenko.

nadalista Says:

@WTF, only 2 active players Rafa has a losing record against: Davydenko and Rosol.

Brando Says:


Thanks! :-)

I completely agree with what others have said: you are a GREAT tennis fan.

I said it a while ago that for me you are the best poster and fan on here- ANYONE who doubts that just needs to look at the reality:

– Close to ZERO Nole fans here for whatever reason, yet you are the ONLY one here supporting your guy through the tough times.

Huge respect I have for you on that one: it’s easy to root for your guy when he’s kicking butt, but when the tide goes the other way the glory hunters go running and the real fans stick around.

You are a real fan and you are sticking around.

– Also you are not bitter at all to see Rafa- a Nole rival- and others do well right now. That is the sign of a guy with genuine heart and love for the game.

You definitely have my respect C.

And don’t worry about Nole: he’s still HC king in my book. GS are different from MS and I have ZERO doubt that he’ll be there in NY with as good a chance as anyone to win.

He’s too good to be not recognized as the beast he is!

Denver Says:

What about Steve Darcis ?

Denver Says:

And Zeballos ?

Brando Says:

Re John Isner:

Huge props to him on his performance today and in Cincy in general.

Sensational stuff from the giant.

The guy deserves to be top 10 IMHO: way better than Raonic!

To beat 3 top 10 players (Raonic, Novak, Delpo) that includes a win from MP down and also the world no.1 is a huge feat by Big John.

He pushed Rafa to the hilt today- had his chances and was extremely competitive.

That serve is immense, his FH is great and his baseline game is pretty good.

His big weakness is his ROS: IF he gets to improve that then I think he’ll be a regular threat at events as he has a great game with great arsenal for sure.

Above all that: a truly stand up guy.

Kudos to you on your performance this week Big John and also the USO series this year: great stuff!

Brando Says:

Lastly but never in the least:


Well done champ on a sensational win in the toughest ATP major event on tour for you!

A huge win!

Truly deserved and rest well for the USO.


the DA Says:

@ nadalista – Oops, I meant Davydenko not Nalbandian.

WTF Says:

nadalista Says:

“@WTF, only 2 active players Rafa has a losing record against: Davydenko and Rosol.”

Wow. That is impressive. Considering his deficit against these two might be as small as one match, which I’m sure he’ll be able to square if he gets another crack at these guys, which is looking unlikely at this point.

Denver Says:

What are betting odds offered for USO ?
Any idea who is the favorite ?

the DA Says:

Found the stat I saw tweeted: Davydenko, Rosol and Guccione.
Guccione – who he?

Giles Says:

And we Rafans were hoping he would pull out of Cincy! I guess he knew better!!
Vamos King!!

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon thanks for the congrats,have to say i agree with what everyone else is saying,in that your indeed not only a superb Nole fan,but actually one of the nicest and fairest fans on this forum,you stick with your guy through the good and the bad times,but i have to say i completely agree with Brando in that Nole is still one of the guys to watch at the USO,his HC record is still head and shoulders above the rest,he might well be going through a sticky patch ATM but it is one thing to beat a guy like Novak over 3 sets,but to do it over 5 sets,is a completely different animal altogether,and id still back Novak everytime.

Ben Pronin Says:

Nadalista, Novak didn’t play Monte Carlo in 2011 so he won 5 straight masters. Nadal needs to win in Shanghai to tie him.

WTF Says:


“Again, I have heard this many times, that Djokovic and Nadal are sort of mirror images of each other. Of course they have certain attributes in common, but their playing styles strike me as utterly different. Nadal’s forehand, for instance, is absolutely unique, and one of the great shots of all time. Djokovic’s bh is utterly different to Nadal’s, and far more aggressive. Again, makes no sense to me to say one is more talented than the other.”

I didn’t mean to say that they are mirror images of one another or that they have the same style. What I meant was that every stroke Nadal has, Djokovic’s is better. His movement is better, his stamina is better, his pain/fatigue threshhold is better, his ability to retrieve everything is better, his serve is better, backhand, mental toughness, everything. The only thing he falls behind is his ability to generate the amount of topspin Nadal does on his forehand, but this is not something that troubles Nole. Nole’s backhand is more than equal to the task of handling Rafa’s heavy FH, so I don’t even consider it a point in Rafa’s favor when playing Djokovic.

(Five years ago if you told me that some day I’d claim Nole was stronger, fitter, and mentally tougher than Nadal I would have had you committed.)

This year Rafa has gotten the better of Djokovic, but his wins have been close. 9-7 in the fifth set of the French Open, 7-6 in the 3rd set in Montreal. These are matches that Nole was within a hair of winning. But if you go back a few years to 2011 when their fortunes were reversed, Nole was crushing him in all of those wins, except the AO 12. It was something like 7 or 8 finals in a row, including 3 GS. Nole is the only guy to have beaten Rafa at all 3 clay MS, and he did so in straight sets each time. It should be noted that Rafa’s latest run of good results against Nole came almost exclusively on Rafa’s best surface (clay), with Canada being the only exception I can recall. Whereas, Nole’s run of wins against Rafa were on every surface including clay. He needs to beat Djokovic on hard court again for me to truly accept that the tables have turned.

My quote was in reply to Ben Pronin who was mightily suspicious of Rafa’s physical prowess, and considered it too good to be natural. My point was that everything impressive about Rafa, Djokovic is superior at. But he conveniently ignores that in favor of his conspiracy theory that Nadal is either doping or taking illegitimate sabbaticals with the aim of improving, somehow more effective than possible for someone who’s actively playing. That his chronic knee problems are nothing more than hollywood charades put on to give him an excuse to take time off to improve his game. If doing that really was the best way to improve, everyone would be doing it. The truth is, being active is better than taking long periods off, and even Nadal would rather play than be out.

courbon Says:

@ Brando: Man, you make me blush with all compliments.Belive me, respect is mutual.
And I want to ad something-I’v been very impressed with majority of Rafas fans on this site in recent months -Novak has been pretty bad, loosing against Rafa and yet almost nobody was rubbing it,gloating and similar.( when some did a little bit, you calm them down…) I think TX got some nice posters right now.
Novak is trying to chase history.But that is like a athletic run with the hurdles.
While you watching a finish line, you stumble on hurdles in front of you.
I think he will have more bad losses to the end of this year. Loose No1 ranking, not win US Open.Then he will probably not win AO also and will hit the bottom.
Then He will wake up.He will go back to training,rise game to match new Rafa and Andy and finally win RG and Wimbledon back to back!You see how I planed everything nicely for my guy?If just this crystal ball starts bloody working…( I bought it in Argos, I can always take it back!)

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

For me winning 3 HC Masters makes this year is all the sweeter for me as a fan,its great to see him win a title hes never won before too,he wins titles on clay,and its always shrugged off as been unimportant,its a case of so what he won yet another CC title blahdy blah,and just because he didnt beat Novak,Andy,Delpo to win them does not make these titles any less legit,as none of them were good enough to make those finals,end of rant.

Giles Says:

@Denver. Re: USO – ND fav 15/8 AM and RN joint second favs at 5/2. When the opened the books Rafa was 7/1.

WTF Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

“Nadalista, Novak didn’t play Monte Carlo in 2011 so he won 5 straight masters. Nadal needs to win in Shanghai to tie him.”

He meant consecutive events, not consecutive events contested.

He still has a few gaps in his CV, but now Rafa has made the finals of all MS events, including ones that are now defunct such as Madrid on indoor hard, Hamburg, and Paris on indoor carpet. He also won both versions of Canada MS.

In truth, I didn’t think Cincy’s court favored his game and it was one I thought would elude him, but I guess those 7 months off helped him…

courbon Says:

@ Hippy Chic: Thank you sweetie, after Brando- now you make me blush with the compliments.Thanks for support but I think Nadal has to be a clear favourite, with Murray second and Novak with Delpo third.Federer and Bedrych, to me, are after these guys.Whatever happens, I just hope to see good matches, no injuries and good weather. You must be in a good mood- go and have a glass of bubbly!

Okiegal Says:

@Nadalista 2:36pm

Thanks for all the good Rafa stuff…..I for one love to be reminded of all his amazing accomplishments!!! He is one tough little hombre.

I want to wish him the best of luck for the USO.
Hope he hasn’t worn himself out for this event.
Vamos, Rafa…….. and GET R DONE!!!!!!

Giles Says:

@courbon. You are too funny! You have a great sense of humour! Lol. Keep posting

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon lol at your post,i will miss some of the USO,as the tennis x hippy chic is going on a weekend hippy retreat at the end of the month.

WTF Says:

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

“For me winning 3 HC Masters makes this year is all the sweeter for me as a fan,its great to see him win a title hes never won before too,he wins titles on clay,and its always shrugged off as been unimportant,its a case of so what he won yet another CC title blahdy blah,and just because he didnt beat Novak,Andy,Delpo to win them does not make these titles any less legit,as none of them were good enough to make those finals,end of rant.”

I do get your point, but I think there is some merit to the claim. Could Roger have won the all elusive French Open to complete his career grand slam if Soderling hadn’t taken him out? To me Federer was handed a gift from god. Nadal was able to beat Federer, the King of Wimbledon in his own court. Federer had how many tries to beat Nadal in his own territory and had nothing to show for it? Fed had won 5 Wimbledons, Nadal had to beat him to claim the title. In fact, he had to do that to win his first 6 titles. Fed has not been able to crack Nadal in Paris. A win is still a win, but it just isn’t the same or as impressive.

Having said that, Cincy is not on the same level as a GS, so it’s not that big a deal either way.

nadalista Says:

@WTF, 3:42pm;

Thank you, that is exactly my point. Rafa is the only player to have won 4 consecutive Masters events.

@Ben Pronin, my bad, you are right Novak did not play MC 2011, thanks. However, this does not alter my point as @WTF has pointed out.

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

It will make the USO interesting,i wonder with Rafa going back to number 2 in the rankings,he and Nole will be on opposite sides of the draw,just wondering Andy will be the defending champion,on whos side he will fall Noles or Rafas,does anybody have any thoughts on this?personally from a selfish point of view i hope Andy and Rafa are on opposite sides,Roger drops to number 7 as of tomorrow,also wondering whos side he will fall on?

WTF Says:

Giles Says:

“@Denver. Re: USO – ND fav 15/8 AM and RN joint second favs at 5/2. When the opened the books Rafa was 7/1.”

7/1 would have been tasty odds. I missed out. The current odds aren’t appealing. Especially Murray at 5/2, who isn’t on the same level as Rafa at the moment for the same money.

Okiegal Says:

Amen, Hippy Chic @ 3:38 pm……..couldn’t have said it better myself!!!!

VAMOS, RAFAEL NADAL……..from your Number Uno fan from the great state of Oklahoma!! (that can be verified from anyone who knows me) LOL

ja Says:

@wtf He meant consecutive events, not consecutive events contested.

nadal didn’t play miami, so i don’t undetstand the point.

Okiegal Says:

Wouldn’t it be normal for Andy to be on Novak’s side??? Or do the powers that be change things around to suit themselves or is there a certain rule they follow?? Just curious.

WTF Says:

“nadal didn’t play miami, so i don’t undetstand the point.”

The IW title wasn’t counted, so Miami is irrelevant. His streak began at Madrid.

I’m not saying Nole’s feat is any less impressive, merely correcting Ben on a technicality re: Nadalista’s statistic.

I just found out Isner is 28 already. That’s pretty late to bloom. He’s one of the rare players who got a degree before going pro, so he was already 24 by the time anyone had heard of him. I don’t think he has enough time to improve the areas of his game that need improving, and might end up being relegated to being a big server. I’m impressed by what he’s done this year, but surprised he’s older than Nadal. Time is not on his side.

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

WTF yeah i see your point,for me although for Roger winning the FO in 2009 was fantastic,im sure he would have loved to have taken the title of Rafa,the way Rafa did to Roger the year before at Wimbledon,i just wonder how sweet it would have been also for Roger to take back the Wimbledon title from Rafa as well as beating Petes GS record,all hypothetical but i see what you mean though.

nadalista Says:


These are the 4 consecutive Masters events Rafa has played, and won, this year:

Madrid, Rome, Montreal and Cincy. Nobody else has played and won 4 consecutive Masters events.

In 2011, Novak won 5 consecutive Masters events CONTESTED. Miami and Madrid do not follow one another on the calendar……….

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon thanks i will dont drink much but i enjoyed seeing Rafa win a title hes never won before,off topic nice to see Jose back at the bridge ;).

James Says:

The last two players to win Toronto/Montreal-Cincy double, Rafter in 1998 and Roddick in 2003, went on to win the US Open. Hope Rafa can do the same.

He’s done very well this season on the hard surface and must go all out to win the last Slam of the year.

nadalista Says:

RT @SI_BTBaseline: “Nadal says on clay he doesn’t have to play his best to win. On hard court he has to play his best, which is why he’s proud of last 2 weeks.”

rafaeli Says:

Denver Says:

And Zeballos ?


Brando Says:


Thanks and no worries re the compliment, others feel likewise about you! :-)

Re Rafa fans respecting Novak:

Thanks. That’s a kind thing for a Novak fan to say considering that Nole has been on a relative downer recently.

Some were accusing Rafa fans of hating Novak, well seeing a Novak fan say they have been nice to recently when he’s down means alot and say’s alot too.


Rafa fans will ALWAYS respect Novak, and by extension his fan.

He is the toughest player Rafa has ever faced in his career, the hardest to beat for Rafa and a warrior who can go toe to toe with Rafa.

He’s too good not to respect.

Rafa fans always prize a win over Nole the most since they rate him highly, and they do not knock him when he’s down since they know what a fighter Novak is.

After the 7-0 Novak has truly earned a lifetime’s worth of respect from Rafa’s fans. Rafa has NEVER been a guy who gives away matches for charity: he’s a tough competitor. Yet, IF someone does a 7-0 to him then Rafa fans know that other guy is some player and deserves ALOT of respect.

I also have to say: I remember in 2011 when Nole was whooping everyone’s butt and Rafa’s especially, Nole fans were great class act’s and NEVER (to my knowledge) gloated about it or disprected Rafa.

They maintained a respect for him. I appreciated that at the time and so did Rafa fans who were posting here then.

Today the results are going the other way, but the same respect is shown. Which is good to see.

IMHO: there has NEVER really been a problem between Rafa and Nole fans.

ONLY the bandwagon jumpers who started rooting for Nole since they dislike Rafa and thought Nole shall stop Rafa everywhere were gloating about the 7-0 etc.

They are to be ignored: they are NOT real fans of either.

But the TRUE Rafa fans and Nole fans IMHO have always had a huge respect for the other guy and I think they will.

Both are great champions and warriors on court who can deliver alot of classic matches when they clash!

courbon Says:

@ Giles: Thanx. Still, nothing is more funny then you and Skeezer bickering!

@Hippy Chic: Thanks! Jose is great character.He will change Chelsea for better.
I just been to little hippy event in local village-had a good fun, listen to some sitar music and watch donkeys go around ( they are great animals and French hippies always have one around, for some reason!)
I’m hoping that Andy ends in Rafas half for pure selfish reason, like youBut the way Novak is playing, I’m also hoping Delpo, Isner, Bedrych and Federer also end up in Rafas half…maybe also JJ,Hass and Dimitrov just to be safe.Then, he is definitely in the final!
Which he will then loose…

courbon Says:

@ Brando-Great post-You said it all!!

James Says:

Well said @Brando, your post at 4:27 pm

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon i wish id been there,sounds like alot of fun,the one we are going to,we walk through a burning Labyrinth all dressed in hippy type clothing and cloaks etc,and watch the wicker man burn to the ground,its symbolic of harvesting and the autumn exquinox,in 2011 my husband and i went there and dressed as skeletons,we are on you tube,its called the mercian gathering and its in coventry,you should look it up you will probably see us,i would put up the link if i only knew how.

Anna Says:

Guess Rafa will just have to win Shanghai, then it will be 5 in a row + 1. :) His 26th ms 1000 gives him a sizeable lead in that department, and I don’t see that stopping in the near future.

I’m not a fan of big serve tennis, but John’s game has improved so much the last couple years you just have to appreciate the effort. He’s also a big, American sweetheart. I’d love to see him win big someday. Like a slam. Just don’t beat Rafa.

Courban – Very few fans are as level headed and fair as you. Always happy to read your posts.

courbon Says:

@ Hippy Chic: Sound like a druids?Or I’m wrong? I’ll check the link tonight!
But also remember ( just in a case ) whats happened in film Wicker man…

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Personally speaking for the most part even as a Rafa fan,i have always had a good raport with both the Roger and Nole fans,i admire both players and their achievements,after all its only a game,and all 3 players will be sorely missed when they retire,we should enjoy them all while they are still playing as they wont be around forever,and it will be a sad day when they are gone.

courbon Says:

@ Anna: Thanks.Well, I don’t see why Rafa will not win another master this year.He’s just playing great.There is not need to compare Rafas accomplishment with Novaks-Rafa is way ahead.I only wish Novak plays well for next couple of years and win 2-3 slams more.That will make him one of the greats of tennis and give me lots of joy ( and other fans ).Rafa and Fed are cut above others.I like your posts also, now that we exchange post,we are not strangers anymore, so we will speak soon.Goodnight and speak to you soon!

metan Says:

SooooooooHappy,, I am in the middle of party.

Seam, your picking is correct. Thank you! I was scared you jinx, ☺ I bet 3 for Rafa. It was great match ,

@ Courbon, thank you. Nole will baunce back at next tour, that’s the great champion is!..
Do you need new Crystal Ball??? You sound so pesimis,☺☺Nole has 6 SLAMS, I think you have forgotten, that’s show who he is. Cheer up for IUS Open…I am in seven heaven, no.

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon yeah partly,but its all about Paganism,nothing sinister ,its all about sharing,and been at one with nature,looking after your planet etc,not getting swayed by greed,everybody is nice and friendly,we take native american souix drums with us to raise energy,sit around camp fires ,listening to music,its a fantastic weekend we have made alot of friends,and met some very interesting people,its alot of fun.

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon Nole is already an all time great,Rafas having his time,but Noles still a great player,hes going through a sticky patch,but he will bounce back,you dont become a bad player overnight,so chin up ;-)).

Giles Says:

Hey @courbon. You will be smiling in your sleep with all the compliments you have received today! Lol

James Says:

I’d rather Rafa win the US Open and not win another Masters.
The champ now needs a good one week rest before going all out to claim another US Open title.

James Says:

Hey @Giles, so you saw the Bull slow down the super fast courts to win his first Cincy title? Now that he’s won Cincy, I wonder which tournament is the fastest in the world now. Blue clay Madrid? :D

the biggest fan Says:

im sooooo happy for u rafa stay healthy please

the biggest fan Says:

wish u all the best for us open vamos rafa

courbon Says:

@ metan: Thanx.I’m actually OK, not down, but just realistic.Yes, please get me new crystal ball.
You are in seven heaven-good for you!Even if Rafa is a clear favourite for US Open, there is still little chance for Novak…just maybe.
Goodnight, speak to you soon.

@ Giles: There is nothing better then satisfying vanity in all of us.And just for you ( you’v been sport!), now and never again: VAMOS RAFA!!!!!

@Hippy Chic: Just seen clip.It looks brilliant!
I’m bit of a cinic and hardnose bloke, so I don’t maybe openly support that’s stuff and doing it but-just planted 22 trees on my land, got chicken for my organic eggs, collecting my rain water, teaching kids to save animals and insects and similar…It just for a bloke it sounds to wishy-washy so I keep quite.Silly, right?
On the end of the day, we do have only one planet-so where we going to go, if we f*** it up?
Goodnight everyone

James Says:

“There is not need to compare Rafas accomplishment with Novaks-Rafa is way ahead.I only wish Novak plays well for next couple of years and win 2-3 slams more.That will make him one of
the greats of tennis and give me lots of joy ( and other fans ).Rafa and Fed are cut above others.”

@Courbon, as others have already said, you’re a fair poster and a great tennis fan. I hope some of us Rafa fans take a leaf out of your book and stop comparing Rafa’s accomplishments with that of Federer’s. As much as I’d like Rafa to be the greater of the two, Fed has achieved more than Rafa. Maybe Rafa will go on to achieve more than Roger or may just retire with 12-13 Slams. Whether he’s going to be the GOAT or not (which is stupid actually as records are meant to be broken), I enjoy seeing him in action on the tennis court and will miss him when he’s done with his tennis career.

Gotta sleep now, have to wake up in 4 hours. G’nite folks! Talk to you again tomorrow or when the action starts in NY.

Steve 27 Says:

Anothe masterpiece of Rafa Nadal and counting…
He joined to Agassi, Rafter and Roddick to win Canada and cincinatti Masters back to back
Can he join Pat and Andy to win also the US Open in the same year of winning the Masters?

Polo Says:

Am I becoming a Nadal fan? I ask because I am seriously hoping he wins the US Open. My only other wish is that he does not humiliate Federer in the process.

Steve 27 Says:

The Goat herder!

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon glad you liked it,BTW did you see the couple in the skeleton costumes per chance?if you did that was me and my hubby lol.

Top story: Novak Djokovic, Wife, Test Negative For Coronavirus
Most Recent story: French Open: Fans Will Be Welcome At Event