Friday, March 16, 2012

Indian Wells QF - David vs Rafael Nadal

(Reuters)

















Update
At 6-4, 5-4, there was a moment in this match where David was two points away from defeating Rafael Nadal in straight sets. In the end, Nadal prevailed 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 after two hours and 39 minutes. But even if it wasn't enough to pull off the victory today, it was another great match from David at the end of what has been a spectacular week at Indian Wells for him. And he also proved again today that he's fitter and physically stronger now than he has been in a long time.

Some pics from the match now on the Photo Page.
More photos and the rest tomorrow night (European time).


(Getty Images/AP Photo; montage by VD)

















Prior to their most recent meeting, which took place at the US Open last year, Rafael Nadal was asked about his record against David. And back then, Nadal was convinced that David beat him three times when in fact it's been only two. Confronted with the same question ahead of today's match, he got the numbers (almost) right:
I've played many matches against him. US Open last year, Indian Wells 2009, Miami 2009 [that was in 2010], Madrid, Paris-Bercy... Those are all memories of difficult matches, especially the last ones because in the first ones he always beat me easily.
For Rafael Nadal, #2 in the world, this is only the third tournament of the year. After starting the season at Doha, where he went out in the semifinal (against Gael Monfils), Nadal lost the final of the Australian Open against Novak Djokovic, a match that famously lasted almost six hours. He then took a month off before coming to Indian Wells, where he has cruised through the early rounds, never dropping more than five games against Leonardo Mayer, Marcel Granollers and Alexandr Dolgopolov.

As specified by Nadal in the quote above, they have met five times, so far. And on the first two occasions, at Madrid and Paris 2007, David did beat him easily. Their three encounters since then, however, all went Nadal's way, from Indian Wells 2009 (the match where David held five match points) and Miami 2010 to last year's US Open. But it's not only because of those five meetings that there are no secrets between these two. They often practice together, they know each other well and there's a lot of mutual respect between them.
In their previous matches, including those that he lost, David has shown that he's able to deal with Nadal's game in what's basically a direct battle between their best shots - Nadal's forehand against David's backhand. But keeping up with Nadal and trying to put him under pressure also means long rallies and covering a lot of ground during them. The last three times David was only able to do this for a certain amount of time before running out of gas. Whether it's going to be different, this time around - today's match will give the answer.
The last words I'll leave to Rafa:
It's going to be a difficult match because if he's physically fit and without injuries he's one of the best in the world. He beat Tipsarevic and Tsonga and that means that this is the case so I know that I have to play at a high level if I want to win. We'll see what happens. (Source.)

84 comments:

  1. nalbandian make us happy today
    bring on your best and everything else will take care of itself
    happy to say that you are finally back!!!

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  2. lots of respect between them on and off court, David always leaves a tough impression on his opponents, Rafa included :)

    I hope David won't run out of gas this time, he has gained enough confidence these past weeks to be able to hold on like he did against Tsonga, even when times are hard, be patient and wait for opportunities.
    I can't wait!!!!

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  3. He did great against Tipsarevic and Tsonga. But playing against Rafa is the toughest possible test for David's physical fitness. We'll see if he's ready for it.

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  4. I think he's mentally ready for it, physically is another story, always the main question, indeed :)

    I wish I could understand Spanish a bit more to read articles in Argentine medias without having to use translator... They must be extatic out there, about David and DelPo this week :)

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  5. Well, i somehow think hes gonna be ok physically as well, at the end its a best of 3 and he proved he can keep it up in the 3rd set, of course Nadal is a different story, but i somehow think david even prefers nadal's game to tsonga's flat shots. I say we should worry about his serve, if he serves well, he might have a good chance. And david does play better in the late stages of a tournament, rather than in the early rounds, good luck to that

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  6. I'm excited and I hope David can play a good match equal how the result will be!

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  7. and please no ups and downs

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  8. agree with Noubar, the serve will be an important factor in this match

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  9. The serve is always a concern with David...

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  10. Sure hope David has one of those in-the-zone days. And yeah, the serve really is important. David definitely needs to get some cheap points. ESPN2 is covering Federer and Delpo, but unfortunately not David and Rafa. Very poor choice on their part I say.

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  11. looks like Federer has spent very little time on court again ...

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  12. Del Potro wanted at begin of the match to challange Fed's first serve at deuce which was probably out but the hawk eye didn't work and the empire counted it as ace, then Del Potro lost 3 games in a row. Hawk eye and empire together work against argentines lol

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  13. David and Rafa won't begin before 10 pm GMT, right?

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  14. both players ready to start after warming up.
    Vamos David!!!!!

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  15. Very confident first game from David... hopefully a good match

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  16. today David has problems with Rafas spins and service

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  17. I think he's doing really well out there. I just think drop-shots are not the best idea...
    Surprised that Rafa is making quite a few errors.

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  18. just from looking at the scoreboard, it looks like he is hanging in there, no?

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  19. David is playing great, fantastic backhand shots.. he stands a chance :)

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  20. 4-4, looks good. would be great to see a tie-break :)

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  21. Rafa makes a few errors on backhand returns.

    and another ace by David!!!

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  22. and Rafa hits a winner on his backhand... :D

    break him Davidddd

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  23. Brilliant play!! What a forehand down the line

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  24. yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
    nalbandian at his very bestttttttttttt

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  25. holy moly...first set to David

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  26. WOW! Keep it up David Vamos! :D

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  27. PERFECT way to take that set. Forehand down the line. And amazing reaction right after, David wants it!!!

    Hope he'll keep it up!

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  28. Vintage stuff. Vamos David.

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  29. holding steady so far -- is this the best we've seen him play all year?

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  30. it's not over yet. David has to stay vigilant. Good thing he's serving first in that set too.

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  31. David holds, pretty comfortably. There's something to do there!!! Vamos!!!!

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  32. Oops! 3rd set :( Good David is serving first...but does he he have enough left in the tank? Vamos David!

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  33. a third set feels bad
    it will be tough should have won in two

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  34. it's all about energy now...

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  35. Too bad, looks like it might be over.

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  36. his frustration tells a lot about how he wants to fight but his body's not following...
    Still, hold on David!!!

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  37. Davids not that tired, hes still in it.Hopefully Nadal gets careless.

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  38. Good to see him hanging there. Hope he can break back. He's still playing well..

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  39. yeah,maybe he get's a second wind if he's not too tired.

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  40. he's still in it but the pace imposed by Rafa is getting higher and higher. Hence the frustration. And being down a break doesn't help...

    down a double break now..

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  41. Looks like its over now for sure.But nice try today from David, pushing the no.2 in the world.Hopefully he can win a few matches in Miami too and get into the top 30.

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  42. it's frustrating for David to know exactly what he should do against Rafa, he's still in it but that's just not enough. It was enough against Tsonga, but not Rafa...

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  43. David should be proud of himself today no matter what the result is :)

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  44. well,i don`t think rafa is the better player today.. but he`s the luckier player. hitting the line in a few important situations...

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  45. still not over, no pressure on David, he keeps fighting!

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  46. Great match. Best performance by David in 2012 and a wonderful tournament, he beat 2 top10!

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  47. Amazing match! Great tournament for David..nothing to blame himself for (except for that double fault to give Nadal the break in the second set :s) Anyways, as I said David should be proud of how he played today. And this match should give him a confidence boost for the coming tournaments. He's definitely back and, as the commentator said "it's great to have him back and playing like that!" :)

    Good night everyone :)

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  48. why the drop shot whyy

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  49. Well, bad luck... He played pretty good. It wasn`t the greatest match of all times but a good match. As I said before, nit the better player won today.. And the reaction of Rafa after the match shows me that I am not absolutely wrong :)

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  50. Ok why did he hit the risky dropshot when 2 breaks up???

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    1. That`s true. He was fighting til the end. I didn`t want to curtail his performance. Not at all. Maybe good was just the wrong word :)

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    2. Wrong place for the reply sorry. Don`t know how this happened.

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  51. I think it was more than just a good match. And though it wasn't enough to win it, it was great to see that he didn't fold completely in the end, that he was still able to fight.

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    1. That`s true. He was fighting til the end. I didn`t want to curtail his performance. Not at all. Maybe good was just the wrong word :)

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  52. amazing week for David.
    Sure, a huge disappointment tonight but I'm happy that he kept holding on, engaging all his energy during long rallies.
    I totally agree with the commentators, if David keeps being healthy and fit, there's no reason he cannot be back in the Top15. Because today's match showed he's working hard to play big matches like this.
    That's why we love him, his showed that pure talent is still there, and will remain.

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  53. That match was great. Fair play rafa but david was quality, lost the key moments but fought right till the end, heart and soul. Showed desire for the cause by fighting 5-2 down in the third. Was drained physically but mentally stayed tough and didn't let go like last time possibly in 2009. So proud and he looks so fresh this year and he's back<3 Vamoss Davidd, always believe!! Great tournament and now we'll look foreward to Miami

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  54. That handshake like Mira said to me, was merely a dissapointed one, being that close to doing it, he thought he really could've. They're great friends and have lots of respect for each other

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  55. In the most important moments some bad mistakes from David but a lot of luck for Nadal as in 2009 again in Indian Wells. I tried to keep my nerves from the begin on that David plays so on and doesn't gift his service game, he did it better than in all matches again the Top 4 since his surgery but in the last moment he half gifted a break at 5:5 (drop shot error, double fault).
    I am very glad that David is back but it hearts me watching how such a talent loses against the No. 2 in the world. I am so sorry for David. Always when he lost to Nadal he gave him lots of credit at the net but this time he was too frustrated, but loved the reaction from Nadal when he went to him then.

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  56. The handshake indicates that this is a demoralizing loss. Nalbandian should have won but this is the type of loss that can mess with your head in a major way. That's why I'm somewhat fearful that it could hurt Nalbandian more than help.

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    1. I don't think so. He's not one for taking all that long to get over losses, even really tough ones. I think he'll take what's positive from this week. And that's quite a lot.

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    2. I hope so! Alone looking at his face in that photo at the net makes me crying.

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    3. Tbh, I think exactly the opposite of u mate. He'd be delighted with the way he's been playing. Also that physically he's getting much better would make him even more so happy. I think he'll carry on good momentum to Miami

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  57. If anybody told me before the tournament started that he would beat Tipsy and Tsonga I would not have believed them. He took Nadal the distance and I'm also very pleased that he did not give up in the end when things didn't look good. He's in great shape on top of his game. Honestly if he can make some noise and be featured in more QFs and SFs in some of the other Masters or Majors tournaments I will still be more than happy!

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  58. I agree with Julia. The loss to Isner at AO I thought would really hurt him mentally but he has since bounced back and beat Mayer, Cilic, Tipsy, Tsonga and almost beat Nadal today. I think he'll be fine... if anything he knows he can still hang with the top players

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  59. exactly, anonymous!
    David's been making some noise since the beginning of 2012, in a very good way.
    He always leaves that impression of being "the underrated but tough opponent" in every tournament he's played lately.
    I bet no seeded player will want to play him in early rounds in Miami. And I'm sure David's mind is already looking forward to Miami, to keep up the momentum.

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    1. He may have lost today, but certainly did not disappoint. Hope he keeps up this form so we can see him in more matches with the likes of Nadal, Federer, etc

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  60. I guess right now, he's happy to have at least a bit of a break. ;)

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    1. yay, or play some beach volley in Miami, or visiting dolphins park, or anything related to sea-sun activities haha :)

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    2. Loooool yeahhh hahaha

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  61. And you have lost your right to post here, Chris. That, as well, isn't going to change.

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  62. we love you david
    for me you are the best
    keep up this level and top 10 is in no time

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  63. That was a nice match from David today, and probably more so a good display of his improved physical endurance compared to his past few matches against Nadal. He played well in those last few games in the third set, and did well to keep up those long rallies. His backhand was great to watch for most of the match. It was nice to see after the first set that David still seemed very much like the same player in the next few sets, rather than a massive decline like what we're used to seeing in the past.

    Nadal wasn't at his best today but it was still good to see David sustain his level of play for the most part, aside from a drop in level early in the third set.

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  64. Despite the result, I really enjoyed the match last night. David really gave Rafa a run for his money, he played brilliantly and in the end it was a pretty close-run thing. They are my 2 favourite players so I am always torn when they play. I think David's had a great week in Indian Wells and has shown he's back, and (everything crossed) he's fit. I was particularly impressed at how well he kept up with Rafa in those rallies. He's gained some welcome ranking points and hopefully he can get a decent run in Miami next week to boost his ranking further.

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  65. Yes, next is Miami, I hope David plays so on there and has a bit luck in for the draw

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  66. I will set a lower standard and hope Nalby to win at least 1 match in Miami, since it is his worse-performing Masters series tournament!!!

    I think Nadal has an edge to deal with one-handed backhand players like Federer, but is really tested against strong two-handed players like Djokovic and Nalby. Nalby currently is a weaker version of Djokovic, both physically and mentally.

    But Nalby and his fans should feel very proud that he is sooooo close to beating the world #2, considering he has just started to play 'full-time' again, after years of playing only on a part-time basis. Imagine Nadal and Federer are always out for months on-and-off with injuries, they would also struggle badly.

    I just dont want another injury happens to blow Nalby's momentum!!!

    I hope Nalby could cause some big upsets and have a deep run in the US open. This is the slam he has the biggest chance to do well.

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    1. I also am curious to know why he always had horrible results in Miami? Is it because the court is too slow, the weather is windy, he normally ran out of gas after Indian wells, or due to other hidden reasons?

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    2. Different reasons, I'd say. The conditions surely don't suit him and his game and wind is always a problem for David. But it was also playing injured (2008/9) and bad luck with the draw in the past.

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  67. I watched the first two sets. It's too bad he didn't win but I was so impressed by the level of his play yesterday! Amazing stuff

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  68. What a great match yesterday. I really thought when David was two points from the win that he would pull it off. So close. Almost three wins over Top 10 players in the same week. Amazing. As much as I wanted to believe, I never thought David would get back to this level. If he had just a little more quickness in getting to some shots he would have won. Unfortunately, the surgery has robbed him of that extra burst. The commentators certainly were impressed. So was I.

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