Match report

David Ferrer ©
French Open
Semi final
6/8/12 1 2 3 Tot
es  David Ferrer 2 2 1 0
es  Rafael Nadal 6 6 6 3
Rafael Nadal ©
  • Nadal destroys Ferrer to reach Roland Garros final

    6/8/12 4:28 PM | Cheryl Murray
    Rafael Nadal put on a clay-court clinic against countryman David Ferrer to advance to the final of the French Open.

    This match featured the very best of Rafael Nadal on clay. The world No. 2, who is going after a record seven French Open titles on Sunday, was in devastating form as he beat countryman David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.

    Ferrer, who is ranked sixth in the world, is considered by many pundits to be the fourth best player in the world on clay right now, and even still he was unable to even press Nadal more than once much less secure a service break.

    Nadal had one dodgy service game in the first set at 2-1 in which Ferrer actually earned a pair of service breaks on a few loose points. But Nadal pulled it together quickly and wiped away the chances. The missed opportunities proved to be the turning point of the short match.

    Nadal came back in Ferrer's very next service game, earning the first service break of the match. From then on, the Spaniard played exquisite clay-court tennis. He put on a display of angles, excellent court sense and superior movement, even over the nimble Ferrer. Of particular note is that Nadal went 13 for 13 on points at net, including a memorable point he played on his backside after falling over on court.

    Nadal finished the brief match with 26 winners and 16 unforced errors. He awaits the winner of the second blockbuster semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

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Ferrer could have made it more interesting,if he had sent that sitting ball to the open court at 1/2 30/40.Instead,he sent mild forehand straight to Rafa. He was never the same player again.Ferrer is physically tough,but mentally not so much,at least not against the top 3.

Ice , 6/8/12 5:07 PM

McEnroe was commenting that some of the movements today were not even practiced in his time. For example, while sliding into and swinging a return simultaneously prepare and quickly reverse movement to start running in the opposite direction. He explained that this was unthinkable before the modern racquets, because you get so much more power over them, and because the sweet spot is larger so you have some room that now allows these kinds of super-coordinated acrobatics. Translation: not only has the game become that much more physically demanding in terms of sheer endurance and strength, to be able to compete at the highest level you have to have even higher coordination and flexibility abilities. Ie, try to emulate Rafa and Novak.

Makes Rafa's achievements even more impressive on that most demanding surface - in terms of these changes (physicality and coordination) - traditional clay.

Major congrats!

And major congrats to Ferru for making the semi and for playing as well as he could while facing the impossible.

chlorostoma , 6/8/12 5:10 PM

Even though Ferrer lost against Rafa I feel that he has a lot to be proud of by reaching the semi finals of RG for the first time. He has had a fantastic clay court season and I hope he will do just as well in the upcoming tournaments.

I am so proud of our Rafa for playing such amazing tennis against a worthy opponent.

I hope Rafa's fantastic level of tennis will continue on into the final and beyond.

Vamous our dear Rafa & God bless you.

schatz , 6/8/12 5:21 PM

Nadal played well Ferrer didnt play too well result was a 1 sided match

tennis2011 , 6/8/12 5:25 PM

check out that scoreline! too par poor David was under-par, but well done to Nadal.

mriiidula , 6/8/12 5:30 PM

I have never seen anyone play better on a tennis court, that was a display of genius by Rafa.

nadline , 6/8/12 5:32 PM

mriiidula, 6/8/12 5:30 PM

No, no, no that is too conclude Ferru was under par on the basis of the scoreline. Please watch the match again if you have the time, Rafa did not allow Ferru any space.............that was the usual Ferru out there.

rafaisthebest , 6/8/12 5:38 PM

rafaisthebest, 6/8/12 5:38 PM

I personally don't think that was the usual ferrer, yes i didn't watch the entire match but saw bits of it and ferrer was spraying errors everywhere. that's not to take anything away from nadal, who did play a fantastic game and would hv won with the same scoreline no matter which ferrer shows up, but i think you're doing ferrer an injustice by saying thats how he always is..

mriiidula , 6/8/12 5:50 PM

If you watched the Barcelona and Rome matches Ferru played against Rafa you will notice 2 things:

1. Ferru comes out guns blazing in the 1st set. His strategy is clear: win the 1st set and carry momentum into the 2nd and so on...
2. This strategy failed in Barcelona and Rome and what happens when Ferru's strategy fails, he gives up.

It was no different today. The first 4 games Ferru came out firing on all cylinders. In fact he could have broken Rafa and gone ahead in the set. Ferru was holding his service games easy.

As in Rome and Barcelona, Rafa hung tough and used his 1 break point opportunity to break Ferru's serve and take the set.

After this, Rafa slowly applied the pressure until you could see the belief drain from Ferru.

This was Barcelona and Rome redux, hence my comment that this is how Ferru is always.

Unlike you, I base my comments from actually watching the whole match, including Barcelona and Rome............not snippets.

rafaisthebest , 6/8/12 6:19 PM

guess we disagree then.

mriiidula , 6/8/12 6:31 PM

Those who think Ferrer didn't do his best are just reluctant to accept how brilliant Rafa was. Even the commies were totally gobsmacked, even though they expected Rafa to win.

nadline , 6/8/12 6:45 PM

Agree with ritb & nadline.

The match stats back up how good Rafa was - Ferrer does not roll over for anyone and anybody who thinks so is doing him a disservice.

Having just watched a disappointing match between Fed & Novak it looks as though history will be made in the final which is great really.

I hope that Rafa will play amazing tennis in the final and that Ricky's prediction will come to pass.

schatz , 6/8/12 7:43 PM

Ahem dear RITB, "slaughter" was the right word, methinks...;)

deuce , 6/8/12 7:58 PM

If Rafa plays like he did today and Nole plays like he did today, there is only one winner tomorrow - the King of Clay.

Let's face it, even Ungur would have beaten Federer today, or Goffin. Seppi missed his chance of making his 1st slam final. Had he taken Nole out, he would most certainly have taken Federer out.

nadline , 6/8/12 8:14 PM

Like I said, Nole beats this Rafa on Sunday, I will bow to him....................

But let the boys play the match first..................

rafaisthebest , 6/8/12 8:14 PM

Interesting picture of Rafa and Uncle Toni discussing tactics during the rain delay:

rafaisthebest , 6/8/12 9:07 PM

Espn's take on Rafa's match today:

"Ferrer is the sixth-ranked player in the world and one of the four greatest clay-court players in the game today. He played the same kind of active, attacking power tennis -- in fact, better against Nadal -- that he did in defeating Andy Murray in four sets but still won just five games against Nadal.

The fourth game of the first set Friday decided the match and underscored just how formidable Nadal has been in this tournament -- and underscored what kind of pressure Djokovic will face. Leading 2-1, Ferrer pounded backhands at Nadal and then put him away with a forehand volley for a break point and a chance to lead 3-1. Nadal responded with a vicious forehand rally that Ferrer absorbed before Nadal ripped a forehand winner." ch-open-rafael-nadal-draining-all-suspense

rafaisthebest , 6/8/12 9:25 PM

Federer says:
"I'm sure it's going to be a good match, I have no idea what the conditions are going to be, if it's going to be rainy or slow or fast. I mean, it's never going to be fast here because this year the balls are very slow. Yeah, my pick is not a surprising one. I obviously pick Rafa. I think he's the overwhelming favorite."

" They're going to play well, I can tell you, pressure or no pressure," Federer said. "They're used to it. Novak has more pressure because he's never won here, I think. I was in the same situation twice for the four in a row. But Rafa has won six times here. Of course it would be great to win for a seventh time. But Novak he's never won the tournament, so who knows? Maybe luck will be on his side again. Well, Novak therefore will have more pressure, I think, which is quite normal, even though everybody thinks that Rafa is going to win. I think Novak has more pressure on him. To be in this situation you have to win three Grand Slams in a row again, which is more difficult."

nadline , 6/8/12 9:26 PM

Ferru played well, but couldn't afford the errors he made, given the way Rafa was playing.

mara002 , 6/8/12 9:35 PM

Bonker - I hope you are going to wish Rafa & us good luck too :)

schatz , 6/8/12 11:03 PM

Ferru played well, but couldn't afford the errors he made, given the way Rafa was playing. mara002, 6/8/12 9:35 PM

The way Rafa was playing was what caused most of Ferrer's errors. When Rafa is in that mood you have to go for the lines to try to beat him and the result is always errors a plenty... just ask Federer.

lluisa , 6/8/12 11:12 PM

@Schatz... of course I wish Nadal also the best in the final. If Federer isn't involved in a match, I hope that tennis wins. So good luck to all the Nadal fans out there!

He's been in devastating form so far... couldn't watch the match because I was working, so I can't judge his semi. The score says it all ;-)

Quite the ocassion for Nadal and Djokovic. Both chasing history and records. Wish them both well and hopefully this match will live up to the expectations!!! Wish it would have been Federer contesting Nadal, as they've been in so many historic matches in the past. But Djokovic fully deserved his spot in the finals.

Bonker , 6/9/12 1:44 AM

Forcing errors out of your opponent is part of clay court tennis, isn't it? Rafa and Ferrer were playing clay court tennis; Fed and Nole, OTOH, were playing hard court tennis on clay. It's just that they're easily much better players than the rest in their half of the draw that no matter how lousy they played, they still scrapped through their draw to meet in the SF. This SF was an error prone match from both. It's unbelievable that Fed would lose in straight sets despite breaking serves so many times and leading so many times during the sets.

Rafa OTOH, played his usual clay court match and won rather comfortably in the end. He still has a few more gears to move up to. His clutch serving is the most impressive aspect of his game here at RG. When he was facing break points, he simply could serve his way out of trouble. His first serve % may be a bit low, but he served well when he needed it most. He certainly will need that for his Sunday match, as Nole's returns are the best among all players.

I know as long as Rafa doesn't let his nerveousness gets to him, he'll beat this Nole. Nole may play lights out tennis to try and complete his Nole slam, but I feel his lights out tennis on clay is still not good enough to match or best the best clay court game from the best clay court player that ever lives.

luckystar , 6/9/12 6:03 AM

A Tignor special, as usual, and hti is the bit I like most:

"Toni Nadal told the Times that he had been ?entranced? by Bjorn Borg?s precise and assured movement on clay, and he thinks Rafa?s footwork is the most underrated aspect his clay game. To me, watching him today, at his best, his movement is impossible to separate from his shots themselves; one flows into the other." .html#comments

And this, my friends, explains why Rafa could not play on the blue clay in Madrid, his movement and his shots are entertwined. Take away his movement, you take away his game.

rafaisthebest , 6/9/12 9:18 AM


Rafa's style is the most ingenious of all and people refuse to acknowledge it. Even though I couldn't put it in such precise terms myself, it explains precisely why I was drawn to Rafa from the very first time I saw him. Infact, I can tell when Rafa is struggling because his movement is stuttered and he hits the ball from a position where he is not feeling comfortable but once he starts flowing around the court he is in his elements.

nadline , 6/9/12 10:13 AM

^^^^That's the word that was eluding me, stutter! I have been trying to figure out what it was about Rafa's game in 2011 which made him look uncomfortable was the movement or lack of flow thereof, he was STUTTERING on court. He just looked ungainly on court, obviously so during the clay season.

rafaisthebest , 6/9/12 11:13 AM

Nice quote from Kevin Mitchell in today's Guardian, "Maybe being humble-of which there should be no doubt-is Nadal's greatest triumph."

deuce , 6/9/12 11:56 AM

^^^^It's what keeps him grounded, deucy, and why he keeps on improving. If he had airs and graces his attitude would be I am the best on clay already so I do not have to practice much...................

rafaisthebest , 6/9/12 4:20 PM

Rafans, remember when Rafa was going for his Rafa slam in Melbourne and Laver was all over the airways telling anyone who would listen that this was not a proper Slam, his was the only proper Slam? I have not heard him denigrate Nole's ambition in that regard in the same manner, have you?

Instead, Mr. Laver has been quoted extensively waxing lyrical about Nole's ambition (as he should).

Why do people have to make their "evil eyes" towards Rafa so obvious?

rafaisthebest , 6/9/12 4:56 PM

Thanks for that deuce - I must say it is one of the reasons why I am a fan of his.

schatz , 6/9/12 4:59 PM

That winds me up too ritb but this sort of thing happens all the time. I don't understand it myself because Rafa is such a decent person and also a great tennis champion. He has it all really - maybe that is the problem.

I don't think he enjoyed it when he had to give the AO trophy to Rafa in 2009 instead of Fed - priceless. I think it was Chris Bradnam who said at the beginning of the match that he had spoken to Laver and "unofficially" he had said that he wanted Roger to win! Enough said really.

schatz , 6/9/12 5:48 PM

Why, because deep down they are all threatened by Rafa. Laver probably doesnt truly believe that Djokovic could actually pull it off, where as with Rafa he did. It was just unfortunate that rafa got injured

isabeau77 , 6/10/12 9:04 AM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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