Match report

David Nalbandian ©
Indian Wells
Quarter final
3/16/12 1 2 3 Tot
ar  David Nalbandian 6 5 4 1
es  Rafael Nadal 4 7 6 2
Rafael Nadal ©
  • Nadal overcomes Nalbandian, Federer next

    3/17/12 4:01 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Rafael Nadal survives David Nalbandian in thee sets on Friday in Indian Wells. Next up for Nadal is a semifinal showdown against Roger Federer.

    Rafael Nadal was tested for the first time at this year's BNP Paribas Open, but he outlasted David Nalbandian 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 on Friday afternoon. Nadal struck three aces without double-faulting a single time as he prevailed in two hours and 39 minutes.

    Nalbandian has always been tough against Nadal, compiling a 2-3 record while making his losses competitive every time. The 30-year-old Argentine again came out firing against his friend and foe. He dictated play throughout the opening set and seized a break when it mattered most at 5-4. A crushing forehand winner on his first set point gave Nalbandian an early advantage.

    The underdog's real chance came in set two. Nalbandian continued to cruise on serve and saw two break points that would have given him a huge lead, but he could not convert. Nadal still found himself two points from defeat at 4-5, 30-30, but he managed to hold and stay alive. That proved to be the turning point, as Nalbandian double-faulted on break point in the following game before Nadal served out the set with ease at 6-5.

    Having lost a massive opportunity, Nalbandian appeared to be on the way out in the early stages of the third. The world No. 74 quickly fell behind by two breaks with Nadal serving for the match at 5-2. Out of nowhere, Nalbandian broke then saved a match point and held for 4-5. This time, though, Nadal steadied himself and finally served out the proceedings to clinch victory.

    The second-ranked Spaniard put in 68 percent of his first deliveries and won 73 percent of those points. Nalbandian served at 59 percent and actually won a higher-percentage of second-serve points (65) than on first serve (63).

    Nadal will go up against Roger Federer on Saturday for a spot in the title match.

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Nervy play by Rafa more than anything else. If he came out all guns blazing, he had enough ammunition to deal with Nalby. Rafa again showed his vulnerability when he's not confident about his own game, and what's with all those time delays between points again? For him taking too long to serve, it only reveals his lacking in confidence and his nervousness, something his opponents would want to capitalize on once they see it.

I hope after this win, he'll regain some confidence, that he's still good enough to win when not playing his best tennis; that way he'll approach his matches with more calm and hence able to play his best tennis. I still awaiting for that match to come, when I can see him firing on all cylinders, and every part of his game is clicking well at the same time and utilizing all his sharpened weapons to the fullest.

luckystar , 3/17/12 6:35 AM

Good luck Rafa & vamos.

schatz , 3/17/12 8:36 AM

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spumpssale , 3/17/12 2:50 PM

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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