Match report

Jarkko Nieminen ©
2nd round
4/18/12 1 2 Tot
fi  Jarkko Nieminen 4 3 0
es  Rafael Nadal 6 6 2
Rafael Nadal ©
  • Nadal off to winning start at Monte-Carlo Masters

    4/18/12 3:58 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Rafael Nadal kicks off his Monte Carlo campaign with a straight-set win over Jarkko Nieminen on Wednesday. Nadal will go up against Mikhail Kukushkin in the third round.

    Rafael Nadal beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-3 in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Wednesday afternoon. Nadal earned four breaks and did not double-fault a single time as he prevailed in one hour and 26 minutes.

    Playing his first match since a Miami withdrawal due to knee tendinitis, Nadal wasted no time getting back on track. He broke in the opening game with a winning forehand volley at 15-40 and never came close to giving it back. The seven-time champion dropped only seven points in five service games and did not face a single break point. Nadal had a set point on Nieminen's serve at 5-3 but missed it and settled for closing it out one game later.

    Nieminen had put up a good fight throughout the opening frame of play, but he fell into a virtually insurmountable hole early in the second. The 30-year-old Finn went down 0-40 at 1-1 and donated serve one point later by sending a backhand into the top of the net.

    Nadal added one more break en route to a commanding 5-2 lead before suddenly getting broken for the first time all day. Nieminen did well to battle from start to finish, but his serve was a liability and he could not stay in the match at 3-5. The underdog's fourth double-fault at 15-40 ended the proceedings.

    Nadal served at 65 percent and won 71 percent of both his first and second-serve points. Next up for the second-ranked Spaniard is qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin.

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A good start. I think he was pacing himself, he knew there was no danger of losing to Jarkko so he did not have to go for broke. So enjoyable watching Rafa against anyone, he draws the best out of his opponents.

nadline , 4/18/12 4:49 PM

Congrats to Rafa, a decent performance against a tricky opponent. A good test for him and he has done enough to win. A good match from both players, Jarko can really play good attacking tennis from all over the court and some incredible defence too but at the end of the day, Rafa is simply too good for him.

luckystar , 4/18/12 5:04 PM

and now he gets to play Kukushkin

RickyDimon , 4/18/12 5:32 PM

no more bagels and breadsticks for rafa!
maybe that is just not fair his level has certainly dropped over the last few years and is stoll dropping I might add. probably get some stick from the mindcontrole for this post.

advan , 4/18/12 5:42 PM

I have a feeling it will be snowing in Monte Carlo on Rafa can build his very own snowman!!!!

rafaisthebest , 4/18/12 5:43 PM

no snowmans in April

RickyDimon , 4/18/12 6:23 PM

nadal wasn't very impressive today lets see if he can raise the level of his play

tennis2011 , 4/18/12 6:27 PM

Oh give it up won't jinx Rafa this time!! It will be a big fat 8 and you know it................even Borg can feel it, he was there watching Rafa today.

rafaisthebest , 4/18/12 7:04 PM

sadfan, if you don't like Rafa why spend so much time worrying about him. You have nothing to say about anyone else yet you complain that too much is written about him and you are part of that.

If you hate Rafa so much, why bother to watch his matches?

nadline , 4/18/12 7:17 PM

fed does not play now so sadfan is sadfan wiht nothing glad to say.

Wipe away tears sadfan. Your Federer loves you.

hawkeye , 4/18/12 7:51 PM

Well done Rafa - good win.

schatz , 4/18/12 7:59 PM

No snowmen in april! LOL and so true. Dimon can talk tennis only if his US roots doesnt hold him back

advan , 4/18/12 8:08 PM

sadvan, tell you what, let me know if you get some stick and you trust me I tell you what to do with this stick

hawkeye , 4/18/12 8:12 PM

sadfan is a closet Rafan. He is the re-incarnation of AttentionSeeker or whatever he was called. Most posters will know who I mean. He is the Rafa anti-jinx agent.

nadline , 4/18/12 8:27 PM

There have been a lot of people "concerned" about Rafa's knee. Well, here is what Rafa had to say about his knee after his 2nd round match today:

Final Nadal quote: "?I said all day, you know, I feel that I can play with no limitations today. The knee is still there." (twitter @tennisConnected)

Hahaha, vintage Rafa-speak!!!

rafaisthebest , 4/18/12 8:51 PM

so excuses already taken into effect by everyone else but Rafa.

advan , 4/18/12 8:58 PM

Rafa said that his knee hurts a little, but not anything that will affect how he plays. That's from his post-match press conference. I think that's what he meant by "the knee is still there". It is Rafa speak, but it's his way of saying that he still has a little pain but it will not affect his game.

I didn't get to see the match, but it sounds like Neiminen played some decent tennis and gave Rafa a chance to get some valuable match play. Rafa is coming in with virtually little to no practice, so these first couple of matches will give him a chance to work off any rust.

I may actually have a chance to see his next match, given that it is much later.

Nativenewyorker , 4/18/12 9:02 PM

Hawkeye - love your sense of humour.

schatz , 4/18/12 9:34 PM

"Oh give it up won't jinx Rafa this time!! It will be a big fat 8 and you know it................even Borg can feel it, he was there watching Rafa today."
rafaisthebest , 4/18/12 7:04 PM

It will be a "big fat" 8 for nadal alright... 8 straight loses to Djokovic that is.

bleck , 4/18/12 11:37 PM

nadline, do you imply advan is attackingtennisrules? I wish this was him because I kind of loved his posts...although he was always putting Rafa down and complaining about his game, saying that Rafa was done etc. his anti-jinx role had results...he did great job at times...:) One may think us Rafans like to be tortured, and call me crazy, but I honestly missed posts of ATR at tennistalk...Rafa was kind of "protected" when attackingtennisrules was around...:)

natashao , 4/18/12 11:46 PM

No, I don't think this person is attackingtennisrules at all. That person's comments were even shorter. Just a line or two and not bad grammar. This sounds so much like sienna.

ATR used to spam the site all over the place until no one could get a comment in edgewise. It was kind of funny and he did become sort of an "anti-jinx".

This person has disgruntled rabid Fed fan looking to make trouble, written all over.

Nativenewyorker , 4/19/12 2:00 AM

bleck - well played!

RickyDimon , 4/19/12 3:03 AM

blook, ask me this then. you are fed fan or nole fan or only no nadal fan. do not be so sad like sadfan with stick. do not worry. roger still play better than ferrer and rely was number 1 in tennis long time ago believe me is true never forget.

hawkeye , 4/19/12 3:04 AM

It will be a "big fat" 8 for nadal alright... 8 straight loses to Djokovic that is.
bleck , 4/18/12 11:37 PM

bleck - well played!
RickyDimon , 4/19/12 3:03 AM

Ricky is now firmly in the anti-nadal camp. Picking anyone against Rafa now makes sense.

nadline , 4/19/12 8:12 AM

NNY: Be careful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We've been asked not to imply that there are posters using multiple names even when it is blatantly obvious who they are. Or should it be who they were ;-)

ed251137 , 4/19/12 8:38 AM

Well what the heck happened here? Iam stupified but i have to agree with the nadline poster! Ricky Dimon after not picking Rafa to win against Djokovic. after using somekind of humorous attempt to relief some tension for the raged rafafarian mob in order to ease down on his eigth win in row. They already were spendong the pricemoey. you are now labelled as anti rafa ! i guess if youre not with them then your against them. sick persons.

advan , 4/19/12 8:46 AM


Thanks for the reminder. Do you enjoy reading this nonsense?

Let's talk tennis. I got to see Rafa's first match on the tennis channel. Thank goodness they are rerunning everything. I can't stay up all night. I thought it was a decent effort for him in his first match. He started serving better as the match went on. Niemenin put in a respectable effort.

Rafa was missing some forehands that he would normally make. More match play will do the trick. It was great seeing him and I thought he moved very well.

Nativenewyorker , 4/19/12 8:55 AM

Ricky makes Federer fanboys happy with his consistent anti-Rafa predictions in matches that matter, which has been going on for years not since Nole's dominance last year. Ricky ALWAYS picks Murray over Rafa despite their h2h, now I can see where his gut feeling is coming from.

nadline , 4/19/12 8:56 AM

Ricky is now firmly in the anti-nadal camp. Picking anyone against Rafa now makes sense.

nadline, 4/19/12 8:12 AM

Sooner rather than later............they make their way out of the woodwork!

......and after Rafa bites the trophy, they will be eerily quiet............sigh.


rafaisthebest , 4/19/12 9:59 AM

Here's what I do not get:

Rafans: in spite of the fact that Rafa hasn't won any tournies since RG 2011, they are still chirpy and cheering on their guy.....

Fedfans: in spite of the fact that Fed has won tournies (how many who knows, I don't keep track of his whatever), his fans are grumpy and focussed on putting Rafa down......

Fedfans, go take pictures of Fed and Mirka somewhere wherever he is instead of putting yourselves through the excruciating pain of watching Rafa play........and leave us to enjoy Rafa............

rafaisthebest , 4/19/12 10:06 AM

, 4/19/12 8:55 AM

I fully agree with your analysis of the match...Rafa made a decent performance for the first match on clay, enough for us to see that he will be the man to beat during this clay swing...


Maybe Ricky just enjoys our confrontation with Fed fans...:) but I must admit that I have known for a while now that Ricky is in Fed camp...haven't you noticed that already? I am not at all surprised over his support to our die hard Fed fun blecky...

natashao , 4/19/12 10:08 AM

It was very clear that Ricky was not a Rafa supporter. I wonder how no one even saw that. It was obviously clear since 2011 start when there arrived a dominant nemesis for Rafa, he got someone to comfortably pick against Rafa..something he couldnt do with Fed against Rafa.

I also am of the opinion, Cheryl is a little inclined more towards Rafa than Fed/Nole

sanju , 4/19/12 11:06 AM

Yes, ritb. If you support a player it's got to be through thick and thin. A fair weather friend is not a sincere fan.

nadline , 4/19/12 11:09 AM

Topic for discussion. Why has Verdasco got a strapping on his left knee?

nadline , 4/19/12 2:45 PM

^^^^putting on my troll hat: maybe it's Rafa's knee he's borrowed! That should get them talking.............

rafaisthebest , 4/19/12 3:27 PM

Look it should be obvious to all and sundry that one can be entirely critical & dismissive about anyone or anything as long as it is not...

a. Rafael Nadal
b. Roger Federer
c. Andrew Murray
d. Novak Djokovic
e. Osama Bin Laden

Tick off the appropriate one according to affiliation.

Twinge , 4/19/12 3:50 PM

To go back to the injuries saga. Murray called for the trainer to tape his finger during his match with Benn and nothing about that anywhere. No breaking news that Murray has a sore finger, no blogs and no debates anywhere.

Did anyone ask him about that at his presser? I doubt it. So he didn't have to expand on it like you know who would have had to and then blamed for talking about it.

nadline , 4/19/12 3:55 PM

Journalist: Andy, you called the trainer to tape your finger during the match. Could you tell us more about that?

Andy: It was just a small blister, nothing serious.

Journalist: How long have you had the blister.

Andy: Not long.

Journalist: Did you have it when you played so well against Troicki?

Andy: No I didn't.

Journalist: Do you think this will affect you throughout the rest of the tournament?

Andy: Don't want to talk about it.

nadline , 4/19/12 4:02 PM

^^^ Well Nagline,
I think he handled that rather well.
Closed it right down did he not?
No whingeing, no griping.
Must be all that salty Scots porridge he consumed as a youngster.

Twinge , 4/19/12 4:34 PM

Andy's answers are funny but so necessary IMO...well handled, Andy...he just wanted them to let it go...I like his attitude. The press can be so annoying...

natashao , 4/19/12 5:27 PM

The only thing that's gonna stop Rafa getting his eight win on the trot at MC is the weather...........his match today may very well get potponed to tomorrow in which case he may end up playing 2 matches in a day..............

rafaisthebest , 4/19/12 5:43 PM

Nats, that was a spoof by me to illustrate the kind of questions Rafa gets asked. Murray wasn't asked anything about his finger.

I must be good at spoofs.

nadline , 4/19/12 6:27 PM

No Nagline,
We didn't think it was a spoof because we didn't think it was funny.
I thought it was a real interview!!!
So youre good at interviews, bad at spoofs.
You deceitful minx ;-)
Anyhoo, did he have a blister or not as it would explain things....somewhat.

Twinge , 4/19/12 6:47 PM

It appears that you didn't watch Andy's match. He did have a blister on his finger which the trainer put iodine on and a bandage, It was a few games into the match.

Proves my point. Had that been Rafa, the world and his wife would have heard about it whether they saw the match or not.

nadline , 4/19/12 7:03 PM

My boy's come out to play..................backhand practice session so far..........

rafaisthebest , 4/19/12 7:03 PM

here we go, this is where he regains his confidence on his forehand... VAMOS

willmw101 , 4/19/12 7:05 PM

By the way, Minge, it wasn't meant to be funny, I was trying to make a point.

nadline , 4/19/12 7:05 PM

Rafa's ball length is fantastic today................

Was it Sadvan who said no more bagels and breadsticks for Rafa? As usual, they go all quiet when they are proved wrong.................

rafaisthebest , 4/19/12 7:18 PM

The debacle had came and gone before i could see it. Fortunately.
Read the reports however.
As to your `point`, you have already successfully proven it 1500 posts ago & numerous occasions since as it is one of your main bugbears!
But I dont know what you are going on about this time.
It was Nadal that brought up his dodgy knees, funnily enough. And sorry but that is
bigger news than a blister!
Has he not missed Wimbledon due to this problem?
Have some Perspective Please...

Twinge , 4/19/12 7:20 PM

ha-ha-ha good one!
Not very Nagline like however.
I thought you were above such crudery.

Twinge , 4/19/12 7:23 PM

I'm so above it that I didn't know it was crude.

nadline , 4/19/12 7:30 PM

kukushkin well on the payroll of the nadalteam.
he was just what the dr ordered. wasnt he the one who agreed with rafa for a 2 year ranking?
hehehe we know now where doea alliances are made.

advan , 4/19/12 8:06 PM

^^^^troll alert!!!

rafaisthebest , 4/19/12 8:21 PM

@advan , 4/19/12 8:06 PM

Desperate Dan.

nadline , 4/19/12 8:42 PM

badfan now your delusion. Maybe sore head badfan? you hear voices inside headd? maybe check your medication

dry tears again badfan. wrong guesses again and again, bad maths, bad readings

go back to school and back to doctor

do not watch on sunday madfan or you head hurt some more

hawkeye , 4/19/12 10:03 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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