Match report

Rafael Nadal ©
2nd round
10/6/11 1 2 Tot
es  Rafael Nadal 7 6 2
ca  Milos Raonic 5 3 0
Milos Raonic ©
  • Nadal beats Raonic, into Tokyo quarterfinals

    10/6/11 4:34 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Rafael Nadal handles Milos Raonic in straight sets on Thursday in Tokyo. Nadal is through to a quarterfinal clash against Santiago Giraldo.

    Thursday's result at the Japan Open confirmed what was already suspected--that Rafael Nadal has plenty left in the tank for the fall swing and that Milos Raonic still has a ways to go in his comeback from injury.

    Nadal took care of Raonic 7-5, 6-3 during second-round action, booking a spot in the quarterfinals after one hour and 30 minutes of play. The top seed served at 77 percent and won 92 percent of his second-serve points en route to victory.

    Raonic managed to stay competitive early in the match, holding serve without too much trouble on the way to a 6-5 first-set advantage for Nadal. Serving to stay alive in the 12th game, however, the 20-year-old Canadian cracked. A double-fault brought up set point for Nadal and the favorite converted with a strong return, forcing Raonic into an errant volley.

    With momentum in hand, Nadal took complete control midway through the second. The Spaniard's second break of the afternoon came at 3-2 as Raonic's forehand continued to break down. From there it was all over because Nadal made easy work of his final two service games, clinching victory with a routine hold at 5-3.

    "I think I played well," said Nadal, who struck two aces to Raonic's eight and dropped only 11 points in 11 service games. "His serve was impressive, especially at the beginning of the match. Physically I feel fine and I have the motivation to keep going. I am focused on having a very good tournament."

    Raonic won 24 of 28 first-serve points throughout the match but won just half of the points when he had to toss in a second delivery. The world No. 30 was playing his third match since Wimbledon after recovering from a hip injury.

    Next up for Nadal is Santiago Giraldo, a straight-set winner over Dmitry Tursunov.

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Rafa's serve was impressive so was Raonic's but that's his game. Raonic did well enough with his groundstrokes but Rafa was too much for him.

I love it when players get by these big servers. It's so unfair that that one weapon could tilt the match so much in their favour.

Vamos Rafa!

nadline , 10/6/11 5:56 PM

Rafa is 2nd on court tomorrow.

nadline , 10/6/11 6:05 PM

How is it unfair?

If you claim that it's unfair that Raonic, Isner, and Karlovic (etc) have huge serves, than why is it not unfair that Nadal is stronger than everyone else and has a heavier forehand than everyone else?

Why is it fair that Nadal is faster than everyone else?

It's fair because they all put in hard work to develop great shots. Just because you are tall doesn't mean you automatically have a great serve. Cilic is 6'6'' and his serve is mediocre. Seppi is 6'3'' and he has the worst serve on tour.

RickyDimon , 10/6/11 6:35 PM


It wasn't unfair for USO 2010 when Rafa had a 135+ mph serve was it? Even though you're right, good luck convincing nadline.;)

numero , 10/6/11 7:09 PM

Players have to train to be fast and strong. Tall players are born tall so have an unfair advantage given to them by nature. On the other hand if having a big serve was such an advantage tall players would be at the top of the sport.

It's just a pain watching one ace after another every other game. I would ban anyone from pro tennis over 6'6". Lol

nadline , 10/6/11 7:16 PM

how is the fact that Nadal's left bicep is 10 times bigger than everyone else's not unfair, but Karlovic being 6'10'' and Isner being 6'9'' is unfair?

You think if Gilles Simon worked out more he would have a right bicep as big as Nadal's left?


RickyDimon , 10/6/11 7:23 PM

Ricky, read Nadal's book, he talks about how he trains to get his biceps. Murray proved that it can be done with training, but we'll never know with Simon if he doesn't train for it.

Training to improve your physique is quite different to being born tall.

nadline , 10/6/11 7:31 PM

you are trying to tell me that Rafael Nadal and Gilles Simon were born with the same physique?

shaking my head.

RickyDimon , 10/6/11 7:48 PM

Well it's probably to do with diet. Simon can beef himself up if he tries but no one can get any taller by diet or exercise.

nadline , 10/6/11 8:13 PM

Karlovic and Isner don't have to train to be tall but Rafa has to keep training to be fit.

nadline , 10/6/11 8:18 PM

if it's unfair that Isner and Karlovic are 6'9'', then why are they the only people on the pro tour 6'9'' or taller? Why are there zero players in the Top 17 of the world 6'9'' or taller?

It's not fair that Isner and Karlovic were born tall and slow and Nadal was born fast. Same argument.

RickyDimon , 10/6/11 8:43 PM

There is no proof that Nadal was born fast but there is concrete proof that Karlovic and Isner were born tall. Nadal's speed could be due to training hard.

nadline , 10/6/11 8:51 PM

Well I see nadline knows zero about sports training. You can't train hard to gain speed; you can only reach your potential by training hard. Take Emmit Smith the running back versus Barry Sanders. Both trained hard but Emmit was always slower than Barry. It's the reason why Usain Bolt runs the 100 meters instead of the 800 meters. He was born with that speed. No amount of training could make a guy like John Isner run fast.

Furthermore if Rafa is clean and doesn't lift weights then he had to inherit those biceps. Karlovic and Simon didn't. Again Ricky it's nadline we're dealing with so I'm not surprised you're shaking your head. I'm used to reason going over her head so I just laugh now. :)

numero , 10/7/11 12:08 AM

I have two brothers who worked through the summer in construction and they went from Simon like to Nadal like just by pushing lumber and pounding nails. I would imagine that hitting tennis balls day in and day out would do it as well, but I've seen Rafa's workout regimen and he does do some light weights, pull ups, tossing of the medicine ball etc. which works the biceps. And.....dna of course is a major factor. That said, I agree with Nadline, watching that same serve go over the net time after time is BORING. And Nadal's speed is do to training, it's helped him reach his potential (possibly).

Maya , 10/7/11 1:56 AM

I also agree with Nadline... but Ricky's points are also acceptable... absolutely different with how numero used to comment.... Rafa is 100% clean of course...

tettylds , 10/7/11 2:02 AM

So Maya,

Do you think if your brothers train really hard they can match Rafa's speed or run as fast as Usain Bolt? Of course not! God-given talent combined with hard work is required.

numero , 10/7/11 2:29 AM

isner and karlovic are both serving machines

tennis2011 , 10/7/11 2:34 AM

Is not only train, but the gene plays the role also... is the same with IQ....

tettylds , 10/7/11 2:40 AM

I am not arguing whether or not Isner and Karlovic are serving machines (altho I have discussed that subject elsewhere) or whether or not they are boring.

the discussion is whether it is fair or not, and obviously it is fair...

...unless you consider every other player's strengths unfair as well

RickyDimon , 10/7/11 2:42 AM

It is fair... but in my opinion big servers are just less interesting to be watched...

tettylds , 10/7/11 2:58 AM

There are two different issues here - one being whether big serving players are boring to watch; the other being whether or not it is unfair to be a tall, big serving player.

I don't like to watch the big serving guys, never have. That is not the kind of tennis I enjoy. As far as them having an unfair advantage, I feel that whatever innate advantage they may have can be negated by the variety of shots and weapons other players possess. If they really had an unfair advantage, then they would be winning all the time and be ranking at the top. But they are not. None of the top players are big servers. They all have complete games with strong groundstrokes, great technique, physical strength and solid serves and strong ROS. That is more than enough to counter a serving machine.

Nativenewyorker , 10/7/11 3:17 AM

Which explains why Rafa beats Karlovic, Isner and Raonic all the time, at least up till now. Rafa is muscular since his teenage years, Boris Becker confirmed this, having met Rafa in Spain during Rafa's teenage years. Sometimes I wonder with the way Rafa hits his forehand, and rotating it almost 360 degrees above his head, does that contribute to his bisceps development, especially when he started doing that from a young age. His right arm is definitely less muscular.

Also I noticed that after all the training, probably in a gym, Gael Monfils has also developed a nice pair of biceps. In fact I find his biceps bigger than Rafa's, and his both arms seem more balanced in terms of size. I guess workouts at a gym does help to develop one's biceps, and more balanced ones for both arms.

luckystar , 10/7/11 5:45 AM

Trust numero to debase the discussion.

Maybe if Simon trained, he'll reach his full potential but we'll never know because he doesn't train like Nadal.

nadline , 10/7/11 7:23 AM

Novak will not be playing in Shanghai: rticle_1667290.php/Djokovic-withdraws-hurt-from-Shanghai

I hope he recovers quickly and fully....................I don't want any excuses when Rafa beats him next!

rafaisthebest , 10/7/11 7:55 AM

I would hope that maybe we have heard the last of the accusations that Nole was faking and nothing was wrong. He already skipped the China Open, which he won last year and now he is skipping Shanghai, a mandatory Masters tournament.

Nativenewyorker , 10/7/11 10:51 AM

NNY: Call me cynical but taking a a few weeks off to rest is not proof of a serious injury. I would call it a sensible decision to take a break before the WTF - a tournament surely he would dearly love to win to crown his phenomenal 2011 season.

ed251137 , 10/7/11 11:46 AM


So you are still not convinced? The usual suspects among the Fed fans have called Nole a cheater, a fake and a liar. Those are strong words. The truth is that no one can know for sure what is going in with Nole. The injury itself was not considered serious, but is in an area which affects his serve. I can understand that.

I know that you don't attack Nole in the strong terms that some have used here. I respect your point of view and if you wish to be cynical that is your privilege. You don't use personal attacks on players or the people posting here. So you have my respect.

However, there were people here saying that if Nole played in the China Open or Shanghai, then he would be exposed as a fake. If that was their requirement to show proof that he was really injured, then for them he has given an answer.

For all we know Nole could be fatigued and, having a big lead in points, would want to rest for the WTF.

Again this was never a serious injury, just one that supposedly was in a place where it created problems for him to serve.

As always, I respect your point of view. :)

Nativenewyorker , 10/7/11 11:56 AM

ed, I share your opinion on this...Nole desperately wants WTF and he is certainly the favorite to win it, so he is wisely working towards the goal...

natashao , 10/7/11 11:57 AM

@ed, I agree with you that taking a few weeks off is not proof of a serious injury. If that were a serious injury, he'd be out for months. If you were to backtrack, Novak himself stated that his was not a serious injury. Also, when he played the soccer match, the Yahoo board was awash with negative comments and many questioned his injury. That said, it was the only best save face decision Novak could have made, which is to pull out of China and Shaghai, or else no one would believe him. whenever he claims an injury in the future. As it now stands, his credibility is being questioned, so he has to do something to try to restore it. He's also getting a good amount of rest before the WTF, while the others will be all burned out from the Asian swing, and that will enable him to win the title hands down. Can't say I blame him for outsmarting the field.

scoretracker , 10/7/11 12:31 PM

Nole desperately wants WTF and he is certainly the favorite to win it, so he is wisely working towards the goal...
natashao, 10/7/11 11:57 AM

Why would he be desperate? He's won it already in 2008. Rafa should be desperate because he hasn't won it and Roger has 5 already.

numero , 10/7/11 2:13 PM

numero, there's a resaon nadal never won the WTF - there are not easy draws in the WTF. The top 8 of the year play it, so there's no escaping it.

P.S.: Monte Carlo is a 1000 tournament but not mandatory = 1000 points with weaker players.

bleck , 10/7/11 2:29 PM

numero, because he has the best chances to win it, and because it will crown his 2011 year as the best one ever I believe even beating Federer's records in that regard and because he sure deserves to win WTF with the game he produced this year and it would come as a surprise and true disappointment for him and his whole country if he failed to do he has got a motive, incentive, desire, expectations and demand to do it and I am sure Nole will do all he needs to work towards it!

And as far as Rafa is concerned, which you seem to be more focused on, I don't think WTF has been a real goal ever for him being an indoor event at the end of the season for which Rafa has never been made favorite to win anyway...and this year he has Davis Cup to win and that would make his real objective...I think Rafa's major goal might be to win the gold medal at the Olympics next year for the SECOND time unlike your idol who sure has always been DESPERATE to win it but can be unfair...there is always doubles for him provided Stan starts playing some real tennis again...

natashao , 10/7/11 2:34 PM

Well a lot of the good players don't play in the Olympics hence nadal has won it.
I find it funny and a bit desperate when you say that nadal hasn't won the WTF because it hasn't been a goal. If I remember correctly last year against murray nadal gave it all to get to the final (huge achievment for nadal by the way, to reach the final in a tournament on hardcourts where the 8 best players play).
So the tournaments nadal hasn't won is because he isn't focused on them because we know if nadal is focused he wins any tournament he plays?! LOL

Djokovic has had a great year and he deserves everything he has won (except the US Open maybe) as for the future tournaments he has to play them and win them. Djokovic doens't deserve to win the WTF he has a good chance and that's it.

bleck , 10/7/11 2:40 PM

bleck, what I am saying is that from Nole's perspective he probably thinks he deserves to win WTF and he rightly thinks so...

I did not say what you have just interpreted regarding Rafa and you are obviously enjoying talking to yourself...I said WTF has never been a real goal for Rafa because he was never expected to win it (as you also pointed out) as he has always been wasted at the end of the year and indoor events are his least does not mean, however, that he will not give it a try...he will always do his best and he may end up wining it one day, but this year he also needs to think of DC...we shall see...Rafa may end up wining it, you never know...and you will, I assume, be the first to congratulate Rafa?s fans...

natashao , 10/7/11 3:01 PM

@bleck, I don't subscribe to the feeling of some that any player deserves to win any tournament. For a player to win anything, he has to earn it. Most top 4 players are lucky to win due to easy draws and a weak field. This has happened often with the top four, but that's called luck of the draw and who can question luck? I thought Murray's Bangkok title was made easy due to a weak field and an easy draw, but that's just my opinion. I alsoldon't feel the top four should be allowed to play 250 tournaments as they are clearly mismatched, and will emerge as the winner more times than not. It's sad really, coz the lower ranked players who need to win titles to boost their confidence and earnings, don't have a fair chance when a top 4 player is in the mix.I think ATP should make 250 tournaments exempt for the top 4.

scoretracker , 10/7/11 3:06 PM

Jeez Numero, it's impossible to get a word in edgeways without you twisting people's words to score cheap points. Of course we know Nole has won the WTF (or TMC as it was then). The point both Natasho and I were making was that to complete the year by winning at O2 would be a fitting climax to his record breaking year. Dont tell me that Nole is not cherishing that dream.

For good measure he is most likely planning on winning the Paris Masters first - just as a warm up practice. lol.

ed251137 , 10/7/11 4:38 PM

.I said WTF has never been a real goal for Rafa because he was never expected to win it natashao, 10/7/11 3:01 PM

Nonsense! He was never expected to win USO either yet it was clearly a goal for him. Plus he pushed himself to the limit to try to win it last yearso I'm sure it's a goal. You underestimate him.

Regarding the Olympics, it's only every 4 years so not many chances to win it unlike WTF which is held annually.


If Nole weren't hurt he would try to win Shanghai, Paris and WTF not just the latter. That would make his phenomenal year even better.

numero , 10/7/11 7:21 PM

If the WTF had been played on clay the last several years, I don't think there'd be any doubt about who would have cleaned up, and it wouldn't have been Roger or Nole. I thought the venue was suppose to change every few years? I agree that Rafa's priority this year will not be WTF, but DC. Amazingly though, while David and Rafa are playing the Asian swing, JMDP is resting so as to be fresh for DC. Roger and Nole are also taking a significant break right now, and I think they both want to win the WTF badly. For anyone else to do so (considering all others have marched their way through the Asian swing) would be a small miracle.

Maya , 10/8/11 4:26 AM

Rafa won the Olympic Gold at his first attempt. I don't think he's played that many WTFs or whatever they are called from time to time because of fatigue or injury, even though he's always qualified.

nadline , 10/8/11 7:04 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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