• Sao Paulo - Nadal rallies into semi, Nalbandian beats Almagro

    2/16/13 1:49 AM | Kelli DeMario
    Sao Paulo - Nadal rallies into semi, Nalbandian beats Almagro Top seed Rafael Nadal fought his way into the Brasil Open semifinal with a come-from-behind victory over veteran Carlos Berlocq. The Spaniard is joined among the final four by David Nalbandian, who took out second seed Nicolas Almagro.

    David Nalbandian def. (2) Nicolas Almagro 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(3)

    Former world No. 3 David Nalbandian advanced to the final four with a three-sets upending of two-time defending champion Nicolas Almagro. The 31-year-old veteran withstood 28 aces through two hours and 18 minutes of play. Nalbandian completed the match after winning four consecutive points from 3-3 in the final-set tie-break.

    He moves on to face Italy’s Simone Bolelli in the next round. Bolelli defeated veteran Albert Montanes in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-4.

    (1) Rafael Nadal def. Carlos Berlocq 3-6, 6-4, 6-4

    Top seed Rafael Nadal is through to the semifinal after rallying to upend Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq late Friday. The former Brasil Open champion tallied 5 aces and four service breaks through two hours and 25 minutes of play. Nadal trailed 2-1 in the final set before reaching double match point at 5-4.

    He is slated to take on lucky loser Martin Alund for a place in the championship final. Alund beat Italy’s Filippo Volandri in the quarterfinals, 7-5, 7-6(5).

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The recovery is progressing.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 2/16/13 9:09 AM

Yeah, man!!!!!

Monalysa , 2/16/13 4:44 PM

Rafa was smart to use these tourneys to shake off the rust and get his stamina back.

He will get there. I have no doubts!!!


Conspirator , 2/16/13 4:58 PM

happy to see u guys encouraged but blogosphere is filled with comments on his poor backhand, his return games way below par, his movement way off and too many mistakes on forehand on bread n butter shots too and the classic standing way beyond baseline

sanju , 2/16/13 7:50 PM


Did you honestly expect anything else? We have to realize that Rafa has been off for seven months. It's not like jumping back on a bicycle. Rafa said that he doesn't have the strength in his legs to power through his groundstrokes and get depth and penetration. That's why his shots are falling short.

Rafa needs to get his stamina and fitness back. It's not going to happen overnight. I honestly do not understand some of the exceedingly high expectations for Rafa in his first few tournaments.

I have watched his matches and can see for myself that his backhand isn't good, very inconsistent, his ROS is poor and his movement isn't good. As far as mistakes on his forehand, that's rhythm and timing. I did notice that he is standing way behind the baseline. Lack of match play and confidence will make Rafa revert back to old bad habits.

I think his match with Berlocq was important because he had to come from behind. Now I know that Berlocq shouldn't be able to even challenge Rafa on clay, but this is a Rafa coming back from a long injury layoff. He found a way to win, stayed in the fight and raised his level of play when he needed to in order to get the win. That will help his confidence.

It's not like Rafa can start out playing top twenty players. He has to start somewhere and it's not going to be pretty. I also think that the atrocious court conditions are hampering him. He doesn't want to get injured again. If you have been reading the blogosphere, then you should know just how bad the courts are at Sao Paulo. I think that's why Rafa can't play freely enough.

I think we need to stay positive and support Rafa. It can't be easy for him to have to face these nobodies and have them challenge him.

Nativenewyorker , 2/16/13 8:04 PM

vamos mr rafa. enjoy the suffering. the french open win this year will be all the more sweeter for it! go champ!

vmk1 , 2/16/13 8:32 PM

if any one has a good streaming link, plz share

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 9:03 PM


I found one. Do you want the link? I am watching the match now. Rafa won his first service game at love! Much better serving to start off.

Nativenewyorker , 2/16/13 9:14 PM

is it the same link you posted on the other thread?

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 9:31 PM

so happy rafa saved those break points at 1-1 and now returned better to break serve .vamos!

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 9:43 PM

Did you see the website I posted? That's the one that has the livestreams. For some reason when I post the link, it doesn't work.

Yes, Rafa got the break!

Nativenewyorker , 2/16/13 9:44 PM

Rafa gets the first set!

Nativenewyorker , 2/16/13 9:46 PM

yes NNY i usually use that site but it looks like my internet connection aint being friendly with me tonight so not having any luck with live streaming...thanks anyway :)

glad rafa won 6-3...go boy go

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 9:50 PM

plz just keep telling how different parts of rafa's game are working out there..

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 9:52 PM

Rafa is serving much better in this match. He's getting some free points off his serve. My sense is that he is moving better but still being cautious. He hit a beautiful dtl backhand shot for a winner earlier in the match. His ROS is still not good. He is standing so far behind the baseline again.

My sense is that he is doing just enough in this match. He's throwing in the usual UE's, overhitting and missing forehands that he would usually make. I also noticed that Alund seemed to be testing Rafa's movement in the first set. He was hitting shots to both corners and Rafa didn't slide easily into the ball the way he usually does on clay. He's being very careful on this court.

Nativenewyorker , 2/16/13 9:59 PM

thanks..he'll lose to nalby if he does not you see any improvement from yesterday?

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 10:05 PM

rafa was surely playing better in chile..

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 10:11 PM

Yes, I do see improvement. I am seeing cc backhands and dtl backhands. I think Rafa is testing his groundstrokes in this match, trying to get that rhythm and timing.

His movement looks better but he's still not moving as freely on this court as he would normally do. The biggest improvement is his serving. With the exception of two break points early in the first set that Rafa fought off, he has not been challenged on his serve.

The thing is that Alund is serving well, too. He had one bad serving game in the first set and that cost him the break and the set.

I heard that Nalby served very well with 11 aces. It's going to be tough no matter what. Nalby was tough for Rafa even when he was in his best form. I am going to watch Nalby's match at 5:00 pm here. I want to see how he looks.

I do think Rafa is playing better than he did yesterday. Not a huge improvement, but little things that are encouraging.

Nativenewyorker , 2/16/13 10:14 PM

thnx NNY :) my stream allows me to catch a few points here and there,rafa's 1st serve is rocking in this match.

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 10:17 PM

You said it! The best I have seen Rafa serve yet. Even with the livestream, it's so hard to see the ball that I can't tell who won the point. When the crowd cheers loudly, then I know that Rafa won! The picture really isn't very good.

Nativenewyorker , 2/16/13 10:19 PM

haaha truee! my streAM is working now :D watching..

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 10:23 PM

i hope rafa forces a tie break here and wins it !

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 10:25 PM

Well, Rafa didn't play well in that tb. So now it's on to the third set. This guy Alund is being aggressive and going for his shots. Rafa has been serving so well and then he double faults in the tb.

Nativenewyorker , 2/16/13 10:39 PM

horrendous tie break haha..poor rafa must be so frustrated, he is so used to dismantling opponents like alund...anyway, so rafa has to win another 3 setter to reach the final,i hope he gets an early break....

Alund is not playing badly at all though

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 10:41 PM

true NNY, the serve was absent in the tie break :/

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 10:42 PM

good serving and a booming DTL backhand winner :) rafa on the board in the 3rd...BREAK now

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 10:43 PM

did you see that fist pump :D :D such a great sight :D and that was a GOOD game to break , BIG cross court forehand to win the opening point...races to 40-0 :D keep this momentum going ma boy

vamosrafa , 2/16/13 10:49 PM

Yes! I did see the fist pump! Somehow Rafa manages to raise his level of play when he needs to, but can't do it consistently. There is a lot to like in this match, even though it shouldn't have taken three sets. He is hitting some great forehands and backhands in this match.

I love seeing the dtl backhand. There was a time when it was completely awol. I want him going for those shots, even if he misses. It's the only way to get the rhythm and timing back.

Nativenewyorker , 2/16/13 11:02 PM


Good win.

Nativenewyorker, 2/16/13 8:04 PM

Very well said NNY!

He may lose the battle but he will win the war!!!


Conspirator , 2/16/13 11:12 PM

well, I am glad the match was stretched to the 3rd set ! rafa finished the match playing much better than he started...such a scenario is always great for confidence! I saw some positives in the final set, good show rafa ! yes he should go for for his shots,it was apparent he was starting to find his range slowly...

Nalby is the favourite to win but I am not at all ruling out rafa's chances. If rafa can serve like today, somehow cut down the errors on the forehand and maintain better depth he can take nalby down... and I do think rafa is going to garner the physical strength to compete in the final

Nalby vs rafa is the best possible final in this tournament...shud be a cracker ! VAMOSSSS


vamosrafa , 2/16/13 11:13 PM

I have been checking out the info on vb and Rafa said that his knee was hurting today. Also, someone said that the Sao Paulo courts are the fastest on the tour. Rafa said the court is faster than the USO. He is setting expectations typically low for the final. He said that physically he is ready, but he doesn't know if his knee is ready.

At least Rafa will face a quality player, so he can gauge where he's at now. I wonder if Rafa will step it up, because I have been feeling that he's holding back in his matches.

Nalby is the favorite and Rafa knows what to expect. I hope we get to see a good match!

Nativenewyorker , 2/17/13 1:00 AM

The tennis channel is driving me batty today! Now they are hyping Rafa's semifinal match to be shown next! Right now it's Serena and Sharapova playing. Originally they had the first semifinal scheduled for 5:00 pm, but I guess they decided to go with Rafa's semifinal. It makes sense that people would want to see it. I don't know if they are going to show the Nalby/Bolelli match at all. I wanted to check out Nalby's form.

Nativenewyorker , 2/17/13 1:03 AM

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