• Nadal shows former clay court brilliance in win over Almagro

    3/2/13 7:56 AM | Cheryl Murray
    Nadal shows former clay court brilliance in win over Almagro Rafael Nadal played clutch tennis against countryman Nicolas Almagro in the best match of the tournament to date, with the No. 2 seed earning a spot in Saturday's final opposite David Ferrer.

    The viewing audience got a treat of a match on Friday night. Nicolas Almagro, who was looking for his first ever win over Rafael Nadal, pulled out all the stops but came up short against the King of Clay, with the No. 2 seed winning 7-5, 6-4.

    There was plenty of drama to be had in this match. In the ninth game of the first set, Almagro sent a bullet of a shot right into Nadal, who was playing at net. Almagro won the point, but the move seemed to bother Nadal, who seemed to fire up after that game. There wasn't even a break-point opportunity in the match before 5-5, but with Almagro serving to force a tiebreaker, Nadal poured on pressure and secured the first break of the match.

    Fortunately for the crowd, Almagro did not give up in the second set. The No. 3 seed continued to battle and he continued to make Nadal play great tennis. He even managed to to earn a 40-0 lead on Nadal's serve midway through the set. But the world No. 5 played absolutely clutch tennis to win five consecutive points for the hold.

    Almagro's game fell apart at 4-4 in the second. Wild shots and poor shot selection from Almagro gave Nadal a pair of chances to serve out the match; he missed the first but converted on the second and took the opportunity to dispatch his compatriot in straight sets.

    Nadal's win sets up a dream final on Saturday, with David Ferrer already in the final thanks to a win over Fabio Fognini.

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For Rafa, gone are the long rallies in comes attacking tennis, even on clay. It's a joy to watch electrifying tennis again after 7 months of Rafaless tournaments. Almagro pulled out all the stops and still couldn't make a break through.

Rafa has single handedly lifted the profile of SA tennis with his appearance. Whatever appearance fees he's been paid has been well worth it. I'm sure the tournaments have a healthy profit showing on their BS because of him. As a journalist said in Chile, Nadal is an industry because of the amount of income he generates.

nadline , 3/2/13 2:01 PM

^^^ Good point, I do agree Rafa has single handedly lifted the profile of tennis in SA. Watching his matches these past few weeks, I do realize how popular and well loved Rafa is around the world. I was watching both Acapulco and Dubai this week, and noticed how popular both Rafa and Fed were; the seats were all filled up during their matches, even the s earlier round ones. It's nice to be able to watch two 500 events within the same week but with different timing so I won't miss any live match. It makes me realize how important Fedal is to tennis, I hope they both won't retire anytime soon. With Fedal plus Nole and Murray, at least we get two interesting semifinals and one interesting final most of the times during important tournaments, without Fedal, we may have only one interesting match instead.

luckystar , 3/2/13 2:47 PM

Great win for our Rafa. Let's hope he can bring a little magic to his next match against a very difficult opponent.

Vamos our Rafa.

schatz , 3/2/13 3:42 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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