• Nadal wins 16th straight clay-court match vs. Ferrer

    5/17/13 7:53 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Nadal wins 16th straight clay-court match vs. Ferrer Rafael Nadal needs three sets for a second straight week, but he gets past David Ferrer once again on Friday. Nadal is through to a Rome semifinal showdown with Tomas Berdych.

    Rafael Nadal beat David Ferrer for the second time in as many weeks and for the 19th time in 23 career meetings when the former world No. 1 prevailed 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Friday evening. Nadal needed two hours and 46 minutes to book his spot in a semifinal clash not against Novak Djokovic, but against Tomas Berdych.

    Break-point conversions were a problem for Ferrer the entire way and he missed two in the fourth game of the match for what would have been an early 3-1 lead. Following the disappointment, Rome's No. 4 seed promptly dropped serve at 2-2. Nadal held from there, but not before saving break points at both 3-2 and 4-3.

    The fifth-ranked Spaniard had been on the ropes against Ferrer in a 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-0 win last week in Madrid, and this one was also not going to be easy. Ferrer fought back in the second set, racing to a 4-0 advantage. The world No. 4 gave back both of the breaks as his opponent pulled to within 5-4, but he responded with another break of his own and Ferrer clinched the set on an incredible point at 30-40 that ended with a clean forehand winner.

    Once again, however, the underdog could not entirely get over the hump. Nadal fought off two more break points trailing 0-1 in the decider and that sent him on his way. Breaks at 1-1 and 3-1 allowed the defending champion to take complete control before he survived a tough service game at 5-2 to clinch victory.

    Nadal leads the head-to-head series with Berdych 13-3 heading into Saturday's semifinal. Berdych trailed Djokovic 6-2, 5-2 earlier in the afternoon before storming back for an improbable 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 triumph.

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I'm exhausted.............

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 8:30 PM

So am!!!

Monalysa , 5/17/13 9:04 PM

then keep quiet ladies LOL.

Raindrops , 5/17/13 9:10 PM

I have an exam tomorrow! and I am very tired! thanks to our man :D I will fail :D

rafaelo , 5/17/13 9:11 PM

Good luck, Rafaelo!!! I m sure you will be fine!!!

@ Raindrops, why are you asking us to keep quiet?!!!!

Monalysa , 5/17/13 9:15 PM

thanks :)

rafaelo , 5/17/13 9:17 PM

@rafaelo, good luck with your exams, just imagine you are Rafael Nadal the Invincible!

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 9:22 PM

you're exhausted, i'm exhausted and i'm sure rafa is exhausted. A part of me is loving his come from behind victory against ernest and another great battle against ferrer. but then again berdych up next and if all goes well a possible encounter with a fresh fed. All this and then of to Paris. Surely this is asking too much for our Rafa?

rafakid , 5/17/13 9:34 PM

One thing you can never say about a Rafa rollercoaster is that it's boring to watch! But my golly it's hard on the nerves.

ed251137 , 5/17/13 9:51 PM

From the first time I ever set eyes on Rafa at the FO when he won his first GSlam, some of his matches have made me age so much faster, i swear!!!

But I love him anyway!!!

Good luck tomrrow Rafa,

Monalysa , 5/17/13 10:36 PM


Isn't that the truth! :)

Nativenewyorker , 5/17/13 11:58 PM

Let's talk about David.

Is it me or has David Ferrer improved his game? He was hurting Rafa out there! I don't know about you guys, but I saw signs of improvement in Madrid. Suddenly, I saw David pulling off shots which were actually causing damage, something I never would have said about David. And I do not think this has to do with Rafa being a little rusty because of his absence. Yes, in part, but for the most I think this is because David has improved. In fact Rafa mentioned as much in his presser yesterday.

Cheryl, I think David deserves a blog. Not just about him but about guys like him who still look to improve when in all honesty they should be thinking about hanging up their rackets. With all the beat downs Rafa has meted to him in the past, David would be forgiven for thinking: this ship has sailed, what's he point, but no, he approaches each match with the same intensity, the same belief. It's when he has been well and truly bludgeoned does he give up i.e. in the final sets.

I love his fighting spirit. I have come to hate him when he is hurting Rafa on court. But what's not to admire about this man?

rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 6:42 AM

rafaisthebest, 5/18/13 6:42 AM,

I just finished watching the last set and a half of Rafa's match. That was the part that I had not yet seen. I completely agree with your thoughts about Ferrer improving his game. In fact, that is exactly what I was thinking as I watched the match. He seemed to be anticipating Rafa's shots and going him one better. They had some brilliant rallies and there were a number of times when Ferrer got the better of Rafa.

I don't think it was about Rafa at all, except maybe in the second set. That's where I thought Rafa has a letdown and Ferrer took full advantage of it. However, in the third set Rafa went to another gear. When your opponent plays great tennis, it forces you to bring your best.

What I really loved was seeing Rafa getting better court position. He was hitting his forehand and cc backhand from the baseline. It's amazing how much more effective that cc backhand is when Rafa steps up and hits it either at or inside the baseline. He can create more of an angle and it's almost impossible to return. Rafa also hitting his forehand dtl and i/o from the baseline or just inside the baseline. I thought his court positioning was the key to him being able to take control in that third set.

Ferrer seems to be playing much better since he got over that thigh injury. Maybe it was bothering him for a while. I really admire his perseverance and never say die attitude. He always competes and gives it his best.

Nativenewyorker , 5/18/13 8:54 AM

Thank you, @seventeen. However, I must point out that Rafa, in his post match interview, said Ferrer has improved so it's not just me who has seen the improvement, it's Rafa and I! Now, if an 11time Slam champion agrees with my observation then I will stick with my conclusion if you do not mind!

Regarding Rafa being a little less throng, that is to be expected, no? He has just returned from a 7 month lay off. And yet, he is beating the other guys, consistently.

You say on a good day guys can get to him. Sorry, this does not wash. The Tour is about turning up day in day out, each match, each tournament, not waiting for a "good day" to beat somebody. So adjokovic had his good day in Monte Carlo and is what, waiting for he next good day? Please. You think this little,of these players? Rafa is doing what needs to be done, winning, even when he is NOT having a good day. This is what separates the greats from the nearly greats. The greats turn up, both on good and bad days.

I am hoping Novak turns up at RG, because frankly, he is the only one with a chance, on a good day, of taking Rafa the distance. We want to be entertained.

rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 9:04 AM

Oops! That makes three of us who see improvement in Ferru's game, me, Rafa and nny!

rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 9:07 AM

Sorry @ seventeen, cannot make sense of what you are saying in your post of 9:09am. Are you saying Rafa is now invincible because of his new schedule? Roger has lost to lesser ranked players numerous times before, did he lose sponsors? He is now sitting outside the top 10 in the Race to London, are his sponsors deserting him? Who is calling what before and after Wimby?

rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 9:17 AM

Congrats to Rafa and Ferru on a great match! My predictions are coming along just fine but I won't gloat just yet. Tennis is more unpredictable that a lot of people believe. People like Pistol Pete and Roger, and even Rafa on clay have created the perception that some matches are a foregone conclusion. People like this don't come all that often, and even they are not invincible.
Rafa is not using false modesty when he doesn't take win for granted. In Tennis the variables are too many, and anything really CAN happen. But these few, incredible players have spoiled our generation into thinking they are unbeatable. David Ferrer is one of the reasons why they are not. He doesn't have the genius of Roger or the raw talent of Rafa, or Nole's versatility. Yet he fights on, relentless, focused and hungry. His talent is hard work and it makes up for many natural gifts.

grafight , 5/18/13 9:36 AM

I have an exam tomorrow! and I am very tired! thanks to our man :D I will fail :D
rafaelo, 5/17/13 9:11 PM

You'll be fine! Good Luck!

nadline , 5/18/13 9:38 AM

grafight...wats ur prediction?Plz enlighten us

sanju , 5/18/13 10:29 AM

I dont care if Rafa wins Rome or not,RG n Wimby is the key

I am apprehensive , I sumhow have a feeling hell win 7 titles till Wimby, he haas 5 till now, which re the 2 out of Rome, RG, Wimby :-0

My prediction is just that, a nothing serious or based on any concrete stuff

sanju , 5/18/13 11:25 AM


What part of your post did I mis-represent?

I cannot take a point about Rafa and project it about Fed, but you can take a point about Rafa and project it about Djokovic. Is that how it works?

You clearly have an inside track on Team Rafa, they have shared with you their strategies and schedule which says Rafa will only be playing solely on the slow courts. I cannot argue with you there because they have not shared their information with me.

Since you have an inside track on Rafa's strategy and schedule, care to share with us what mistakes his team have made?

Have you shared your knowledge with them so they know the corrections to make?


rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 12:19 PM

@seventeen, don't work yourself into a lather trying to respond to my post of 12:19pm, I know the answers. Rhetorical questions, if you understand.


rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 12:30 PM

Interesting....... @seventeen, I think you will relate to this tweet:

RT @TennisFanMark24: "Djokovic plays badly and its swept under the carpet whereas Nadal doesn't play his best tennis and people want his head. Double standards."

rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 12:41 PM

The team co uld not and cannot affort to lose on the fast courts against Rosol like players. Sponsors would and will not understand. So he is calling it before or after Wimbly.

seventeen , 5/18/13 9:09 AM

Rosol is ranked 33, and has one ATP tournament title. Dimitrov is ranked 26 and has zero ATP tournament title. I guess Novak's sponsors do not understand, huh? And his team cannot afford for him to lose on fast clay against Dimitrov like players.

rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 12:55 PM

seventeen , 5/18/13 1:04 PM

As I said, if I have mis-represented any of your posts, please pint that out.

You say his new schedule is "there for his to play out solely the slow courts". I have not seen this schedule. Please can you post the link to Rafa's 2013 schedule. If you have seen Rafa's schedule how can you still be speculating about the tournaments he will play or skip after Wimby? Do you or do not know his schedule?

rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 1:14 PM

......point, not pint..

rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 1:15 PM

I get it.

You claim to know about Rafa's schedule, I ask for it, you cannot produce it. Please feel free to make spurious claims about it.

Now you are calling Rafa a liar. Feel free to call him whatever names you wish.

So he did not play the Olympics to showcase his new schedule. Amen to that.

I rest.

rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 1:35 PM

I can't completely agree that Ferrer's actual game has improved. I didn't see him do anything in the past 2 weeks that I haven't seen before. What I will say is that it seems his tactics have improved. He used to be content trading grinding groundstrokes with Nadal. This, as we well know, is a recipe for disaster. Nadal can out-grind anyone on the tour...with the added feature that he can hit go from defense to offense in the blink of an eye.

What I saw Ferrer do was try to play the aggressor. Unfortunately for him, he can't seem to do it successfully over the entire course of an entire match.

cherylmurray , 5/18/13 1:56 PM

Thanks Cheryl. I guess "game" is the wrong terminology to use in my post because what I had in mind as the changes in his game was the marked aggressive tone of his game as opposed to his previous/usual, passive/defensive game. The tactics you describe, as the difference, are exactly what I saw.

I saw this in Madrid and Rome and that to me explained why he "all of a sudden" was giving Rafa problems. It certainly was not enough, for me, to say he was suddenly giving Rafa problems because Rafa was now below par.

rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 2:19 PM

.......btw, that is the narrative that is gaining currency out there, that Rafa is now below par on clay that is why players like Gulbis and Ferru can push him to 3 sets when they never before. I disagree. Of course Rafa is not yet at 100%, he is coming back from a 7 month lay off! But to ignore the improvements other players have done in his absence is just Rafa bashing imo. Gulbis always took Rafa to 3 sets with the exception of 1 match I believe. He has also progressed, mentally. Ferru has progressed, as you articulated in your post. As for Djokovic, why his beating Rafa at MC is seen as a revelation, and an indictment on Rafa's game, I do not understand.....he has always played Rafa close and he beat Rafa twice on clay in 2011.

rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 2:31 PM

ritb, there is a rash of these new screen names suddenly. I suspect most of them are the same poster . Let us completely skip over their posts. Otherwise this crazy poster will keep multiplying his ids and take over this site as he seems to have nothing else to do. Completely ignoring him (his multiple ids) will starve this poster out of existence.
Of late this site has become a nightmare with this poster's disgusting posts.
Don't feed the troll.

holdserve , 5/18/13 3:54 PM

^^Quite agree.

rafaisthebest , 5/18/13 4:02 PM

I did not see the yesterday's match as I had to travel but I knew Rafa would win no matter what...he owns Ferrer and if Rafa wants to win he will do it any time against Ferrer...and having learned that Rafa was once again tested...well, I must admit it came as no surprise to me since Rafa is playing nearly as good as we would expect him by now...but he is winning his matches and that is all that matters...he will beat Berdy as well, since Rafa knows how to deal with Berdy...I also I expect him to quit those mental lapses and focus fully...Rafa will be fine today...

Vamos Rafa the Fighter!

natashao , 5/18/13 4:32 PM

Sanju, I said Berdych would beat Nole, then Rafa over Ferrer, Fed easily through and Rafa and Roger in the final. The final score will be 7-6 (3), 6-3 for Nadal.

grafight , 5/19/13 12:46 AM

At the end of the day, Ferrer is 4 years older and concedes the righty to lefty advantage to the BP. Not to mention he has played nadal 17 times out of 23 times in their H2H on clay.

Outside clay, ferrer actually leads the H2H 4-2! Including 2-0 in slams. According to some rafafarts that makes ferrer the best spaniard on hardcourts.

Fedkovic23 , 5/19/13 2:26 AM


Conspirator , 5/19/13 3:27 AM

"Is it me or has David Ferrer improved his game? "

Not just you.

I saw him play Novak live at the USO 2012 semi. If they hadn't stopped the match, I firmly believe Ferru would have been in that final.

I also think he can beat anybody on the day except Rafa and Roger (though I did not see that disaster of a Miami final between him and Muzz).

mara002 , 5/19/13 6:08 AM


That was a war of attrition! I don't know that I would want to watch a match like that again. Both guys were absolutely exhausted with the early start of the final and playing in hot and extreme humidity. It was a case of who ever would find a way to win.

Ferrer made a bad challenge to a line call when he had match point. He was wrong and lost the point. Then he lost the match.

I have to say that Cheryl really did pinpoint what Ferrer is doing better now. I am with ritb in saying that maybe we both didn't really focus on his tactics. He is playing more aggressive against Rafa, going to the net instead of just trying to win from the baseline. That's why he has gotten a set off Rafa in each of their last two matches. I also think that Rafa isn't in his best form yet. But he's definitely getting there!

Nativenewyorker , 5/19/13 7:12 AM

It takes a King to fall for the another one to rise....................................

hrsikesa , 5/19/13 10:56 AM

USopen 2012 semi-final was a war of attrition? In which world? Djokovic was never losing to a guy who has 0 grandslam wins over him. Ferrer has never beaten Nole on an outdoor hardcourt.

For war of attrtition check 2012 Australian Open final or 2011 USopen final or 2009 madrid semi-final between Nole and Rafa.

Fedkovic23 , 5/19/13 1:51 PM

^^ woohoo! those are the matches dude! Nole was playing tennis from another planet in those 2 granslams!

JamesDjokovicFan , 5/19/13 2:02 PM

Talking to himself again.


Conspirator , 5/19/13 3:10 PM

Fedkovic23, 5/19/13 1:51 PM,.

Do you have reading comprehension problems! Good grief!

I also think he can beat anybody on the day except Rafa and Roger (though I did not see that disaster of a Miami final between him and Muzz).

mara002, 5/19/13 6:08 AM

Now just try to read this part of mara002's post! That is the part which I was referencing! Your problem is that you are so anxious to jump all over any Rafa fan to show your supposed superiority.

Next time make sure to think before you write! Or maybe I will have to spell it out so that someone like you can understand what I am talking about!

Now one more time - I was referring to Murray and Ferrer's final in Miami! Get it?

#ReadingComprehensionProblem s

Nativenewyorker , 5/19/13 7:10 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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