• Nadal holds Fognini off, faces Nishikori next

    6/2/13 1:53 AM | Cheryl Murray
    Nadal holds Fognini off, faces Nishikori next Rafael Nadal made his way into the fourth round with a win over Italian clay-courter Fabio Fognini on Saturday afternoon.

    Spaniard Rafael Nadal fought his way to a 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 win over Fabio Fognini. This match wasn't nearly as routine for Nadal as the scoreline suggests. The Spaniard, who has 7 titles in Paris, has seemed uncomfortable at Roland Garros this year, perhaps owing to the cold, damp weather complicating conditions.

    Still, It was Nadal and his superior mental toughness that saw him past 8 of the 11 break points against him. Nadal pulled the first set out of the fire, breaking back twice, once at 3-4 and again at 5-6 to force the tiebreaker.

    Nadal poured on the pressure at the most important moment of the set, sealing the lead with a couple of incredible defensive shots.

    Fognini went away somewhat in the second set, allowing Nadal the only break of the set. The Italian had some chances to get the break back, but he was unable to convert.

    Nadal had another letdown as he attempted to serve out the match, allowing Fognini to break with the aid of an ill-timed double fault. But the Spaniard regrouped quickly for yet another break of the Italian's serve to seal the win.

    Nadal will take on Kei Nishikori in the fourth round.

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Rafa says he been playing with anxiety. He says he always plays with anxiety at RG but he thinks he has time to calm down. With the day off today, he plans to work on his game.

nadline , 6/2/13 10:15 AM

Rafa says:

"The positive thing is that I played very well last couple of weeks. Is not a moment that I didn?t play well for two months or three months. So just try to change a little bit the dynamic of my game, and play with a little bit more intensity with my legs. But to play more aggressive, I have to calm down a little bit more myself and play more relaxed and less anxious in my movements."

nadline , 6/2/13 10:47 AM

I am not worried about Rafa at all because I believe what he said in his presser yesterday. No need to speculate with Rafa, he tells you exactly what is going on, no smoke and mirrors.

The tension in him is understandable. This is his first Slam after a long break, this is his favourite surface and he is expected to do well, the 1st week is littered with journeyman who have nothing to lose and everything to gain who come in with a high risk strategy whose main object is to harass Rafa.

The real Rafa will appear in the 2nd week.

No-one says it better that him:

Rafa says: 'When you win without playing your best you have the chance to play better. If you don't fight when you have tough days or negative days then you don't have all the chances for the future"

Vamos Rafa!!

rafaisthebest , 6/2/13 10:53 AM

If the real Rafa does not appear against Nishikori, then I fear for the worst.

atul1985 , 6/2/13 12:14 PM

Rafa has many strange fans including me. They love him a lot but have little faith or seldom have faith in him.They fear the worst for him against anybody in general, they are far more confident about Djoko and Fed and their abilities than Rafas.

But I am happy to notice there are fans multiple times stranger and fearful than me.Makes me feel better :-)

sanju , 6/2/13 12:53 PM

atul1985 , 6/2/13 12:14 PM

No need to fear. Anything can happen, it is tennis. Rafa may win, he may lose. As Rafa himself says, just accept.

I am calm because whatever transpires, I KNOW Rafa will be ALL IN on every match, he will give his all to win. I cannot ask for more from Rafa.

Keep the faith.


rafaisthebest , 6/2/13 1:07 PM

".......... they are far more confident about Djoko and Fed and their abilities than Rafas."

sanju , 6/2/13 12:53 PM

Please EXCLUDE ME from this group. PLEASE. I do not understand this statement.

rafaisthebest , 6/2/13 1:11 PM

RITB - Ofcourse you and nadline and NNY for sure not in that list :-).

sanju , 6/2/13 1:16 PM

Don't understand "fair weather" fans tbh, where's the fun in that?

rafaisthebest , 6/2/13 1:34 PM

Its not fair weather RITB, its not as if they change their allegiance based on the 'in form'player. Its just the blatant lack of faith in Rafas ability or the overwhelming fear for Rafa that he will lose.

Have you heard here on TT single Fed or Novak fan expressing doubts that Djoko would lose to Grigor or Fed to Julien/Simon (both who have beaten him before)?

sanju , 6/2/13 1:55 PM

I think the first and foremost thing that Nadal needs to rectify is his serve. He is not getting free points . He never serves a lot of aces but there are lot of service winners and uses one two punch well . To win against more difficult opponents Nadal needs to be clutch on break points and his forehand should be on song.

I am really anxious as to how he takes care off these things before a possible encounter with Nole ; though I am confident that Rafa will get his depth/zip back on groundshots as we approach second week and sunny weather.

fedexal , 6/2/13 1:56 PM

nice to c ur optimism fedexal.

you c Rafa making the semis easily? After that its anybodys game

sanju , 6/2/13 2:01 PM

The good thing is that it is dry and sunny. Hope it stays like that for the rest of the week. The sunny weather should enliven Rafa's spirits. I am really looking forward to the match against Nishikori. I really expect Rafa to pick it up big time. He has played so well in Madrid and Rome, it has been hard to see him play so badly in French till now

atul1985 , 6/2/13 2:06 PM

Yes I see Rafa making semis . Rafa should handle Nish easily as he isn't one who hits big and expect Rafa to do some adjustments after a day off . I expect Wava to be his QF opponent, although he and Gasquet might play a marathon. I only fear Nole as he is playing solid and he knows how to beat Nadal on clay. So, Rafa definitely needs to pick up his serve otherwise Nole will break him at will .
By the way, I am sure Rafa will not get to play philippe chatrier as Gasquet will get the preference.

fedexal , 6/2/13 2:09 PM

sanju , 6/2/13 1:55 PM

I never hear any Rafans saying Rafa would lose to Brands, Klizan or Fignini, just concern that they would trouble Rafa, and it came to pass, no? Not because we doubted Rafa's ability, but because of the profile of these players (tall, big hitters, big servers, 1st time playing Rafa with the exception of Fognini but I think Bodo reported well on Fognini's special qualities). To doubt Rafa's ability would have been to expect him to be beaten. But did any Rafan seriously the outcome was in doubt? Now, that would be a surprise.

As far as Novak is concerned, the only player that he has faced that I can recall is Grigor, and that's because they played yesterday and because he is so highly marketed. Who amngst the players he has played was going to trouble him, seriously?

As for Fed, I am not even going there...............

To be honest, I do not tune into Novak and Fed fandom to gauge their fears or lack thereof regarding their, I wouldn't know.

rafaisthebest , 6/2/13 2:15 PM

Well fedexal they may put Nole on Suzanne tomm as both Fed and Rafa have playd on Suzanne but Nole hasn't

I think Gasquet-Stan and Rafa-Kei on Chartier and Nole - Kohls, Haas on Suzanne

sanju , 6/2/13 2:17 PM

Rafa will definitely make the's Nole that Rafans are worried about. rafa needs to be at his best to beat him...unfortunately right now he is far from his best

atul1985 , 6/2/13 2:19 PM

fedexal , 6/2/13 1:56 PM

Rafa mentioned all those things in his presser yesterday. I am sure he is working on the thing he said, all these things depend on his movement. He said he has not been moving well and this is what has caused him the anxiety and it is this anxiety which has infected (adversely) his shots...........he said he needs to get back his colm about his movement.

He moved fantastic in the Madrid and Rome finals so it is there, just unlocking it...........

rafaisthebest , 6/2/13 2:22 PM

, 6/2/13 2:19 PM

Atul, u said u feared the worst above bro, how can fearing the worst and 'will definately make semis' be spoken in the same breath?

sanju , 6/2/13 2:22 PM

The things that give me hope are

2011 RG and 2010 Wimby, he played subpr 1st 4 rounds but still won
Rome he was subpar for Gulbis and Ferrer match, but did win and zoned out in his SF n F performances.

So we can hope he will do good.

sanju , 6/2/13 2:24 PM


For me the worst is not winning RG :)
Even if Rafa continues to play poorly, he will beat everyone but Nole, maybe ferrer. So not reaching the semis is not in question.

atul1985 , 6/2/13 2:27 PM

ahh ok..Thanks you clarified Atul. I thougt u meant Nishikori will bump him out :-)

Nole ofcourse is the real deal.

Ferrer if in the final, Rafa will win . We can count on Ferrer to choke anyway :-)

sanju , 6/2/13 2:32 PM

I think Ferrer will beat Federer, or atleast run him close...a tough 5 setter cannot be ruled out. If Rafa beats Nole, that means he is playing at a high level so the final opponent really does not matter. So Nole is the real deal as you said. He cannot continue to play as poorly as he has done till the quarters and expect to turn it up against Nole. He has to have atleast 2 solid matches before facing Nole to get his confidence at the level it needs to be to beat Nole.

atul1985 , 6/2/13 3:29 PM


Yeah I think we all agree that Rafa was not at his best in Rome and Madrid and he picked his level up later . Here at RG we are seeing that Rafa is not starting well, something which we saw in Barca as well.

Last year when Rafa played well on his clay tourney he served really well . Even if you look at his AO 2012 final, he served decent against Nole . Another thing he did well was he was starting his matches with good level and even in last year finals he was a double break up against Nole in the first set.

Also, as afar as Nole is concerned I think he didn't play last year RG too well. Almost lost to Seppi and Tsonga . I agree its too early to say about Nole as his opponents have been sub par , but Nole has looked really solid to me . And he is serving well .

I see Friday's forecast as sunny so conditions should be ideal for clay court tennis and I hope Rafa to turn around . Although I think I would have preferred Rafa to meet in the finals because I just think finals pressure could really get to Nole than Rafa.

fedexal , 6/2/13 3:29 PM

@fedexal, my comments about the quality of Nole's opponents so far is not to say Nole has not been impressive. His opponents have been "gimme's" and Novak has been his usual superb self. He did not have to do anything special to beat those guys. Look at the Dimitrov match, Novak had 12 winners and Dimitrov 50 errors. Dimitrov could not have done worse if he had whipped out a silver plate with the match on it and handed it over to Nole.

I believe Novak was stung by his showing in Madrid and Rome and I believe he knows those aberrations were due to him going walk-about mentally and he is determined to not let that happen at RG. You can see he is super concentrated. So, he is going to be a challenge no matter who is across the net. Pointless worrying about that imho.

What is of concern is Rafa's level. As fans, we can take comfort from the fact that he does not have any physical issues, he confirmed that yesterday. It's a movement and anxiety issue. If he regains his "colm", stops worrying about his movement, starts moving well, he will place the shots.

It's a short lead up period but he has got to get that sorted in the next 5 days. Let's see the adjustments he makes, starting tomorrow, before we start panicking!

rafaisthebest , 6/2/13 3:48 PM

Just seen a graphic on the leader in 1st serve %, guess who is the leader in the tournament so far? Rafael Nadal at 79%, Djokovic second at 70%. Aces? Rafael Nadal has hit 12 so far, and Djokovic is below him with 8.

rafaisthebest , 6/2/13 3:53 PM

Therepay Session #180

JamesDjokovicFan , 6/2/13 4:41 PM

Rafa should put the scheduling behind him and move on.

nadline , 6/2/13 4:50 PM

^^^ that's right

rafaelo , 6/2/13 4:58 PM

To prove how competitive the Djoko/Dimi match was, both TV channels - ITV and Eurosport stopped showing the match and switched over to the Haas/Isner match and most of the spectators walked out of PC.

nadline , 6/2/13 5:00 PM

RT @TennisReporters: "Nadal: 'If I can calm down I will play better; otherwise I can go back to Mallorca and go fishing' "

rafaisthebest , 6/2/13 6:07 PM

Rafa 3rd on Chartier tomm, Novak/Kohls 2nd

How on earth did Stan/Gasquet not get scheduled on Chartier and Nole/Kohls did? Horrible scheduling

Stan/Gasquet will be a far far better quality and competitive match than Nole/Kohls

sanju , 6/2/13 6:22 PM

For the benefit of the rafafarts:

Ferrer and robredo are a combined 0-24 against the King of Tennis, Roger Federer. In this 24 matches, these 2 clowns have won a grand total of 6 sets. Yes, 6 sets in 24 matches. Too bad, they don't have control-freak uncles like Mr.Proctologist, KTSP

Fedkovic23 , 6/2/13 6:35 PM

Its amazing how people who hate Rafa only come and talk about Rafa.

As the saying goes ' If people talk about you - good or bad, you are bloody damn important to them' .

The non stop talking about Rafa by delusional fans of other players just goes to show the excessive bytes Rafa occupies in their mindspace.

sanju , 6/2/13 6:49 PM

Answer to your question, sanju:

RT @juanjo_sports: " Reportedly Richard Gasquet asked for Lenglen Court. He fancies not the Centre Court."

rafaisthebest , 6/2/13 6:59 PM

Believe it or not, sanju, Fed is on court right now, there is a live thread on the match, and yet these so-called Fedfans are camping on Rafa threads..................

rafaisthebest , 6/2/13 7:01 PM


atul1985 , 6/2/13 7:19 PM

One or two finally came out from their hiding places, but only when Fed was ahead in the fifth!

They would rather hate on Rafa on other threads than support their guy even when he's down.

Nativenewyorker , 6/2/13 8:20 PM

It speaks volumes about the true motivation of the so called Federer fans. Zero interest in the sport of tennis.

ed251137 , 6/2/13 8:55 PM

But the thing is they disppear under their respective rocks after Rafa wins (great!!!) but only to resurface during another tourney!!!!..................shish!!!!

Monalysa , 6/2/13 9:11 PM

RafafartED : Do you and CBM evn ask yourselves if you guys are even qualified to talk about tennis? You guys got the IQ of dog poo and you can barely hold a racquet. Please go and play bingo.

JamesDjokovicFan , 6/2/13 9:20 PM

Considering how low the bar has been set by these Fed trolls, I think the rest of us look like Einstein's when talking about tennis.

It's not hard to look smarter than a Neanderthal.

Nativenewyorker , 6/2/13 9:47 PM

rafaisthebest, 6/2/13 6:59 PM

Reeshard is perhaps alone in finding the PC crowd a hindrance rather than a help.
He has admitted he finds playing in front of the home crowd unusually stressful. So much so he actually withdrew in advance from RG in 2008. he hopes the more relaxed atmosphere on Lenglen will lessen the stress.

ed251137 , 6/2/13 10:44 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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