• Nadal hits stride, dismantles Nishikori

    6/3/13 7:04 PM | Cheryl Murray
    Nadal hits stride, dismantles Nishikori Rafael Nadal is peaking at just the right time, with Spaniard putting in his best performance of the week against Kei Nishikori.

    Rafael Nadal dispatched No. 12 seed Kei Nishikori in a decisive 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 victory under sunnier skies and drier conditions.

    Nadal, who has been struggling to find his form somewhat in the first week of play, played by far his best match of the tournament on Monday. The Spaniard was able to step into the court and play his more preferred brand of aggressive clay-court tennis.

    The first set was the most competitive. Nishikori had a number of chances to gain the advantage on Nadal, but with his characteristic mental toughness, the world No. 4 raised his level at just the right moments.

    After he pocketed the first set, Nadal really settled into the match, as he bullied Nishikori around the baseline. The Japanese man, who secured the No. 12 seed, never got another fingerhold in the match.

    The win sends Nadal into the quarterfinals, where he will meet Stanislas Wawrinka, who defeated Richard Gasquet in an epic 5-set come-back win.

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Told ya Cheryl, it would be in straight sets...


phoenix , 6/3/13 8:37 PM

As per Tignor

From the ground, Rafa had his down the line forehand and crosscourt backhand clicking; both of those shots are barometers of his confidence.

sanju , 6/3/13 8:39 PM

"If you told me two days ago, I would play like this today I would say give me the paper, I will sign it," - Nadal


sanju , 6/3/13 8:47 PM

grrreat, things are clicking into place.
Vamos Rafa!!

Shireling , 6/3/13 8:51 PM

So sanju, of your 3 favourites, Fed, Rafa and Novak, who had the easiest ride into the quarters?

rafaisthebest , 6/3/13 8:57 PM

Rafa seems happy going by that

sanju , 6/3/13 8:58 PM

RITB..stop being

I have only 1 fav Rafa. I am okay with Novak n Fed too, they are not my favourites

I think Novak had easiest followed by Fed followed by Rafa

sanju , 6/3/13 9:02 PM

Good riddance

sanju , 6/3/13 9:04 PM

No, sanju, I am being serious and I think you misunderstood my question or I did not make myself clear. What I meant was: who had the easiest passage through their respective round of 16 matches, not all the matches to date?

rafaisthebest , 6/3/13 9:16 PM

For Rafa fans I found some comments posted on vb by forum member imanenour. The one that is significant is this -

Nadal: "My elbow hurt after Rome, so I tried not to push on the serve at the beginning of the tournament. But it's better now."

Now we know what might have been bothering him in his first few matches. This could be why he was getting broken and also why he had trouble serving out matches. I don't think he said anything about this until now. However, he said that it's better. At least it's not the knee! :)

Nativenewyorker , 6/3/13 9:22 PM

I decided to post his other comments.

Nadal: "I want to thank the organization for bringing me the cake and flowers on the court. It was really very emotional."

Nadal: "Favorite, me? At the end of Gasquet match, there will be 8. And on Sunday, only one. The rest, that is up to the journalists."

Nadal: "To calm the anxiety I felt on the court, I have to think. But I'm hitting better and that helps me too."

Nativenewyorker , 6/3/13 9:23 PM

Thank you nny those are good comments to read

As to cupcake draws, seventeen, duh. There are tournaments where no one gets one. But this time there was clearly only one and it was almost certainly engineered esp as there is precedence and you know as well as all of whose it was / is. This time it is unmistakable. Surprised you asked. Or were you in the mood for trolling, for a change?

chlorostoma , 6/3/13 9:28 PM


You are most welcome. I thought everyone would like reading them. Loved your last sentence! For a change? You know that the Fed trolls will never admit when he has a cupcake draw. Simon was supposed to roll over for Fed, but that didn't happen. Tsonga could be a challenge but only if he can keep it together.

Nativenewyorker , 6/3/13 9:45 PM

Well done Rafa and happy birthday.

deuce , 6/3/13 10:01 PM

Mats Wilander has just said that he thinks Rafa deserves an 8th FO title and for his birthday he wishes him sunshine because he plays his best tennis when the sun is shining.

I take that down for posterity.

nadline , 6/3/13 10:05 PM

what has Mats been smoking?

or just looking to come off as mr nice guy full of grace on Rafa's birthday?

chlorostoma , 6/3/13 10:17 PM

Good to see you having a nice birthday Rafa!! From the time I have been following Rafa he always works hard on his birthday, but at least he gets rewarded by winning his matches and today, being gifted with a lovely cake!!

One match at a time, Champ!! VAM8S!!!!

Monalysa , 6/3/13 10:29 PM

RITB - Rafa closed his match the easiest ofcourse

I personally thought whatever little I saw of Djoko he was average, not dictating and kinda keeping ball in play and letting Kohls goof up which he did big time

Fed Simon well was a fight , it went 5 but was only 3 hours, wasnt as laborious as Gasquet-Stan or Robredo-Almagro

sanju , 6/4/13 4:24 AM

If Rafa n Novak both make semis I can bet the traffic on the thread may go upto 400 posts at a minimum

sanju , 6/4/13 4:34 AM

no one seems to notice that you're here anyway...

phoenix , 6/4/13 5:46 AM

Watching Rafa go about his business so far reminded me of the following maxim: Slams are not won in the first week, but they can be lost in the first week.

It's like Rafa's defensiveness/caution has been a recognition of this.


rafaisthebest , 6/4/13 7:00 AM


I really love that philosophy. I happen to believe it is true. That's why I get extremely nervous in the first week of slams. The goal is to just get through to the second week and hopefully get into peak form.

I do think that Rafa understands this completely. He knows that guys can come out with zero pressure and no expectations and play lights out. Fortunately, he has the tennis brain and savvy to outwit them and win even if he's not at his best.

I love watching Rafa come into his own in the second week of a slam. It's almost like a switch goes off inside him that lets him know - this is the time. The match with Nishikori is a good example. This is the best Rafa has played so far.


Nativenewyorker , 6/4/13 7:11 AM

Birthday Boy Nadal Finds Calm

?As years go by, you become a bit more calm. Things come across less maybe and you make less effort and you save yourself a little more... You need to retain a certain level of energy as years go by, and you basically try to become more chosen in the way you express your feelings.?

?The important thing is accept the situation and try to improve the feeling and to improve the calm, to improve the level of your game in every moment,? said the Mallorcan. ?And the pressure will be there... We are very nervous for the things that means a lot for us, but at the end, life has much more important things than win or lose a tennis match or a match in any sport...

?Nervousness, anxiety, you can reduce it just by thinking. But you need to do that work on the court. You need to be a master of your feelings. You need to hone in on the right feelings. Once you have found them you need to dig in. You need to think about what's going on to draw down your level of anxiety.?

Nadal put in the work on the court ahead of his fourth-round match against Kei Nishikori, and felt ?confident and calm? following his training programme Sunday and a good warm-up Monday morning. ?I knew that things were going to go very well, and I went out on the court happy and with lots of hopes. I know that I'm improving with each passing day.?



rafaisthebest , 6/4/13 8:27 AM

a lot of insights from a young man that are lost on those who demand elegant english even from non native speakers...

phoenix , 6/4/13 8:53 AM

^^^Well said!


rafaisthebest , 6/4/13 8:56 AM

chlorostoma, 6/3/13 10:17 PM

He's hoping to rescue his reputation as a tennis pundit after rubbishing Rafa for years. lol

I've lost count how many times he, and other commies, have mentioned the loss to Soderling during Rafa's matches this year.

OTH: you dont hear any mention of Roger only managing 1 win in 14 tries at RG or that one of those losses was to Soderling. No, but they bang on endlessly about the number of Finals and SFs he has reached.


ed251137 , 6/4/13 8:57 AM

If you haven't seen the cake ceremony, you can watch it here:

Augustina08 , 6/4/13 9:02 AM

Not so much a dismantling as nishikori self imploding. Nadal played well, but no where near to the level of 2012. This time last year, he destroyed monaco 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 then followed it with a triple breadstick of almagro. Both clay court specialists. Nonetheless, it's good to see that nadal has at least upped his level from week 1.

Good news is djokovic isn't playing anywhere near the level to beat nadal. Djok's win over kohlschrieber was a joke. The fact that Kohl had 13 BP chances and took a set, while serving only 52% - means djok really has to up his game. If anything Kohl really wasted his chance. If you look at his match stats, if he had somehow upped his first serve from 55 to 70. i think he would've won.

I still like Ferrer's chances. People keep underestimating him. But by far he has had the most impressive record at RG this year. Time will tell.

DeadManWalking , 6/4/13 9:29 AM

ed251137 , 6/4/13 9:29 AM

phoenix, 6/4/13 8:53 AM,

It's just another excuse to bash Rafa. These trolls repeat themselves over and over, so they have to find new and more idiotic ways of trashing Rafa. It's probably one of the most useless, pointless and farcical bit of nonsense that has been written. And believe me, with the garbage that keeps being posted by the trolls that is really saying something!

I wonder when a player's supposed linguistic gifts helped him win a tennis match! However, when you know nothing about tennis then I guess it's easier to bring up languages. Waste of space on this site.

Nativenewyorker , 6/4/13 9:40 AM

I am always astonished how shallow the so called tennis experts are. They never go beneath the surface to really see what's going on. Djoker was pushed by Goffin but because he won in straight sets, they put that down to his brilliance; his custard tart match against the unknown Pella just cemented it in their minds that Djoker was sailing high. The well touted bust-up with Dimitrov turned out to be a damp squib because Dimi was totally overwhelmed by the occasion and froze. Yesterday, for the first time, Djoker played a competitive match and lost a set; that's what it took for the over excited 'experts' to reign in their expectations on him a little bit.

In Fed's case, it's unbelievable that they even attached any importance to his first three matches............two qualifiers and an injured Benny. First real opposition in Simon, and Fed goes to 5 sets.

Rafa on the other hand did have a quality opponent in the 1st round and bearing in mind the way Brand played, it was more impressive for Rafa to beat him in 4 sets than it was for Djoker to beat Goffin in 3 tight sets or for Fed to roll over Carreno-Busta. Rafa didn't play well against Klizan, he should never have dropped a set to a player like that, so fair enough, they can mark him down for that one, whether he was sulking or not about the scheduling. Against Fognini, the real Rafa still didn't show up, now we know he had a sore elbow, but he did manage to get passed a tricky player like that in straight sets.

I agree that by Rafa's standards, this hasn't been his best start at RG but there is not a gulf in his level and Djoker's level. If they do meet in the SF, they will both have to play at their best. Whichever of them is the better player on the day will win. I hope it's Rafa.

nadline , 6/4/13 9:43 AM

nny: mercifully Rafa's English is not fluent enough to understand the low-life gutter language used by the trolls.

ed251137 , 6/4/13 9:50 AM

@ed251137, 6/4/13 8:57 AM

Totally agree. In 2009/10 when Rafa returned from injury, they kept a tally on how long he'd gone without winning a forward 2012/13, Fed has not been out with injury yet he has not won a title in 9 months; not a dickie bird from them about that. Instead they are keeping a tally on his Qtrs and SF appearances.

nadline , 6/4/13 9:53 AM


Yes, thank goodness for that! I think that Fed and Nole would be positively mortified to see what their so-called "fans" have been saying here about Rafa. It's a rare thing when you see a player who has won 11 slams, the career slam, broke Borg's record by winning 7 slams at RG and so many more records, being trashed in such a disgraceful manner.

If you truly love the sport of tennis, then you should respect the great players. All of them! Rafa's place in the history of this sport is already assured. Nothing these clowns say is going to change that.

I also find it fascinating that the Fed trolls still try to demean Rafa. This is the guy who has a 20-10 h2h advantage against Fed, yet they still trash his game. So how did Rafa manage to get all those wins against their idol? Oh right, most of them were on clay. But then how can their supposed GOAT not manage to defeat Rafa on clay?

They will never be able to get around that simple truth. No matter how long or how hard they vilify Rafa, they cannot take away what he has accomplished.

Nativenewyorker , 6/4/13 9:57 AM

Not forgetting, Rafa is not allowed excuses. I think this is the reason Rafa never mentioned his elbow injury mindful of the carping that would follow if he did. On the other hand, we are oh so being reminded, not so subtly, about the effect the loss of his childhood coach must have had on Novak's match against Kohly.

When Rafa plays bad and wins, he is just bad. When Novak plays bad and wins, it's due to outside forces. When Fed plays bad and wins, it shows how courageous he is.

We know all this. Rafa knows all this.

rafaisthebest , 6/4/13 10:02 AM

They also have it both ways. When Nole is bereaved, a win is due to inspiration from his loss and a loss is because he is grieving.

nadline , 6/4/13 10:08 AM

I am still trying to get my head round how saying one's fav tanked a match can be considered complimentary to the fav, but that's just me.......and trolls.

rafaisthebest , 6/4/13 10:10 AM

In fairness, @nadline, it is Novak himself who drives the narrative. In his presser yesterday, Novak said he is now more determined to win RG for her. So, if he wins he won it for her. If he loses, it's her fault for dying at an inopportune time.

rafaisthebest , 6/4/13 10:15 AM

@NNY and RITB, wow ! thank you so much for those comments from rafa...made my day ! I really feel encouraged and hopeful now ! VAMOS

@deadmanwalking, rafa did not triple breadstick almagro last year, he did that in 2008...last year was a routine strait sets win

I am very happy about rafa's performance ! He definitely climbed a gear in his last glad to see the forehand hitting his opponent off the court ! The CC backhand was well and truly there as well..Now time to hone the DTL backhand and forehand as well as the off forehand to perfection ! vamosss

Interesting comment about the elbow ! I hope its ok now and rafa can serve harder and better !

vamosrafa , 6/4/13 10:17 AM

They never cut Rafa any slack for his parents' divorce which I think is far more traumatic than losing a grandparent or a coach.

Thankfully, his parents are back together now, but their split came when Rafa was riding high in 2009 and really did affect his chances of ending that year as #1. Even at the 02, Rafa was only there in body and not in mind, losing all his matches.

nadline , 6/4/13 10:23 AM

^^^An ex-coach, no less.

nadline , 6/4/13 10:25 AM

When assesing the early round performances the commies rarely discuss the potential SF and F contenders need to pace themselves. The others players are all striving for their best Slam result and what the heck. It's a difficult balancing act.

It will be an interesting dog fight between Federer and Tsonga. It will be a watershed moment for both their careers. However, IF he does make it to the SFs my money goes on Ferrer.

ed251137 , 6/4/13 10:31 AM

It will be a watershed moment for both their careers. However, IF he does make it to the SFs my money goes on Ferrer.

, 6/4/13 10:31 AM

Why Watershed for Fed? Dont think so Ed. Hes been in that position many times before.

sanju , 6/4/13 10:45 AM

@10:25 AM

Eye roll.

If I remember correctly, Rafa's father broke the news to him just after the AO. Imagine if he had not waited. No wonder Rafa lacked calm. Plus the knee was already playing up by the time he got to Rotterdam (no surprise after what went into winning the AO) and got steadily worse till finally he was forced to withdraw from the tour.

ed251137 , 6/4/13 10:53 AM

sanju, 6/4/13 10:45 AM

It is just because Fed has been in this position so many times before I used the word 'watershed'. A fifth QF loss in the Slams in four years would suggest an unwelcome trend in the wrong direction rather than a blip.

OTH: a win for Tsonga would mean a fourth Slam SF in four years which for him would be a trend in the right direction.

ed251137 , 6/4/13 11:15 AM

But look to the feckless French to undermine him by overwhelmingly supporting Fed.......

rafaisthebest , 6/4/13 11:30 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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