• Nadal opens in Indian Wells against Mayer

    3/11/12 1:00 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Nadal opens in Indian Wells against Mayer Rafael Nadal will be back on the singles court for the first time since the Australian Open on Sunday in Indian Wells. Nadal begins his campaign against Leonardo Mayer.

    Sunday's action in Indian Wells features the return of Rafael Nadal, who will be on the singles court for the first time since one of the greatest matches ever played. In the final of the Australian Open, Nadal lost to Novak Djokovic 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 in five hours and 53 minutes.

    Up first for the second-ranked Spaniard at the BNP Paribas Open is Leonardo Mayer, who booked his spot in round two with a 2-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 victory over Alejandro Falla. Nadal and Mayer have never faced each other.

    Mayer's win ended a streak of two consecutive first-round exits at ATP events. The 78th-ranked Argentine reached the quarterfinals in Sao Paulo but then lost to Facundo Bagnis in Buenos Aires and to Pablo Andujar in Acapulco.

    Nadal is 9-2 for his 2012 campaign. In addition to his runner-up finish in Melbourne, Nadal made it to the Doha semifinals before losing to Gael Monfils.

    The No. 2 seed may show some signs of rust early in the match, but there is no reason to think Mayer will produce anything that can trouble Nadal in any way. Count on Nadal cruising in two routine sets.

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Yes vamos Rafa! Go for the win!

luckystar , 3/11/12 5:30 AM

Rafa will be on after the first match of the day which starts at 11:00 am.

Finally, I will get to see Rafa in action again!

Vamos, Rafa for the win!

Nativenewyorker , 3/11/12 6:15 AM

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/11/12 11:18 AM

Good luck Rafa & vamos.

schatz , 3/11/12 1:50 PM

wish both Rafa and Roger win so that we can have another fedal semi even though the fedal matches are dominated by Rafa i enjoy the shot making that the 2 bring to centre court.

tennismania , 3/11/12 3:10 PM

Rafa wins, 61 63.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/11/12 10:41 PM

Congrats Rafa - good win & vamos.

schatz , 3/11/12 11:02 PM

Congrats to Rafa fans. Im not at home tonigh so had to rely on livescores to keep me updated. 1st serve statistics 75%, 1st serve points won 96%. Has Rafa adjusted his serve, thinking of comments he made after the A/0?

mojo , 3/11/12 11:34 PM

It's hard to judge Rafa's form when he plays an opponent that doesn't have the game to hurt him. He was in charge of this match from beginning to end. Mayer couldn't get himself together, served poorly, missed easy winners and just seemed unable to deal with Rafa's groundstrokes.

I do think Rafa served very well. I was trying to check out the speed on his serves. He still seems to be in the same range of 116 - 122 on average. He got away with some really slow second serves, about 76 mph! But then I saw some bigger second serves. It's too soon to know about his serve. Rafa was never pressured by Mayer on his serve.

This was a chance for Rafa to work out a bit of the rust and get the feel for the court and his groundstrokes. There were some great forehand shots and he was going for his backhand, but not that wicked angled one, at least not yet.

Rafa was moving into the court and looking to close out points more quickly. He was efficient and effective. However, this is against a guy who had nothing.

So now he will play his countryman Granollers. Maybe he will give him a bit more of a match. I am not complaining about the easy win, especially after what happened with Murray last night.

Rafa just looks really fresh, healthy and rested. He had that look in his eye, it's what I call his business face. He came here to make some noise!

Nativenewyorker , 3/12/12 12:29 AM

Yes good win by Rafa, a good workout. He served well and tried to play aggressively, and was moving inside the court whenever possible to end points. Mayer played better in the second set, hitting some hard flat shots and forced Rafa further back from the baseline. Rafa was standing way back from the baseline to return serves, though he did move up the court after he returned the serves. He has to be careful about big flat hitters (eg Delpo) who may hit hard and force him to move further back.

luckystar , 3/12/12 2:59 AM


You make a good point about those hard flat shots from Mayer. I noticed that Rafa seemed to be getting pushed back by them. If Mayer had been able to do it more consistently, if he could have gotten it together, then maybe the match might have been more competitive.

Rafa seemed to be making a conscious effort to move into the court. It was great seeing him hit forehand winners on the baseline or just inside the baseline. I am interested to see if he continues to try to be aggressive when he is playing someone who has more weapons to challenge him.

Nativenewyorker , 3/12/12 4:17 AM

Well, Mayer beat Falla, who is no slouch, in the 1st round. Falla had match point against Federer at Wimbledon in 2010 but lost his nerve. Rafa was rusty as well not having had a match play since the AO but he was sharp, considering.

nadline , 3/12/12 9:00 AM

NNY you must be having a ball. all this live tennis! Good to hear Rafa was playing more inside the court and looking to shorten the point rather than getting into long rallies. It will however (like you say NNY) be interesting to see how he plays when against someone who presents more of a challenge.

mojo , 3/12/12 8:24 PM


Yes, I am in tennis heaven right now. The tennis channel starts broadcasting at 11:00 am through to the night matches. I am really fortunate to get to see so much tennis!

I never try to analyze Rafa's first match after he has been off a while. Mayer may have beaten Falla, but what has that guy done lately? It was obvious that Mayer had nothing to trouble Rafa. In that sense, he was a good opponent. This way Rafa had a chance to test his groundstrokes and get his feet under him.

The one thing that really made me happy was to see Rafa serving well. I remember last year when I first saw him at I/W, he came out without a serve. He was double-faulting all over the place and that would come back to haunt him big time in the final. So that was very nice to see.

What impressed me was Rafa's body language. He had this look on his face as though he was ready to rumble. He looked great in his blue outfit with the contrasting green bandanna and wrist bands.

I am anxious to see his next match and get a better sense of his game, what he might have worked on. I hope he continues to serve well.

Nativenewyorker , 3/12/12 11:11 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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