• Nadal, Federer renew rivalry in Indian Wells semis

    3/17/12 5:38 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Nadal, Federer renew rivalry in Indian Wells semis A blockbuster semifinal lineup in Indian Wells features Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on Saturday. The winner will go up against either Novak Djokovic or John Isner for the title.

    Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will be squaring off for the 28th time in their careers when they do battle in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday afternoon.

    Nadal leads the head-to-head series 18-9, but it is all tied up at five wins apiece on hard courts. Ten of their last 13 encounters have gone Nadal's way, including a 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-4 decision at this year's Australian Open. Federer's most recent win came via a 6-3, 6-0 blowout last fall at the World Tour Finals.

    Both players are in stellar form heading into the next installment of one of the greatest rivalries in tennis history. Nadal did not come close to losing a set in routs of Leonardo Mayer, Marcel Granollers, and Alexnadr Dolgopolov before battling past David Nalbandian 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. Federer dismissed Denis Kudla, Milos Raonic, and Thomaz Bellucci then demolished Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3, 6-2 on Friday.

    Nadal is now 14-2 for his 2012 campaign, which includes a semifinal in Doha and a runner-up finish to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open. Federer is an awesome 20-2 for the season. The third-ranked Swiss is coming off back-to-back titles in Rotterdam and Dubai.

    There are no secrets between these familiar foes. Court surface has generally dictated the outcome of their recent matches, with Federer winning on fast hard courts and Nadal getting the upper hand on everything else. It's advantage Nadal in Indian Wells with slow, high-bouncing hard courts.

    Look for the second-ranked Spaniard to prevail in two competitive sets.

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No, Fed only has the upper hand at indoor hard courts, not fast hard courts (if they're outdoor), as Rafa did beat Fed at Dubai, a fast outdoor hard court, in 2006. I'm not sure it'll be a blockbuster, more likely may be like Miami last year. Fed is no Nalby, Rafa knows what to expect from Fed, but he's unsure about Nalby.

I can understand Rafa's concern about facing Nalby, for Nalby is so unpredictable, he can play like crap one match and brilliant the next. Seriously, if not for Rafa's nerve today, Rafa would not need three sets to finish off Nalby, if Rafa was playing his best game(clearly he wasn't playing his best game this match). Against Fed, who's definitely more consistent than Nalby is, Rafa is all prepared and knows what to do.

PS Nalby and Davy play like Nole, and those three will always give Rafa troubles esp on the hard courts. Time for Rafa to fight back and comes up with an effective game plan to deal with them.

luckystar , 3/17/12 6:19 AM

Looking at the way Fed finished off Delpo and the way Rafa struggled againdt Nalby am not too sure if Rafa can pull this off easily.It can go either way

Also Rafa had a long gruelling quarter,he will be more tired than Fed due to less recovery time

sanju , 3/17/12 6:36 AM

sanju, Fed also had two long matches back to back, I don't think he has any advantage over Rafa. Also, Delpo clearly was affected by his shoulder issue today, not playing as well as he could, and he too also had a long and late match against Istomin and Delpo's stamina is no where near that of Fedal's.

Frankly, I don't find Fed impressive at all this IW, he even had problems against Bellucci on a hard court! Bellucci is no where near Nalby's level, if both play their best tennis, which Nalby is doing today. This Nalby may also give Fed, and Nole, problems here, judging by how not so impressive these two players play here. In fact up to the fourth round, Rafa looks the most impressive among the top three, and all three have relatively 'easy' opponents, except maybe Raonic for Fed ( and oh the brilliant Dolgo didn't appear to play against Rafa).

luckystar , 3/17/12 6:47 AM

Lucky hope so but Feds 3 setters were 2 days back,he had a day off and today was walk in the park for him

Delpo is being overhyped,he cant even offer a challenge to Fed in 3 out of the 4 matches they played this year

Hope Rafa wins though am not as confident as you lucky

Lucky,do you see any positive changes in Rafas game after the 1 month layoff and racquet change ,if yes can you pls enlighten. I havent watched any of his matches

sanju , 3/17/12 7:03 AM

One can expect Federer to start off the blocks fast and try to get the first break in the match. If Nadal chooses to receive after winning the toss, it would only make the match harder for him. He is serving well and there is no reason to concede the advantage of luck at toss, if that happens. Federer is likely to improve his first serve % to around 60%. Nadal has to serve not below 70%. Federer is hitting backhand better than before. He will play the all court game, not concentrating on the back hand of Nadal alone, as many others do. Nadal brings out his best against Federer. It is safer to bet on him, but Federer can not be taken for granted. Nadal has won the last two encounters, at Abu Dabhi exhibition and Australian Open. If there were a law of averages, it is Federer?s turn.

eskay , 3/17/12 7:24 AM

It's not a walk in the park for Fed today, he surely took a long time in his first service game just trying to hold serve and Delpo had all the chances to break serve but failed to do so! In fact Fed wasn't brilliant at all today, it's more like Delpo playing a crappy match, not helped by his taped up shoulder. Delpo played bettter at Dubai against Fed.

Rafa looked fresh, happy and enthusiastic this IW. He's also sharper in his shot executions, hence finishing off his first three opponents, losing only 14 games, quite easily. IMO his problem with Nalby is more about his nerve than his game. He made more UEs this match, most likely due to him mistiming his shots. He has the fear factor against Nalby, and he played tentatively in his penultimate service game, and so lost his serve when serving for the match at 5-2 in the third set. I don't understand why he played tentatively in that game, taking risk and went for more aggressive play might do the job instead, and if not he would still be 5-3 up and had his chances in his next service game. It's at times like this that we realized that Rafa was still not very confident about his own game and reverted to a more 'safe' game and hoping for errors from his opponent. I hope he can overcome this problem in his game, now that he has already beaten one tough opponent like Nalby.

luckystar , 3/17/12 7:34 AM

Don't know why, but I feel like it's going to be similar to Miami'11 SF( i hope that my instincts prove to be wrong) albeit being a FEDERER fan. Also Federer is not 100% fit. So that makes his chances of winning even more glim. But I am really impressed by the way he has fought through his previous matches something which we havent seen from him lately. So that does give a hope. But in the end, God knows what happens to him when he sees Rafa on the other side of net. His level of play dips at every crucial moment during the match. Also Rafa plays with more confidence against him. None of them among the trio(FED, RAFA, NOLE) has looked sublime. So the things are pretty even at the moment. All said nd done, even knowing that Roger will be the underdog today, will definitely like to see his win. And even if he loses, that wouldnt dampen our spirit coz he's our king.. GO MAESTRO!! : )

abhirf , 3/17/12 7:53 AM

Agree with you luckystar. Anyway, I am proud of Rafa that he pulled out the win against Nalbandian who played a great match.

He was tested and came through in the end which hopefully will give him confidence.

schatz , 3/17/12 8:30 AM

Unless Fed can raise his level at the crutial points in the match, Rafa will take it...probabably in three sets.It wont be a blowout - I expect two competetive sets and one with a score 6-2 or 6-1.

netcord , 3/17/12 8:41 AM


Rafa has come into this tournament rested, fresh and ready. He was off for five weeks and we know that Rafa needs match play to get his timing and rhythm going. He had three very easy matches until Nalby. He spent a minimum amount of time on court and didn't have to push himself. So having this three setter with Nalby was actually a welcome test for Rafa. We know how Rafa thrives on tough matches when his back is against the wall. It's how he rolls. The harder it is, the more he has to struggle to win, the better for him.

Rafa never wants to see Nalby standing on the other side of that net. On any given day, Nalby has the game to trouble any of the top players. He has been plagued by injuries throughout his career and that has prevented him from realizing his considerable potential. But Rafa talked about how naturally talented he is and how difficult an opponent he can be.

I wondered if all those UE's from missed shots that Rafa makes in his sleep, was because of nerves due to the pressure of Nalby's game or maybe he just didn't quite have his timing and rhythm yet and having to deal with Nalby not being match ready, gave him so much trouble.

I know that this win will only give Rafa more confidence. He knows that he didn't play his best today but hung in there and fought for the win against one of best ball strikers in this game. He was pushed and challenged and that is what he needed. Remember that quarterfinal against Berdy at this year's AO? Rafa was pushed to the brink before he managed to raise his level of play and win that match.

Nalby played incredible tennis today. It should have been hard for Rafa. Nalby has always been a bad matchup for Rafa. I think he won this match on sheer will.

As lucky pointed out, Fed has already has two tough three setters in this tournament. He needed an easy match. Rafa isn't sick, is rested and healthy but lacking in match play. This battle will give him the boost he needs as he faces Fed in the semis.

There are no surprised between these two. They know each other by heart. I never take anything for granted, but I believe that this win over Nalby gave Rafa a huge boost.

Nativenewyorker , 3/17/12 10:20 AM

Ricky, why not highlight the fact that Rafa is 5:1 on outdoor courts, and to bring in Roger's 20:2 win/loss ratio this year to Rafa's 14:2 is so unrealistic. This is Roger's 4th tournament this year and Rafa's 2nd, so why compare apples with oranges.

Just saying.

nadline , 3/17/12 10:37 AM

Thanks nny,lucky

Do you people see positive changes in Rafa regarding his play,shots,execution after 5 week layoff and racquet changes?

sanju , 3/17/12 11:44 AM

the last and only time Roger won an outdoor hard court match against Nadal was in a serious tennis action match in Miami 2005. what a match that was! Fed came back from two sets down and 4-1 in the third to beat Rafa.

Can Roger win in these conditions again after 7 years?

Allez Roger!

OnTheRise , 3/17/12 11:48 AM


It's Roger's 5th and Rafa's 3rd tournament this year, but my point is still the same.

nadline , 3/17/12 11:57 AM

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/17/12 11:59 AM

Package on the way.....FEDex time!!!!

scoot , 3/17/12 1:11 PM

nadline - just stating the facts. A player's record for the season (especially just 2 months into the season) speaks volumes about their current form. And as for the surface, I said plenty about that in the final paragraph.

RickyDimon , 3/17/12 1:39 PM

When analysing how matches will turn out - you will always refer to the players performances in their previous matches.

However I think that logic can be ignored when looking at a Nadal / Federer match. For all the epicness that their rivalry has brought to sport in general, there's not a lot of new things to be observed form this match up.

Every tennis fan knows Rafa's strategy against Fed, so no need to elaborate. In many ways his error - strewn performance against Nalbandian may prove beneficial as he surely can't make as many errors in successive matches. He can only improve on that performance. Also we know that Rafa is a player who gets better when he has to fight harder to win. He's very much a super saiyan of tennis (re: Dragonball Z - for those unfamilar with this term)

Fed's gameplan is too very well known, particularly on a hard court. He wants to get that fast start, taking the ball early, hitting lots of winners and taking the ball early and also time away from Rafa. Much like the way he started in the Australian semi final. This is may what will work in his favour, that in a 2 out 3 setter - he can set a quick pace , getting on the front foot. In a 3 out of 5 set match Rafa has longer to get into his rhythm and eventually grind Roger down.

Of course Rafa has the advantage, where unlike against Djokovic - he knows he can beat Federer - the hardcourt h2h especially is surprising - another reflection that the rivalry is becoming ever lopsided in Rafa's favour. If he plays to his maximum I now believe he can near enough always beat Fed on an outdoor hardcourt - who would've thought that 3-5 years ago?

I have a feeling that Fed will be too quick fire for Rafa this time around, but if Rafa hang tough and cuts down those errors - he'll win in three sets.

lebsta2 , 3/17/12 1:56 PM

This is going to be another easy one for Nadal in this so called "rivarly". Pretty similar to Miami semis from last year.

I agree with Ricky, Nadal in two sets.

Emiliano55 , 3/17/12 3:02 PM

I have a feeling Rafa will come out all guns blazing, like he did last year at Miami. After all why change a success formula? An agressive Rafa vs an agressive Fed, I certainly know who will win.

Rafa vs Nalby, Rafa certainly didn't come out all guns blazing and that's why he had to work so hard today. Rafa now has all the weapons to deal with Nalby, unlike in 2007, it's strange that Rafa still fears Nalby, for nothing really. A Rafa making so many errors still can scrapped through and beat Nalby, can't imagine what a less error prone Rafa can do to Nalby.

The key to Rafa's success against all these top guys is still: be aggressive.

luckystar , 3/17/12 3:20 PM

Roger will find a way this time.
His weapons are better than RAFA except the fighting quality.
Stay calm, compete till the end.

Get rid of this machine from your mind.

sabs , 3/17/12 4:46 PM


Sorry that I didn't address your other question. One good thing is that Rafa isn't double-faulting all over the place, the way he was at this tournament last year. His erve stats have been much better. He has been serving some really slow second serves, but placement has been the key.

The other thing I noticed is something that Gimelstob pointed out on the tennis channel. Rafa is looking to close out the points more quickly by going for his big forehand earlier in rallies. His court position has been better, more on the baseline or inside the baseline. He has been moving into the court more often to close out points with a great volley at net.

I have been hesitant to say too much, because I knew that Rafa really wasn't tested in his first three matches. I had a feeling that Nalby would give him trouble. I don't know if the UE's were from nerves or Rafa just not having enough match play facing someone like Nalby. I hope that he got it all out of his system.

As lebsta said, there's no way Rafa could make more UE's against Fed than he did against Nalby. Hopefully, he worked out the kinks and got some confidence from winning a match against a guy who has given him so much trouble in the past.

I am sure Fed will want to come out and get a win. He won't want to keep losing to Rafa now that they are meeting more often in the semis. There's not much to analyze. They know each other too well.

I hope we get a great match.

Nativenewyorker , 3/17/12 8:43 PM

Even though Rafa made 39 unforced errors he had 30 winners whereas Nalbandian also had 39 unforced errors but only 23 winners. When I saw that it did not seem as bad as I first thought. Otherwise the match stats did not look that bad. Anyway, that's done and dusted.

Vamos our Rafa and I hope you play great tennis against Rog - hope it is not a marathon as Rafa has to play in the doubles final with Marc after his singles match.

schatz , 3/17/12 9:11 PM

Vamos Rafa!!!

natashao , 3/17/12 10:03 PM

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myrtiekaminski , 3/17/12 10:57 PM

wind, rain delay not Roger's favourite conditions.
Come on Roger! needs to fire it all up to win this.

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 1:44 AM anybody here?
hummm everyone is sleeping I guess :|

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 1:48 AM

Great start by Roger. Hope he maintains this level of play throughout the match.

abhirf , 3/18/12 1:50 AM

The start reminds me of the AO 2012...Federer up fast, t hen Nadal clawing back....the conditions and matchup favour Nadal, obviously...

Bharata , 3/18/12 2:05 AM

The only fact that will determine the outcome of this match is whether Federer can play at his best for 1.5hrs or not.

abhirf , 3/18/12 2:08 AM

rafa not doing anything with his backhand. He has given federer so many short balls with his backhand, if he could just pick up the intensity and pace on that wing, he can get the upper hand. Federer looks very confident right now, that game at 5-3 was brilliant. brimming with confidence..

vamosrafa , 3/18/12 2:13 AM

Well abbhirf, you've got your answer for the first 45 minutes or so. Really came through in the business end of the set. Nadal will be back though, just like the 2nd set of AO...

Bharata , 3/18/12 2:13 AM

First set Federer 6-3 lets hope he can keep this level 15 winners 9/9 on the net waw!

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 2:14 AM

Federer in a murderous touch at the moment. Wish he continues to play like this and makes the most of it.

abhirf , 3/18/12 2:16 AM

I know it has served rafa well when he attacks federer's backhand but it is very important to attack fed's forehand by hitting big inside out forehands and rafa has an excellent inside out forehand . He has been using it more often in 2012 but not enough of it in this match ...needs to replicate the Oz 2012 pattern

vamosrafa , 3/18/12 2:19 AM

man those Half volleys from Roger are killers!

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 2:25 AM

wow, rafa cant seem to hit a ball :S struggling big time.may be its the strong wind? but windy conditions usually play in rafa's favor ! such a contrast in the level of plays of both players

vamosrafa , 3/18/12 2:29 AM

Wow. Too good! Didn't think he had it in him. GOAT at work. If he plays like this tomorrow Izzy doesn't stand a chance.

agfmilos , 3/18/12 2:29 AM

C'mon Rog!

abhirf , 3/18/12 2:29 AM

yes vamosrafa I don't know why both of them dont' do this more. I don't think either of them like hitting forehands when they aren't prepared...

well I'm hoping FEd cvan consolidate that break, but Nadal always comes roaring back...

Bharata , 3/18/12 2:30 AM

Roger breaks to love and then hammering winners it's 3-1 yes!

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 2:31 AM

I can't believe everyone doubted Federer!! He is destroying Nadal!!

kilcoyne1989 , 3/18/12 2:34 AM

Na, its gona be over 6-2 ish....rafa looks subdued there...if he is unable to hang on to this game, its a drubbing

vamosrafa , 3/18/12 2:35 AM

wohooo almost got him there. Roger at his best in the wind ladies and and gentlemen.

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 2:37 AM

rafa would get bossed around again if he does not step up his aggression. federer now seems to be making some errors so rafa must capitalize

vamosrafa , 3/18/12 2:39 AM

Federer let down the chance of getting an insurance break. C'mon Federer now dont make these sloppy errors.

abhirf , 3/18/12 2:39 AM

the problem for rafa is that on one side he is not playing well at all and on the other side roger is playing an excellent match. comeon rafa where's that Oz open match like aggression ?!

vamosrafa , 3/18/12 2:43 AM


kilcoyne1989 , 3/18/12 2:47 AM

this is just about the worst nadal has ever played

willmw101 , 3/18/12 2:47 AM

Well done from Fed. But can he hang on? this will be a tense service game...

Bharata , 3/18/12 2:48 AM

YES another break! well I think Roger is playing extremly aggrevie that he would normally make a lots of UE but today it's working somehow ! impressive!

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 2:48 AM

Lol...fed is God mode...see you in Miami Rafa

atul1985 , 3/18/12 2:48 AM

that is the worst i have seen nadal play not only against federer but also on a tennis court generally ! what's bothering him? :S wind usually is friendly for him ! fed's extra aggression is one cause but hey federer's always aggressive against rafa !! must applaud federer's consistent aggressive play but dear rafa how can you play like this against your arch rival !

vamosrafa , 3/18/12 2:50 AM

C'mon Roger. U just need to serve out the match now.

abhirf , 3/18/12 2:50 AM

fed is definitely not in god mode, he hasn't had to play well against nadal at this level. YES he has dealt with the wind well but there have been no long rallies in this match, just a few winners from fed and A LOT of errors from nadal. awful, especially considering Nadal usually adapts well to the wind, can't understand why his level is so low...

willmw101 , 3/18/12 2:51 AM

LOL ! that was the only game rafa played with conviction and aggression and look how much of a difference it made ! he'l beat beaten now, too late

vamosrafa , 3/18/12 2:52 AM

Nadal on the move breaks back. lets see!

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 2:52 AM

no chance, fed will break straight back or serve it out next game. Nadal doesn't deserve this anyway, terrible all round performance.

willmw101 , 3/18/12 2:53 AM

did u guys notice that Fed did not make a slice return, all at Nadal's feet.

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 2:55 AM

nadal just needs to regroup for miami. This game is over, fed's won it. think nadal might be sick, just saw him running off court for a bathroom break, might explain this awful performance.

willmw101 , 3/18/12 2:56 AM

Rafa gets a sniff to come back in the match. Let's see if Roger can serve it out the 2nd time.

abhirf , 3/18/12 2:57 AM

Nadal took 1.20 hrs to warm up...too late for him unfortunately..

atul1985 , 3/18/12 2:57 AM

well if you wait to be 5-2 down to turn up your aggression, usually you do not deserve to win...rafa is hanging in there, he has been hitting harder+deeper in the last 2 games but federer just needs to get some healthy 1st serves in and he can control to win it 6-4. keep fighting though , rafa.

vamosrafa , 3/18/12 2:57 AM

this is over, roger will serve it out. bye bye nadal

willmw101 , 3/18/12 2:58 AM

Roger needs to end this now!

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 2:59 AM

no chance, nadal is out

willmw101 , 3/18/12 2:59 AM

look. as soon as rafa plays aggressive tennis, roger gets tight too ! its natural

vamosrafa , 3/18/12 2:59 AM

Roger, u cant do this crap at this juncture of the match.

abhirf , 3/18/12 3:00 AM

it's match points for God's sake! WHAT THE?!!

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 3:02 AM

game over, inexcusable miss from nadal at 30-30, fed will take this match point and win.

willmw101 , 3/18/12 3:05 AM

This is unbelievable, the last point played in the rain, Rafa misfits...

atul1985 , 3/18/12 3:05 AM

told you

willmw101 , 3/18/12 3:06 AM

What a serve, cold off the break. Well done Federer. He is mentally stronger than I gave him credit for.

Bharata , 3/18/12 3:06 AM

He ended the match playing much better did Rafa, was too late though...very strange set and a half from Rafa

atul1985 , 3/18/12 3:07 AM

awful from nadal, didn't even deserve the games he won in that match. Worrying form considering that this is the stretch of the season he normally gears up for. inexcusably poor tennis

willmw101 , 3/18/12 3:08 AM

and it's an accccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccce!
Federer today is the master of outdoor slow rainy windy hard courts! "where the real tennis is played" as some people say.. lol

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 3:08 AM

Had been waiting for this day, when nerves won't let Federer down!!
And it happened... That is much relieving!
Congrats Fed. Wishing you all the best for the coming season, now that it seems you are at ease with Nadal at last.

All the best!

solitudine , 3/18/12 3:10 AM

Congrats FEDfans! Right on FED!!! woo hoo! :)

sky , 3/18/12 3:10 AM

12/13 net points won for Fed. I felt in the AO he was going to the net too much and giving Nadal a lot of fairly standard passes, which gave NAdal lots of fist pumps and confidence. So FEd picked his spots much better this time.

With Isner playing like he did vs Djokvoic, it will be a tough final...Isner already beat him l ast month.

Bharata , 3/18/12 3:10 AM

No excuses from Rafa this time. Everything in this match should have favoured him. Slow and bouncy court. Check. Windy conditions, making it harder to play the high risk tennis Fed needs to play in order to beat Nadal. Check. No injuries. Check, unless someone else knows something?. On top of that, it was Federer who was recovering from illness.

jrbro4 , 3/18/12 3:11 AM

haha for the record solitude if you think for one second that that victory will erase the nadal demons in federer's head you are much too optimistic. this was great fro fed but awful from nadal. For Federer to go some way towards erasing the mental demons that nadal has created he would have to beat Rafa at the top of his game over 5 sets.

willmw101 , 3/18/12 3:12 AM

The way rafa played when down double break, that's how he was supposed to play right from the start ! dont know why he played so poorly ! federer started and finished very very well but usually fed does play very aggressively against rafa, like oz 2012 but rafa has the answers !

p.s, no comments on that 30-30 miss ! u thought he had that butter forehand lined up but.........................................................

vamosrafa , 3/18/12 3:14 AM

Fed was supreme, totally deserves the win....Rafa was not up to the task: only 10 winners to Fed's says it all...poor performance by Rafa...hesitant and defensive he stands no chance against Fed...amazing and beautiful game by Fed...Congrats to all his fans...

natashao , 3/18/12 3:14 AM

HOPP Roger!!!!!

When you won Dubai I said tha twould shut a lot of people up since a lot of the fed haters were using the line that Roger hadn't won a title outdoors and nadline promptly replied it didn't.

Let's hope you win tomorrow to shut up some more haters.

Federer at 30 still a force to be reckoned.

P.S.: How I imagine nadal fans were so happy djokovic got beaten before nadal played. LOL

bleck , 3/18/12 3:14 AM

@jrbro4 loved that check-list of yours, nice work lol

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 3:17 AM

@bleck, no i was not happy about djokovic losing. Rafa winning indian wells beating isner, ok that wud be great but not really great because the main objective is to beat djokovic right now, we all know he cant avoid novak for long so why not here ! i was not at all hoping djokovic's exit.

vamosrafa , 3/18/12 3:19 AM

^^^ You have to admit the vast majority of andal fans must've been happy.
Nadal hasn't won a singles title in 10 months is it? C'mon!!

bleck , 3/18/12 3:22 AM

Obviously Nadal was not in full form , but a win is a win. This probably Federers strategy , to be consistently healthy to take advantage of Nadals dips.

Nadal was probably foaming in his mouth after Djokovic got taken out.

Luckystar to say that Federer now plays like Davydenko , Djokovic and Nalbandian but with one handed backhand.

I rather takes Federers head to head against Nadal and the occasional wins , instead of the pulp that Nadal becomes in the hands of Djokovic (consistently)

nirv02 , 3/18/12 3:23 AM


actually I wasn't happy at all that djokovic lost. I want Nadal to play djokovic as many times as possible until he breaks through, and it will come this season. Bleck enjoy the win, fed played great and he is the in form player, but try not to be a heinous winner as well as an awful loser.

willmw101 , 3/18/12 3:26 AM

look how some nadal fans sure that it will be like last year miami ..ya it was like last year miami but winner was Federer.

mani4Tennis , 3/18/12 3:28 AM

@nirv02 so you'd rather take a losing head to head rather than a winning one?? wow, the stupidity has reached a whole new level on this site. LOL

willmw101 , 3/18/12 3:29 AM

Yes that includes you ..willmw101!!
In the real world I would rather have Federers losing streak against Nadal than have Nadals losing streak against Djokovic.


nirv02 , 3/18/12 3:31 AM

I'm a Rafa fan and would have preferred Nole in final but moot point now innit?

Congrats to Fed. Well deserved. He made Rafa play poorly. Even when Rafa put it deep to the BH Fed had the answer with those deep volleys.

Just more goat evidence. 10-18. He's got a ways to go yet though. ;)

agfmilos , 3/18/12 3:34 AM

Well, it didn't take the Fed fans long to come on here to spew out their hate and venom! What a pathetic display and it shows just how desperate they are for a win against Rafa anywhere, anytime.

Poor sportsmanship, lack of class and grace are the only polite words I can use to describe the spiteful comments from them.

I know Fed fans have no shame, but I will say it anyway - shame on you!

Beyond embarrassing! You would think that this was the be-all and end-all. Like Rafa still doesn't have a lopsided advantage in the h2h.

I won't congratulate Fed because of the disgusting comments here. I have done so in the past, but I have had it with this despicable trashing of Rafa and his fans. If you can't just celebrate Fed's win, then I pity you Fed fans. That kind of anger and hate eats you up from the inside out.

Nativenewyorker , 3/18/12 3:36 AM

Looking forward to tomorrow's match. the FED is strong. I'm surprised how well he has managed to play while being sick. Seriously FED! WOW! C'MON!

sky , 3/18/12 3:36 AM

"I rather takes Federers head to head against Nadal, instead of the pulp that Nadal becomes in the hands of Djokovic (consistently)" Nirv02

You clearly state that you would rather take the head to head numbers of rafa-nole over fed-rafa, this renders your comment utterly meaningless in it's lack of logic and stupidity.

They might not admit this but every fed fan would take rafa-nole's head to head numbers instead of fed-rafa's head to head numbers due to the fact that it would erase the one huge fact stopping federer from being universally accepted as the greatest of all time: that nadal has dominated federer throughout their careers.

willmw101 , 3/18/12 3:37 AM

Meant to say half volleys. (Fed much more tolerable than some of his fans on this board - enjoy it while it lasts I guess)

agfmilos , 3/18/12 3:38 AM

^^^^ I'm with you sky.

HOPP Roger!!!! For the 3rd title of the season.

bleck , 3/18/12 3:39 AM

and no you don't have a comeback nirv02. Can't believe how bitter fed fans get even when federer wins. Very rarely see nadal fans behave this tacky and class-less after a win. Fed fans must reeeeeaaaaly need that win over the world number 2...

willmw101 , 3/18/12 3:40 AM

Didnt I say "I"

and bye willmw101.. enjoy

nirv02 , 3/18/12 3:44 AM

yes you did, not sure what that changes though... and congratulations it's still the stupidest comment of the year of TT so far. LOL

willmw101 , 3/18/12 3:47 AM

A wins a win, and it is a step in the right direction for Fed. But the key for him now is to capitalise on this, use it as a launch pad for the main part of the season. I believe against Nadal what we saw today was the right strategy for Fed to win, but he must get over his habit of tightening up at the really crucial moments in a match. For example, he had two break points mid way through the second set to go up 4-1, serving to go 5-1 but he committed two poor errors. On top of that, serving for the match at 5-2, and even at 5-4 he hardly made a first serve. Not good enough. He cannot afford to rely on an off day from Nadal every now and then. Until he learns to play the big points consistently with confidence, he will continue to come off second best aginst Nadal and Djokovic in the majors.

jrbro4 , 3/18/12 3:48 AM

This should be a welcome victory for Fed, (The road to no.1 begins at Indain wells).
Before start of the match it was clear that Fed had to beat only two players in row who have beaten him this year.

Nadal played well during AO, Isner played well in Davis cup(But does Fed cares about devis cup??).So let's see if Fed takes the title or Isner continue his run.

If Fed wins tomorrow(Djoker has already lost 600+, nadal 240 poinst and fed can add 600+ points), point difference between top 3 will come down.

champ00289 , 3/18/12 3:51 AM


Don't even bother with them! It's not worth it. This is what they do. Rafa fans have to go through this hideous hatefest any time he loses to Fed. At least Rafa got him at the AO. I'd rather have that win in a slam than this.

I try to be as polite as I can, while still expressing my utter disdain for this wretched excess. But when you are as desperate as Fed fans are, you grab at anything and make it the win of the ages. This is what they do. You didn't see Rafa fans trashing Fed and his fans when he beat him in the semis at AO.

You described that comment very well! But I am going to move on and look forward to Miami. That's why Rafa fans don't stay around here if he loses to Fed. We can't stand the stench of their hatred.

Rafa will live to fight another day! We know that for whatever reason, he didn't play his game today. Whether it was just an off day or whatever, he lost a tennis match. Let's not make the mistake of the Fed fans and think it means anything more than one win.

Nativenewyorker , 3/18/12 3:53 AM

Dios Mio! I thought this only happened at the WTFs

conquistador , 3/18/12 3:57 AM


Correct this is just one win for Fed, but if you look at the fact that he didnt beat RAFA since i guess 2009 on slow hardcourts(or except indoors), so this should be a boost, rafa fed h2h will always be in rafa's favour.

champ00289 , 3/18/12 4:00 AM

It is important moments anytime the FED wins over Nadal. This should translate into Nadal being less in Rogers' head every next time. I'm sure this must mean a lot to Roger who plans on being a tennis player for a few more years. What are among Rogers' goals I wonder? The occasional win for fun, or does he dare dream the impossible dream of being on TOP on of tennis world again, for however long. As a FED fan it's just fun to have him around, and when I see him win, YES! It feels good! Keep it going Roger! C'MON!

sky , 3/18/12 4:07 AM

So Rafa played like crap and Fed in God mode? No wonder Fed won. Congrats to Fed. I didn't get to see the match, from the comments here I know Rafa wasn't at his best, probably affected by yesterday's match.

Let's see whether is it Isner's time to shine this time!

bleck, FYI, looking at how Isner played, I'm not sure I'm happy that Nole lost and Rafa made it to the final. I'm now waiting to see how Isner plays in the doubles, if he wins, then I really believe it's his time now.

On another note, this loss may be a setback for Rafa. I was hoping that he gets his game back on track here but it's not meant to be, so more work has to be done. Well that Nalby match may have dented his confidence instead of helping it. I'm a bit disappointed by this loss, as this may affect Rafa's confidence even further. I hope I'm wrong.

luckystar , 3/18/12 4:07 AM

Oh I do want to be clear, since a certain Fed fan loves to do the thinking for Rafa fans. I wasn't chomping at the bit when Nole lost today. That's because I don't think or react like a Fed fan. I know that Isner played some darn good tennis to get that win. He is playing quite well and has a shot to win this. He has always been a tough opponent for Rafa, so I wasn't relishing seeing him in the final. There's an old saying - be careful what you wish for. I want Rafa to meet Nole in a final and have his chance to get a win.


I am surprised at your comments about Rafa's loss. Why feed into the Fed fan hysteria? It's one match. I understand that it has to be more to the Fed fans who live in hope. But to a Rafa fan, it should be one bad match for him and not an indicator of how he will play moving forward.

I do not agree that the Nalby match dented Rafa's confidence. The problem was that Rafa wasn't playing well in that match. He struggled and had to come from behind. If anything, it should have given him confidence because he was able to win even not playing his best. I can't see how struggling against a guy that has given him trouble all throughout his career and then getting the win, would hurt him.

Rafa is a champion. He won't let this loss to Fed hurt his confidence. He will be smart enough to know that it was one bad day and not make it more than it is. Neither should his fans.

Fed wasn't in God mode either. He had 28 winner to 25 UE's. Not the stuff of legend. Rafa was just that bad. He seemed to play better in the last few games, but it was too little too late. If there was anything wrong, if Rafa got that bug, he will never say anything. No excuses from Rafa!

Rafa fans should stand behind him in both victories and defeats. There are real positives to take from this tournament as Rafa moves ahead this season.

Fed fans want us to think that this means Fed will not have Rafa in his head, that he has turned the corner, that he will be #

Nativenewyorker , 3/18/12 4:16 AM

Thankyou Nativenewyorker for being the voice of reason in this debate. Much appreciated.

jrbro4 , 3/18/12 4:19 AM

Sorry, I posted before I finished my last post. Fed fans think that he will be #1 again and will win slams and beat Rafa all the time now. They have a right to hope. But I have confidence in Rafa. He had a bad loss to Fed at WTF. So now he had a bad loss on this outdoor court. He will handle it. He's not a great champion for nothing.

Also, I am taking notes on the comments from Fed fans. When Rafa beats him again, I am not going to take the high road as I have in the past. I will never be as cruel as some of the Fed fans here, but I am going to gloat and gloat and gloat.

Nativenewyorker , 3/18/12 4:20 AM

Just for the record I'm a Rafa fan. Terrible playing conditions and Roger just managed them a whole lot better then Rafa did. He looked great tonight. It's nice to see Roger play well ... although I'm sad for Rafa. I think it would be great for Roger to get back to number one ... just long enough to break Pete's record ... not too much longer then that, though ;)

smr , 3/18/12 4:21 AM

Somebody is gonna serve for a match against me, what do I do, what the heck, I take a toilet break.

vmm , 3/18/12 4:53 AM

As a Fed fan who is objective, I find it annoying to be painted by this brush of 'all the Fed fans here are unsportsmanlike or ungracious winners'. Actually most of the comments I have read above are from people who are just happy Fed won. Most are not claiming Nadal will never beat Fed again. Some Nadal fans on this site, I'm afraid to say, are very thin skinned. It's no big deal, your hero is human and cannot win all the time. If you watched in particular the first set, you will see that Fed was slashing winners at carzy angles and playing incredibly aggressive and controlled tennis. This might be hard to believe, but sometimes Nadal actually loses and it's not just because he had a bad day, or he had a secret injury, or due to an international conspiracy. He's still the 2nd best tennis player in the world, and percetage-wise, he SHOULD beat Fed on a windy and cold, slow court. But he is human.

NNY, please t ake this 'note down': Nadal is sure to beat Federer many times in the future. In fact over 5 sets Nadal should beat Fed every time now that Fed has passed 30. Fed fans know a win is a rare thing so are understandibly happy.

A win here and there does not prove one guy is `better' than another. It just means that the margins are so close at this insane skill level. And a 30 year old, aging Federer can still trouble a player in the prime of his life.

Bharata , 3/18/12 4:54 AM

Bharata - Great stuff

sanju , 3/18/12 5:03 AM

Icredible tennis from the FED... Amazing Roger has done it again. Come on!

tomnjerry2 , 3/18/12 5:19 AM


I am not condemning all Fed fans! Sorry, but Rafa fans go through this insanity every single time he loses to Fed. It bothers me a lot because I take the high road and don't throw cheap shots at Fed. The things that have been said about Rafa by SOME rabid Fed fans are beyond egregious, including comments about his sexual preference, doping, cheating, lewd and inappropriate musings about Rafa's female fans having intimate fantasies about him. It has been at times quite abominable.

So please don't patronize me by throwing around this argument that I am painting all Fed fans with the same brush. Also, please don't selectively pick and choose only the comments from your fellow Fed fans that you think show them off in the best light. We can all read.

I also don't like being referred to as "thin-skinned"! If I was, then believe me I would never have survived the slings and arrows from the worst of the Fed fans. I don't know if you were here at the end of last year. If you were, then maybe you might remember the comments from some of the worst of the Fed fans to the effect that Rafa would lose Davis Cup, would never win anything again, would never beat Fed again, would be finished, washed up, would have to retire. Everyone who was here at the time knows exactly what I am talking about.

If Fed fans cannot be happy for their guy without gratuitously trashing Rafa and his fans, then that is too bad for them. I don't live with anger and hate. It's too costly. I don't attack Fed here at all for any reason.

Also, take this down! Rafa is not making any excuses for this loss. I can say that I believe he played badly. That is my belief and opinion. That is how I see it. It doesn't change the fact that Fed played better on this day and won. But to think that this means that somehow the tennis landscape has changed, is nonsense.

Your comment is duly noted and so are the others that I thought were particularly mean-spirited and hateful. I will keep my promise. No more being nice and polite the next time Rafa wins. I will not stoop to the level of those Fed fans who viciously attack Rafa. I will not cheap shot Fed. I respect him too much.

You need to check out a few other topic threads to see what some of the worst of your fellow Fed fans are saying. There are a few who only show up here if Fed beats Rafa, just to throw salt on the wound.


I am kind of surprised at you.

Nativenewyorker , 3/18/12 5:38 AM

NNY, I didn't get to watch the match, I just picked up some comments here and I thought Fed was in God mode and Rafa wasn't playing well. Why was Rafa not playing well? Was he tired physically, or was his confidence affected, there must be a reason. If Fed was not playing that well and Rafa still couldn't beat him, that meant Rafa was really in crappy form and I don't understand why!

I'll watch the recorded match and make my own judgement. Don't be too upset by the comments of SOME of the Fed fans here. The gloating, the bashing of Rafa are expected each time Fed beats Rafa, though fortunately those times are rare and far between. Let them gloat for a while, it won't be long I tell you!

luckystar , 3/18/12 6:06 AM

hi NNY, looking at the posts on this page, above your original one where you say 'it didn't take long for Fed fans to spew venom,' etc. I can't really see much that is offensive. In fact the only ones saying Nadal deserved to lose were from people whom I presume are Nadal fans (vamosrafa, willmw101). Everybody else just said Federer played really well and deserved to win. I guess Bleck raised some ire by bringing up the fact Nadal hasn't w on a title since the FO last year, and suggesting that all the Nadal fans were happy that Djokovic lost. But being annoyed by that is like being annoyed if someone says Fed hadn't won a GS for 2 years, or is 1-4 vs Nadal on hard courts, etc. Hell I would admit that I'm happy if Nadal loses before playing Fed, because Nadal OWNS Federer.

However, it's true I didn't read other threads on this match yet, so maybe there is a lot of venum as a result of the outcome of THIS match. But the comments on this thread have been fair from supporters on both sides, and in fact quite gracious from Nadal fans.

Bharata , 3/18/12 6:33 AM

^^^ agreed nothing offensive really. Take it easy people.

OnTheRise , 3/18/12 8:08 AM


You hit the nail on the head with that one person. I am just going to say that there is a cumulative effect, a fatigue factor if you will, from a few of the more rabid Fed fans. That is why I have taken pains to make sure to state that I am not painting all Fed fans with the same brush. We have had some great Fed fans on this site over the years. It's just the same few that have to twist the knife and I am sick to death of it.

I listed some of the insults Rafa fans had to read at the end of the year. It was absolutely a low point and that's why some of them are no longer here. I have made it a point to come here and congratulate Fed for his wins. Then I have to read the same garbage about Rafa over and over again. So I am not going to do it anymore. I have no dislike for Fed. I have praised him when he did so well at the end of last year. I admire and respect the fact that he can play this kind of tennis at this point in his career. Fed is not the problem. It's a few of his fans who have gone over the top and always try to bait Rafa fans. If you read our comments when Rafa beat Fed in the semis at this year's AO, you would see that we didn't go about trashing and insulting Fed. We were just happy to see Rafa win and make the final.

You see that Rafa's fans are honest when he doesn't play well. So is Rafa. I well remember what was said here when Rafa lost to Fed at the WTF. The things I said in my previous post were not made up. All of that was said, over and over again. That's really all I have to say on the subject.


Please watch the match and then let me know what you think. I value your opinion. Rafa did not play well at all. He was struggling against Nalby, but I thought that despite his high UE's, he still raised his level of play. Rafa just didn't seem to be there at all.

The serve stats are revealing. I checked them out after the match. Rafa won a muc lower percentage of second serve points than Fed. That was one thing that stood out to me. Fed had 28 winners to 25 UE's. That's hardly God mode. However, he was aggressive and much sharper than Rafa. He played better today and deservedly won. I have no problem stating that at all.

I don't know if there was anything going on with Rafa. So I can't say if he was tired or ill or fatigued or what. The last thing I want is to make excuses, because I don't want to feed those few Fed fans who love to bait us when Rafa loses. Rafa seemed to struggle with the cold, windy conditions much more than Fed. His shots didn't have enough depth and weren't penetrating.

I still think that the win over Nalby could only have helped Rafa's confidence. It could just have been a bad day at the office. Rafa has had trouble coming back from these layoffs. I mentioned a few of his surprising losses after returning from time off, like at Montreal and Cincy last year. He didn't even look that good before the AO this year.

Let me just sum it up this way - Rafa has not yet managed to get to the level he was at in the quarters, semis and final at the AO. I will watch to see how he looks in Miami. If it's just lack of match play, then he should do better.

I am anxious to have one of those discussions with you that I enjoy so much. Maybe you will have some analysis that will help me to understand what happened.

At times like these I go back to the Rafa fan forum to get away from the gloating. Thanks for your words of wisdom. But I am keeping my word about remembering who said what about Rafa. Because Rafa will beat Fed again.

Nativenewyorker , 3/18/12 8:54 AM

NNY, I don't have the time to watch the match today, I'll do it the next day, and slowly analyse and digest whatever I can get from the match. You may pay a visit to Steve Tignor's blog on today's two semifinal matches and check out what he and also Rafa had to say about the match. Apparently Fed adjusted better than Rafa to the conditions, and the heavy conditions made the ball bounced low like the O2 arena, and so favored Fed's style of play.

Not to worry, Rafa seems to realise what went wrong and I'm sure he'll learn from this experience. Is the doubles final postponed to Sunday? I think it will be better for Rafa if it's postponed, he needs some time to digest this loss and overcomes whatever emotions he has about this loss.

One more thing, while watching the Nole/Isner match ( had to miss Rafa's though), I was thinking had Isner and Rafa both reached the singles and doubles final, it would be terrible if one had to lose both finals and frankly I was worried that Rafa might end up losing both! I guess that's the worry a fan too invested into a player's career may have. Now I've to worry about Rafa's doubles final, knowing how devastating Isner's form is at now! Oh, the worry that I have is only limited to the hard courts, no worry when it's on clay.

luckystar , 3/18/12 9:44 AM

It is obvious that Roger played the better match on the day - done & dusted. I knew some of the Fed fans would gloat as they do, but I can understand them being happy at the win.

If Rafa had been playing his best tennis and then still got beaten by Fed, then I would be worried.

Rafa is only human and while I am sad that he lost he will come back to fight another day.

Vmm @4.53 - no comment except that it shows what kind of a person you are.

schatz , 3/18/12 12:05 PM

schatz @ 3/18/12 12:05 PM: Sorry, you are wrong , it shows what kind of a person Rafa is, do anything to distract the opponent to get the W. If he wants a break he should have taken it before his serve not when his opponent is serving and in particular serving for the match.

vmm , 3/18/12 9:03 PM

vmm, 3/18/12 9:03 PM

Check the ATP rules. Toilet breaks can be taken during a changeover, nothing sinister about Rafa taking a toilet break when he did. When you gotta go, you go! Wait a minute, has Fed complained about that as well? He's been in a whining mood of late....................sorry, meant, winning........

rafaisthebest , 3/18/12 9:41 PM

He he, strange that Fed fans are complaining about toilet breaks, knowing full well how Fed make use of toilet breaks to disrupt Davy's rhythm at one of the AOs. Oh yes, that was AO 2010, the year Fed won, when he had to get pass a red hot Davy that year! AO is a slam, you know, more important than a Masters!

luckystar , 3/18/12 9:50 PM


You are on my list with that comment. The next time Fed takes one of his toilet breaks I am going to make sure to remind you of what you said about Rafa. There is nothing worse than a fan who is a sore winner!

Your comment shows what kind of a person you are and you are not a true fan of this sport.

Nativenewyorker , 3/18/12 11:15 PM

To be truthful, Nadal's best days are over since last season just as Federer's is since 2009. Though Nadal is way ahead than most in the tennis circuit, but his dominance of the likes of 2010 may not be repeated again. And the current youngsters would find much more easier now to compete against him than before, just as the top four could expect much more success against him than before like it happens for Federer. And that opens up a plenty of scope for Murray and the others who are looking for their big breaks, and that includes Del Potro as well. Now, Djokovic is also no more that invincible like last year, seems like Mens Tennis is going to be more interesting with some unexpected results and new faces winning slams and majors! Hope all these raises the standard of play even more. It's no more Federer-Nadal rivalry only that is to be enjoyed and talked about...

solitudine , 3/19/12 1:44 AM

You guys are crazy, your idol does not know how to follow rules so don't bring up rules. He wants somebody in charge to slap on his ass to force the rules when he takes more than 30 sec between points instead of him following the rules so he apparently does not follow the rules so don't talk about rules and Nadal in the same sentence. And don't talk about my character if you have nothing else to say. Nadal is a great talent, any tennis fan agrees that but at the same time he is disgusting.

vmm , 3/20/12 2:56 AM

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