• Nadal headlines Thursday play in Barcelona

    4/26/12 2:04 AM | Kelli DeMario
    Nadal headlines Thursday play in Barcelona Defending champion Rafael Nadal is set to headline round of 16 action at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on Thursday. The top seed will square off against qualifier Robert Farah for a spot in the quarterfinal.

    World No. 2 Rafael Nadal opened his Barcelona title defense with a routine victory over fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The top seed secured six of 15 break points en route to a 6-1, 6-2 win in an hour and 22 minutes.

    He is bidding for his sixth consecutive quarterfinal berth of the season.

    World No. 246 Robert Farah held on to upset 16th seed Pablo Andujar in the second round, 7-6(8), 4-6, 7-5. The 25-year-old will attempt to make his first tour-level quarterfinal on Thursday.

    Prediction: Nadal in straight sets.

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Vamos Rafa!

nadline , 4/26/12 11:03 AM

Who is this imposter masquerading as Nicolas Almagro these days..............?

rafaisthebest , 4/26/12 12:33 PM

Vamos our Rafa & God bless.

schatz , 4/26/12 12:53 PM

really bad by Almagro

RickyDimon , 4/26/12 3:30 PM

Farah appears to have settled into the game, giving Rafa something to think about in the 2nd set.........

rafaisthebest , 4/26/12 4:40 PM

Do we have to go behind the sofa ritb?

schatz , 4/26/12 4:57 PM

Well done our Rafa - vamos & God bless.

schatz , 4/26/12 5:02 PM

^^^^no, schatz, our boy is through to the next round. Expected really, given Farah is a qualifier and all, but he did better than GG-Lo, getting 5 games off Rafa.

Tipsy will be a different proposition tomorrow............


rafaisthebest , 4/26/12 5:02 PM

Rafa served well in the first set. Second serve return in second set not quite so gd but no doubt his team will look at that, also he hit the ball short a few times, but all in he didn`t have to move out of third gear as the commie said.

mojo , 4/26/12 5:10 PM

Sorry ment to say:- Rafa served well during the first set. Second serve return in second set not quite so good he hit the ball short a few times but no doubt his team will look at that. All in though (like the commie said) he didn`t have to move out of third gear.

mojo , 4/26/12 5:20 PM

what does that mean (like the commie said)

chlorostoma , 4/26/12 5:26 PM

Commie = commentator.

mojo , 4/26/12 5:28 PM

Nice to see Daveed thread his game back together after a disastrous MC showing by his standards..........

rafaisthebest , 4/26/12 5:46 PM

DFerrer is always good viewing, he`s so zippy!

mojo , 4/26/12 6:45 PM

best thing about rafa in barcelona so far has been his backhand ! really impressive. There were a few hiccups in set 2, some short returns and unusual mistakes but I thought his opponent played well too ! good going rafa

vamosrafa , 4/26/12 10:12 PM


I got to see this match on the tennis channel today! I agree with you about Rafa's backhand. Where has that shot been? I thought he did have a few hiccups, as you say, in that second set but also agree that this guy played quite well.

You are one of the nicest Rafa fans and it's good to have you back and read your comments.

Well done, Rafa!

Nativenewyorker , 4/26/12 11:30 PM

hi there NNY, so glad to get your feedback :) feels good to have a knowledgable rafa fan agree with my thoughts. Rafa is getting great length on his backhand and he has started to rip those big CC backhands too...he is changing the directions quite well. Forehand is there like always,the best shot ever on clay IMO! looks like it will be ferrer/muzza in the final..that will be a good test

rafa is having mild pain in his knees but he says that he is not being hampered by that. I hope he wins barcelona without dropping a set and then takes a week's rest at least, decision to go to madrid should be decided primarily on the basis of rafa's knees ! we want a 100% fit rafa for RG ..its so exciting to even think of rafa winning his 7th RG , WOW ! he'l suprass borg and tie an all-time record with that win, cant wait !you can do it rafa

vamosrafa , 4/26/12 11:48 PM

second-serve return is still horrendous

RickyDimon , 4/27/12 12:10 AM

'horrendous' is definitely not the word i would use, surely. Dont know what matches you have been watching . what do you mean by the word 'still'? he returned pretty well at MC and one of the many things he did better this time against djokovic was to return much better. The press conference also had reference to rafa's improved, deep returns . He returned well at times against GGL and it was not at all horrendous against farah. HOWEVER, i do agree that the 2nd serve return has to improve , esp the consistency part. If he faces a tough opponent, he does have the tendency to drop the ball short with the 2nd serve ROS. He'l gradually improve the depth..

vamosrafa , 4/27/12 12:57 AM

I can't figure out why he's standing so far back on the second serve. It puts him out of position on his next shot. If he's not playing Isner, he should be moving in some.

cherylmurray , 4/27/12 3:02 AM

I agree with cheryl. That's exactly what I was thinking as I watched this match. Absolutely!

Nativenewyorker , 4/27/12 3:06 AM

Nadal and Tsonga have by far the worst second-serve returns of any players in the Top 10.

RickyDimon , 4/27/12 4:04 AM

yea, the court positioning is a problem. May be because he has had so much success playing like that he is reluctant to change? he like to take big swings at the ball so...

and yes, tsonga and rafael have the weakest returns in the top 10 (before anyone attacks this, we are talking about the initial return shot , not the return game)..
It would be a dream come true of rafa regularly starts returning serves like he did against berdych in set 4 of the oz open qtr 2012 lol

vamosrafa , 4/27/12 11:11 AM

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1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
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