• Nadal faces Chardy in Vina del Mar quarters

    2/9/13 2:46 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Nadal faces Chardy in Vina del Mar quarters The Rafael Nadal picked up the pace on Friday with a quarterfinal win in Vina del Mar and he is back in action on Saturday. Standing in Nadal's way of the final is Jeremy Chardy.

    Rafael Nadal and Jeremy Chardy will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they clash in the semifinals of the VTR Open on Saturday evening.

    On one hand this seems to be just the right time for Chardy to get his first-ever shot at the 11-time Grand Slam champion. After all, Nadal has been sidelined for more than seven months due to knee problems. On the other hand, there is never a good time to face the seven-time French Open champion on clay.

    Furthermore, Nadal already has four matches under his belt in Vina del Mar--all wins. He is through to the semifinals of both singles and doubles (with partner Juan Monaco). The top-seeded Spaniard opened his singles bid on Wednesday by defeating Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-2 and he followed that up with an even more impressive quarterfinal showing against Daniel Gimeno-Traver that led to a 6-1, 6-4 victory.

    "Today I had more confidence than the other days," Nadal said on Friday. "That is positive. It gives me confidence and reasons to believe that I'm on the right way."

    Chardy, meanwhile, is playing great tennis and could be Nadal's toughest test of the entire week. The 26th-ranked Frenchman lost in the opening round of his first two tournaments in 2013, but he promptly reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open. So far this week he has dismissed 16-year-old wild card Christian Garin and No. 6 seed Paolo Lorenzi.

    Although Chardy would have a real chance under these circumstances on a hard court, it should be a different story on clay. The third seed will not be able to win enough free points with big serves and one-two punches and will instead be forced into numerous baseline rallies.

    Count on Nadal advancing to the title match in straight sets.

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going with 4 and 3 here

RickyDimon , 2/9/13 2:52 AM

Chardy's a spoiler. I'm still upset that he put Juan Martin out at the AO.

Did you see that last set against Gimeno-Traver, Ricky? Rafa was hitting some spectacular shots, but I'm concerned about his stamina, and I hope Chardy doesn't succeed in running him from side to side.

OTOH, Nadal/Monaco are through to the final! They will play Lorenzi/Starace.

mara002 , 2/9/13 5:43 AM

Nadal and Chardy have never played each other and I don't think I have watched Chardy play that much, so we'll see.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 2/9/13 10:16 AM

Nadal to win 6-3 6-4

tennis2011 , 2/9/13 1:59 PM

Chardy can be great, but not consistently.

cherylmurray , 2/10/13 2:42 AM

great to see our Rafa in the final both singles and doubles...such a wonderful way to return to competitive tennis...Bravo Rafa!

Vamos Rafa the Greatest!!!

natashao , 2/10/13 3:22 AM

Chardy was sent packing - 62 62


nadline , 2/10/13 3:28 AM

Now I know what people mean about Chardy being inconsistent! Just when I thought he was going to make a bit of a match of it, he went walkabout again. He was spraying missed shots all over the place, his serve was hit and miss. I don't know, but he didn't seem to have any energy or be comfortable. He gave Rafa a ot of free points.

Rafa did what he had to do to get the win. He served well with the exception of that second service game in the first set. He seems to be getting more comfortable on the court.

So now Rafa gets to play for the title in both singles and doubles. This really has been the ideal start for him. Seeing that big smile on his face and his fist pump after he won the match, was so wonderful! Rafa's happy to be back playing again!

Nativenewyorker , 2/10/13 3:53 AM

Vamos! It is great to see Rafa winning! I did not watch it live so don't know whether he improved his movement and backhand (which appeared a little rusty in earlier matches). I think he will win this tournament.
While it would be great if Rafa won all the three tournaments, will he?
Acapulco could be more competitive.

holdserve , 2/10/13 4:21 AM

Watching that match, I saw a Rafa who was too good for Chardy not a Chardy who was below par.

Rafa was sharp and I never believed that Chardy had any chance at all. The fact that Chardy reached the Qtrs in Australia could be seen as a on off, he may look good against others but they are not Rafael Nadal. If some other top player had beaten Chardy so easily no one would have been blaming his inconsistencies, they would have been telling us how brilliant that top player was.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 2/10/13 9:12 AM


I am the last person to take credit away from Rafa, but Chardy was quite inconsistent in his play. Now maybe facing Rafa had something to do with that! I am certainly not saying that Chardy gave the match away, but I do not think he played well consistently enough to really make a match of it.

Rafa's movement is much better. He definitely seems to be getting his feet under him. His serving has been excellent. At one point the tennis channel commentators said that he only dropped like one or two points on his serve. That's a good thing.

I also never said that I believe Chardy had a chance. I just thought he would make the score more respectable. My understanding is that clay is not his best surface.

I am not going to get carried away with Rafa facing this kind of opposition. I think it's been the ideal tournament for his first time back. But we also have to be realistic and realize that there is a ways to go before Rafa gets back to the kind of form he needs to be in to do well in the clay court season. That is not a criticism of Rafa! That is just keeping it real.

I am extremely happy to see Rafa winning and now having the chance to get a title here. He is improving in every match. That's the most important thing.

I do not agree that if any other top player had beaten Chardy so easily no one would have been blaming his inconsistencies. There's no need to get defensive. It's a good thing! So let's just celebrate the success Rafa is having in his first tournament back. He looks very happy and I could not be more thrilled for him!

As far as the possibility of Rafa winning all three tournaments, why get ahead of ourselves? I bet Rafa isn't thinking about that right now. Also, I would expect Acapulco to be more competitive. It will be good for Rafa to get some tougher opponents.

Good luck in the finals, Rafa!

Nativenewyorker , 2/10/13 9:24 AM

Racquet Reaction on sums up exactly how I saw it:

"Hooking a slice serve into the corner of the box that darted left with runaway sidespin, Nadal bounced into the court to pounce on a short reply with punishing intentions. Nadal crunched his trademark inside-out forehand at such an acute angle, Chardy was nearly sent sprawling into the front row after flicking a sliding forehand in a desperate attempt to prolong the point. It was a brief reprieve.

Waiting near net, Nadal knocked a high forehand volley winner into the vacated court to seal the opening set. That sequence typified tonight?s semifinal: Even when Chardy went to great lengths to extend the top seed, Nadal refused to let him gain any ground."

nadline , 2/10/13 9:39 AM

How was his backhand? Could somebody who watched the match tell me?

holdserve , 2/10/13 10:59 AM

I am glad somebody showed concern regarding rafa's backhand as I also felt that in his last match, his backhand was below par. He was not at all confident with that show and \i thought it was the only thing which he hit better in his first match.

holdserve, to our delight, rafa hit his backhand much better against chardy ! depth was good, pace was good...he went down the line at just the right times and most importantly that heavy, short angled cross court backhand was there too.

In my opinion, there are hundreds of positives to take from this tournament so far. I shall wait for rafa to win the title and then give my opinions :)

vamosrafa , 2/10/13 1:58 PM

I havent watched any match but I am hearing 3 concern areas on the message boards

Movement on he court

Can anyone elaborate what exactly is the issue? Maybe after the title match ;-0

Would like to hear Rickys take on Rafa too and what he foresees for Rafa going forth in 2013

sanju , 2/10/13 3:43 PM

Thanks vamosrafa!

holdserve , 2/10/13 5:06 PM

sanju, in my opinio, maybe all those apply to the first match, although I don't think stamina has been a problem. In the first match his movement was not good, probably through nerves and not knowing how much to put on the knees. Daniel G-T pulled out all the stops in the 2nd set and really only threatened Rafa's serve when he was serving for the match by throwing everything at him at match point. As far as yeasterday was concerned, you wouldn't know he'd been away, everything was working well and the backhand was better than ever.

nadline , 2/10/13 5:35 PM

Due to popular demand, the Vina del Mar final will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports 3 HD on the red button.

Chile has cashed in on TV rights this week. They hit the jackpot with Rafa and he has justified it all by reaching the final in both the doubles and singles.

nadline , 2/10/13 5:46 PM


The tennis channel had a brief interview with Uncle Toni before Rafa's semifinal match with Chardy. He spoke about his thoughts on Rafa's game. He thought his serve was good, the forehand was good. He said that the movement is the issue. I wish that I remember exactly what he said, because I don't want to misquote him. But he seemed to be very positive about Rafa.

The movement was not good in Rafa's first match. I thought it was just Rafa being careful with his knee and not wanting to push it and maybe just getting the feel of the court. The one thing that Justin Gimelstob mentioned about movement is that Rafa hasn't been able to get to the drop shots when his opponents used them in these first few matches. I noticed it, too. It's almost like his opponents are testing his movement. However, I am not reading too much into it. I see Rafa not being quite as fast right now when it comes to running down the drop shots, but he also may not want to push himself on every point. That might go to the stamina issue, too.

Vamosrafa covered the backhand issue. There's nothing more for me to add. He said it better than I could. I am generally cautious by nature when it comes to assessing Rafa right now. Of course, I am happy to see him playing better than I expected and winning. He's in the final and has a chance to win the title. That is the best result any of us could have hoped for.

It's not about who is right when it comes to what we see with Rafa. I just don't want to get too carried away and think that he is back to his best. That is going to take time. But looking at how he has gotten better in each of his first three matches, is very encouraging. Most important of all, Rafa looks so happy!

Nativenewyorker , 2/10/13 8:00 PM

I'm not saying that Rafa is ready to beat anyone, but in his match against Chardy, I think if someone didn't know he'd been out for 7 months they wouldn't find much wrong with that performance. Obviously, he will need to build his confidence and mental strength before he plays the Berdys, Wawas, Tsongas, and the top 3, but considering that was only his 3rd match, he was good. He dominated Chardy that's why Chardy was making a lot of errors.

This was Rafa playing Zeballos at RG in 2010, I think he looked sharper yesterday.

nadline , 2/10/13 8:35 PM

Nadal vs Chardy RG 2010

nadline , 2/10/13 8:37 PM

Yes Zeballos was terrible at RG 2010.

chr18 , 2/10/13 9:13 PM

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