• Nadal battles Nalbandian in Brasil Open final

    2/16/13 11:48 PM | Kelli DeMario
    Nadal battles Nalbandian in Brasil Open final World No. 5 Rafael Nadal looks to win his 51st ATP World Tour championship title with a victory over former world No. 3 David Nalbandian. The players are set to contest their seventh career meeting on Sunday.

    Top seed Rafael Nadal holds a 4-2 series edge against veteran David Nalbandian. Sunday signals their first live match on clay.

    Nadal is through to his second final in as many weeks after holding off Argentine lucky loser Martin Alund in three sets. The 26-year-old will be looking to win his first ATP World Tour title since early June 2012, when he sealed an 11th Grand Slam effort at the French Open.

    Nalbandian secured a spot in his 24th ATP World Tour final with a straight-set defeat of Italy's Simone Bolelli. The 31-year-old veteran is seeking his first championship title since 2010, when he won top prize in Washington, DC.

    Prediction: Nalbandian in straight sets.

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you mean Nadal?

RickyDimon , 2/17/13 7:08 AM

Nalbandian in straight sets?! Makes little sense to be honest...Sure, Rafa is not playing well...he is not even at his 50% at the moment...he makes numerous UEs...his movement sucks...but his serve improved...his third set yesterday was one of the best he played after his come back on tour...he will not be losing in straight sets...he will fight...
it only comes to the fact of whether Rafa really wants to fight as hard as he could for the win...Nalby is his friend...Nalby needs this title...Rafa on the other hand only uses these tourneys for warm-up...we shall see...But I would really like to see real tennis out there...I think it is time for Rafa to gear up...
Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 2/17/13 11:20 AM

Can't believe anyone would be predicting a nadal win. He's self admittedly slow and his knees are troubling him. He said he can't compete anywhere near his top level and Nalbandian is playing pretty well. I think the Nalbandian in straights prediction is spot on, especially considering that these "clay"courts play like the is open.

willmw101 , 2/17/13 12:17 PM

If Rafa plays like he played in set three of his SF match, then I say he'll beat Nalby. Rafa is familiar with Nalby's style of play, unlike those opponents whom he has not faced before and doesn't know what to expect. In fact Rafa almost won that Chile final in two sets if not for his lack of match play and confidence. If Rafa decides to step up his play in the final, he should be able to win. He still has his knee pain but I guess it's normal like what his doctor has told him earlier on. It's an indoor court here so it favors the big servers more, no wonder Rafa is having problems with his ROS (on top of him not being able to exert too much pressure on his knee and not at his usual full strength/power yet).

luckystar , 2/17/13 1:34 PM

I have heard Nadal say the courts are really fast. Why did he enter this tournament in stead of the one in Argentina next week? Didn't he know this was indoors and there was altitude to deal with which he hates? Poor planning it seems?

chr18 , 2/17/13 2:38 PM

I think he doesn't consider Argentina because its back to back with the 500 event Acapulco. It doesn't matter that the court is quick, but it matters if the court conditions is bad. He's not chasing after some shots I think because he doesn't want to risk injuries, when his foot got stuck in the clay. Nalby will be a good test for him, before he probably faces Ferrer in Acapulco. He may win the title(s) or he may not, but what's more important is as much match play as possible for him. He going to three sets, upping his level in the third to win, is a good sign, as the more he hits the ball and goes for his shots, the more he'll get used to his own shots and regains his own rhythm.

From what I saw from his SF match, he's not playing as badly as what some of us here had said, of course he's not the Rafa that we known, not yet. Still, he's good enough to win when not playing too well, just like Fed scrapping through his Wimbledon matches when not playing well, or Nole barely escaped during his FO matches with Seppi and Tsonga. Mind you, both Fed and Nole weren't coming back from a seven month injury break back then!

I think people are expecting too much from Rafa. Like Fed, Rafa had created the monster (the clay monster), that he losing a set in a clay match after being absent for seven months from the tour, was viewed with shock, from the commentator of the match! My goodness, he should know better than that!

luckystar , 2/17/13 3:07 PM

I didn't see his getting this far, tbh. To be pushed to three by Berlocq and Alund, who at 27 hadn't won a single main-draw match before this week, indicates to me that Nadal just isn't ready.

Nalbandian is in a different category altogether, especially w/ that backhand of his. Nadal has had struggles with him before- albeit not on clay- but I don't see him winning this one. Not yet.

Kelli , 2/17/13 3:18 PM

nalby in 2 is the most reasonable guess...but i wont be surprised at all if rafa raises his level and wins

vamosrafa , 2/17/13 3:43 PM

Nadal will win, likely in straights

Nalbandian is actually pretty bad on clay

RickyDimon , 2/17/13 3:49 PM

...but isn't Nalby also back from injury and this is his first tournament? He's playing well enough to win, but I don't think he's playing exceptionally well, so if Rafa ups his level, Rafa may win. I just hope that Rafa doesn't fear Nalby or shows too much respect for him.

luckystar , 2/17/13 3:53 PM

Rafa should hire chr18 as his schedule manager.

holdserve , 2/17/13 4:32 PM

Ricky this isn't clay.

willmw101 , 2/17/13 4:58 PM

dont know whether to give more weight to luckystar's point or willmw101's as both are true at least...

However, I have no doubts that if rafa can raise his level and shift into the second gear from third gear, he'l emerge as the winner

vamosrafa , 2/17/13 5:03 PM

Yes. Quick chr10-18 contact Rafa right away. Your insight is wasted here when you could be a critical part of Rafa's team. Join LinkedIn and invite Rafa. He needs you. Stop wasting your god given talents on TT. Trust me. Rafa needs you.


Conspirator , 2/17/13 5:05 PM

Conspirator , 2/17/13 5:07 PM

holdserve, 2/17/13 4:32 PM and Conspirator, 2/17/13 5:05 PM,

Well said! Yes, it's such a shame that chr18 is wasting his talents as a scheduler on this site, when he could be sharing his so-called wisdom with Rafa's team! LOL!

I think everyone has broken down the arguments for and against a Rafa victory in this final. It is true that this is not real clay. It's really a hard court with some clay thrown over it. Rafa has said it's faster than the USO and it was said that this is one of the fastest courts on the tour. That would work against Rafa.

I didn't see Nalby's semfinal match, so I don't know what kind of form he is in. I know that he served well with 11 aces. Rafa will have to serve well if he wants to win. I don't know that I see a straight sets victory for Nalby here. If Rafa's knee is hurting him and he doesn't want to push it, then maybe that could happen.

I know that luck said Rafa isn't playing as badly as some here have said. Vamosrafa and I have been livestreaming his matches. He's not anywhere near the Rafa we know at his best. There are some good things to take from his matches, but Rafa's ROS is woeful, backhand is inconsistent, overhitting forehands and not moving well. I think someone came up with a stat that Rafa won 33% of his ROS. That's not going to get it done.

Rafa may not be ready for Nalby yet. This match will tell us more about where he is at on his progress back. I am not ruling out Rafa winning.

Nativenewyorker , 2/17/13 5:24 PM

Rafa moving very well at the mo. and whacking his 4hand. U guys can breathe sighs of relief, I think :)

deuce , 2/17/13 5:56 PM

1st set Rafa - 62


nadline , 2/17/13 6:07 PM

wow, rafa is moving much better, hitting the backhand better, doing damage with the forehand more consistently! such an improved performance so far .VAMOS

Finish david off in 2 sets rafa.

p.s nalby's 2 fisted backhand is a treat to watch k like always

vamosrafa , 2/17/13 6:08 PM

testing times now..

vamosrafa , 2/17/13 6:14 PM

rafa has definitely worked on his 2nd serve...i have seen him hit really nice kick serves on imp points...

vamosrafa , 2/17/13 6:23 PM

What is rafa doing. Backhand letting him down BIG time

willmw101 , 2/17/13 6:24 PM

oops, very quickly rafa gets broken again! i am not giving up on this set IF rafa can break here right away..otherwise its set 2 to nalby

vamosrafa , 2/17/13 6:25 PM

Rafa got a time violation warning from Bernardes and had a few words with him. He seems to have gone off the boil now. More UE's. In the first set I thought Rafa played the best tennis I have seen since he came back. It looked too easy. Now he seems to have lost his way at the moment.

At least we know that Kelli's prediction isn't going to come true. It won't be Nalby in straight sets!

Nativenewyorker , 2/17/13 6:28 PM

good boy rafa :D now consolidate and i am confident you'l have your chances to even the scoreline...plz HOLD

vamosrafa , 2/17/13 6:29 PM

Nice service hold from Rafa. He seems to have settled down. He's got the crowd behind him. He is playing so much better in this match. He's moving better, his groundstrokes have more depth, penetration and accuracy and he is being aggressive going to net to close out points quickly.

Nativenewyorker , 2/17/13 6:33 PM

NICE hold after being down 15-30. Rafa's forehand on clay esp when its working well, is arguably the most lethal weapon tennis has ever seen...

vamosrafa , 2/17/13 6:33 PM

WHy on earth cant rafa hit his backhand on the rise? Every other top player can, and he always loses court position when he back off so much to hit his bh...

willmw101 , 2/17/13 6:36 PM

Rafa breaks again! All tied up at 3-all!

Vamos Rafa!

Nativenewyorker , 2/17/13 6:37 PM

willmw101, you have made a good point there. Actually, rafa does start hitting backhands earlier than this when he is confident about his would not really be fair to ask him to do all the right things this early..

the game 2-3, rafa was roaring like a lion when creaming the ball with his forehand ! loved that sight...

vamosrafa , 2/17/13 6:43 PM

Rafa gets the break! Will now serve for the match!

Nativenewyorker , 2/17/13 6:44 PM

So much for my theory re: Nadal's form....:x

Kelli , 2/17/13 6:45 PM

The boy done well!

Rafa wins 62 63

Rafa won 6 games in a row,after dropping his serve twice in the 2nd set.

nadline , 2/17/13 6:52 PM

That's ok Kelli, you'll learn! Haha

Good "planning" by Rafa and his team. Chr10-18 don't give up your day job. Haha

Well that's Delpo and now Rafa. Whatcha think, third time lucky, lucky? VAMOS Milos!!!!!

Too bad FedbotFanBoys!!!!!!!!!!!


Conspirator , 2/17/13 7:02 PM

although nalby did not provide much of a challenge, but this EXCELLENT performance gives me all the hope in the world ! Rafa's serve was really impress..2nd serve is also getting better... just work on your backhand and ROS boy ! movement is bound to improve with confidence


vamosrafa , 2/17/13 7:05 PM

Congrats Rafans. Good to c a title even if its a 250 and not a strong field. A title will add to the confidence.

Atleast we wont have to hear the crap ' no title since 7 months' crap..Now Fed is 6 months without a

So I read that his serve, FH was clcking ..its the movement, BH , ROS that bad am i right? but is it getting better match by mach?

sanju , 2/17/13 7:08 PM

Vamos Rafa!
In hindsight, I am sure all Rafans will agree that Rafa losing in Chile was a blessing. Now we have more realistic expectations and are better able to analyze his progress. His last 3 matches have given us more insight into Rafa's form and progress.
And his win here hopefully powers him to a win in Acapulco over the more formidable foes.
I hope he doesn't strain himself too much at IW or Miami. Want him to be in good condition for the Spring.
I have modest ambitions for him this year. If he wins Roland Garros and nothing else, I wouldn't be disappointed.

holdserve , 2/17/13 7:08 PM

What a glorious sight for a great player.

I cannot describe my joy! I thought Rafa would cry. Rafael Nadal bites a trophy.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 2/17/13 7:11 PM

Well done, Rafa! I don't know if Nalby was tired after that match with Almagro, but he didn't put up much of a fight. The good news is that Rafa played his best tennis since his return. He was hitting some lines with his groundstrokes, the forehand was much more accurate, the backhand needs work but it's there at times and the serving was good. That ROS is something that will improve with time. I thought that Rafa's movement was quite good.

This is wonderful for Rafa! A title in his second tournament against a quality player! This will give him confidence moving forward. Unlike in 2009 after he came back from the knee tendinitis, he won't have to be burdened with not winning a title for so long.

He looks so happy! Now he has a week off and then it's on to Acapulco for some tougher competition.

This is a happy day!

Nativenewyorker , 2/17/13 7:16 PM

Such enormous pleasure to see Rafa bite the trophy again...we are so proud of him. Nice play by Rafa in this final...I knew he would step it up and it turned out to be sufficient for the win...Congrats to Nalby as well, he really is a nice guy...
Our Rafa looks so happy out there...his tennis is improving day by day and that is such good news...and he looks adorable and SO cute, doesn't he Rafans?
This ordinary day has just become exceptional. Thank you Rafa!

Vamos Rafa the Greatest!

natashao , 2/17/13 7:18 PM

Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.

It's been too long but the joy of watching Rafa bite a trophy once again after the long dark months of his absence will lift the spirits of every Rafa fan in the world.

ed251137 , 2/17/13 7:19 PM

Yes! Rafa bites another trophy! Vamos!

So..very happy for Rafa! After such a long wait! Rafa shown flashes of brilliance throughout the match, not consistently though. With enough match plays, I'm sure he'll get back to his best very soon. Nalby certainly didn't serve well today and he's no match for Rafa.

Yes conspirator, so we're correct about picking Delpo and Rafa. Raonic next I hope. Delpo is fast becoming the best indoor player now, may be taking over from Fed soon.

luckystar , 2/17/13 7:21 PM

ed251137, 2/17/13 7:19 PM,

So well said! Beautiful! It's a great day!

Nativenewyorker , 2/17/13 7:27 PM

WHOOOOOOO @vika7 ! Congrats Baby for winning the Qatar Open! Now, I'll Award You With My Body. (new song)

God this Vikas bf - is he a

sanju , 2/17/13 7:29 PM

Great job, champ! Vamos!

vmk1 , 2/17/13 8:37 PM

Rafa was on the ball, Nalby was totally outplayed and had no answers. The two service games that Rafa dropped were nothing to do with Nalby, Rafa lost those games Nalby didn't win them. Rafa has played a two week stretch without a break, he is the one who should be tired, so I'm not taking anything away from his by suggesting that Nalby may have been tired.

It was so enjoyable to see the old Rafa back not timid to go for his shots and playing without much pain. Of course he's got to maintain this level for a few more weeks and then everyone will know that he IS back.

nadline , 2/17/13 9:49 PM

Shame I didnt get to see the match, but I am so ecstatic that Rafa won!!! IT WAS ALONG TIME COMING!!!!

Looking forward to many more wins and hope Rafa's health improves!!!


Monalysa , 2/18/13 12:27 AM

mara002 , 2/18/13 5:01 AM


I didn't see Rafa crying. I have the match recorded. Now I will have to go back and see if I can find it. I heard that Rafa's father was crying, but I didn't know that Rafa was crying. Yes, happy tears! I can only imagine what his father and uncle were feeling, having watched Rafa struggle with this injury for so many months and now finally to come back and be victorious.

It was truly a joyous moment! It's so great to have Rafa back! Happy times!

Nativenewyorker , 2/18/13 6:03 AM

NNY, this is a shot of Rafa after the match, showing how much it meant to him to win.
(You have to look close.)

Tou ched my heart.

mara002 , 2/18/13 6:29 AM


Oh my God! What a picture! Thanks so much for posting it! Now I just have to go back and check my recording of the match to see if it's there.

You know the old saying - a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, this is a perfect example!

It really did mean that much to him.

Yes, it touched my heart, too. A few tears in my eyes.

Nativenewyorker , 2/18/13 8:47 AM

Here is a clip showing the family in tears. I wonder what Nadal was saying to the umpire when he shook hands. He looked very serious.

ed251137 , 2/18/13 9:31 AM

So happy I cannot find adequate words to describe how I feel. Such good news and just to see him so happy is enough for me.

Vamos our Rafa & God bless.

schatz , 2/18/13 1:09 PM

He said ,"Carlos if you ever call a time violation on me again, I'll have you umpiring on the Challenger or Futures circuit. Got it?"

chr18 , 2/18/13 1:54 PM

chr18, Rafa is not Fed. He neither has that clout nor is he that vengeful. We remember, don't we, how after Rafa called Fed out on his inaction in representing players' concerns that ATP started seriously implementing the time rule?

holdserve , 2/18/13 4:07 PM

We also remember this little encounter between the 2. Nadal "Carlos, I don't want to play anymore".

chr18 , 2/18/13 7:00 PM

ed251137, 2/18/13 9:31 AM,

I did see that video on vb. So touching to see Rafa's father with happy tears! They have had to watch him struggle with this injury and go through so many months of rehab and physiotherapy. They must know just how hard it's been and how much it's taken out of Rafa.

Rafa has such a loving, supportive family.

Nativenewyorker , 2/18/13 7:36 PM

What makes me happy about the match yesterday is to know that when Rafa is healthy, he plays sublime tennis and no one plays like him. Of course it's early days yet, but a few months down the line, I hope he'll be knocking them all off one by one.

Just love the way Rafa plays!

Vamos Rafa!

nadline , 2/18/13 7:40 PM

chr18, So if Rafa is prevented from taking reasonable time to serve, why should he not say he doesn't want to play any more?
It does not in anyway mitigate Fed's vengeful and manipulative nature.

holdserve , 2/18/13 7:52 PM


Rafa said that his knee felt good in this match. What a difference it makes when he is not feeling any pain! You could see that his movement was so much better in this match. In fact, I think this is the best he moved in the tournament. He brought his best for this match. It was so nice to see him stepping into the court to blast forehand winners down the line. He was powering through his groundstrokes more and getting better depth and penetration. I also loved seeing him be aggressive, moving into the net to hit a great volley. He mixed it up very nicely.

Yes, we should try to be cautious because it's still early on in his comeback. But the results have been very encouraging. I can't wait to see him in Acapulco. He will have the chance to match up against some tougher competition. But we have seen that the core of his game is still there. It's just a matter of getting the consistency, rhythm and timing back and also stamina and strength.

It is a thing of beauty to watch Rafa play!

Nativenewyorker , 2/18/13 7:55 PM

And of course who can forget these gems...

http://www.yo J7hyk

Conspirator , 2/18/13 7:57 PM

... and it only took me three and a half hours to dig these up.


Conspirator , 2/18/13 8:01 PM

Either you didn't watch the video I posted or you speak no Espanol. He told Bernades he wasn't going to play anymore because he ruled the point for Berdy and he even went to the tournament director to appeal. I told you already what he told him yesterday.

chr18 , 2/18/13 11:14 PM

chr18, your point?

holdserve , 2/19/13 12:11 AM

Point is they have a history and don't like each other.

chr18 , 2/19/13 1:16 AM

Well in that case Carlos is proved to be vengeful or a Fed fan. I wouldn't shed any tears if he really got moved to Challengers or elsewhere. He deserves to be given the boot.

holdserve , 2/19/13 5:49 AM

holdserve, do you believe chr18?? You think Rafa would say such things to Carlos?

luckystar , 2/19/13 7:07 AM

Agree with Luckystar. crap18 has been proven repeatedly to be a fibber.

jean , 2/19/13 9:53 AM

Of course I don't believe chr18. I already said Rafa is not vengeful. I just pointed out that Carlos is vengeful and is probably a Fed fan and deserves the boot.

holdserve , 2/19/13 1:29 PM

Who keeps the player rankings "up to date" on TT?

Must be either Lindt-all or chr18's day time job.

The last update was "coincidently" Fed's last week at No. 1.


Conspirator , 2/19/13 2:34 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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