• Gulbis eyes Nadal in Indian Wells quarter

    3/13/13 3:13 AM | Cheryl Murray
    Gulbis eyes Nadal in Indian Wells quarter Ernests Gulbis will look for his biggest win of the year against Rafael Nadal as the two men battle for a spot in the quarterfinals.

    The BNP Paribas Open marks Rafael Nadal's first hard court tournament in nearly a year. Unfortunately for the Nadal camp, the Spaniard has only played on match this week so far. He had a first-round bye, played against Ryan Harrison in the second round and had a walkover in the third because of the withdrawal of Leonardo Mayer.

    He will head into a fourth round clash against an on-fire Ernests Gulbis. Nadal holds a 4-0 head-to-head edge over Gulbis, but none of those matches were easy victories for the Spaniard.

    Gulbis has a title already this year, a crown he won a little more than a week ago in Delray Beach and a string of upset wins this week. But he also had to qualify for both events, adding a half a dozen more matches than others in the field. The Latvian hasn't shown it yet, but fatigue could be a factor as he advances toward the weekend.

    With Nadal lacking match play, this could be a great chance for Gulbis. The Latvian has been returning brilliantly; Nadal will need to find his hard court game quickly to hold off Gulbis.

    Prediction - Gulbis in 3.

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fourth round, not quarters

RickyDimon , 3/13/13 3:49 AM

nadal in 2 sets

chenna21 , 3/13/13 4:50 AM

wait, cheryl picked GULBIS?

I didn't think she would fall into the trap, but she did!

RickyDimon , 3/13/13 5:32 AM

I was a bit surprised to see Cheryl's prediction. I can see her reasoning, but from what I saw of the Gulbis/Seppi match, it's not like Ernie was playing lights out tennis.

I have said that Rafa could have used an extra match before facing Gulbis. However, Rafa has a way of rising to a challenge. He is the mentally stronger player with a great tennis brain. I do think that Rafa cannot afford all those double faults. He has to serve well.

I believe that Rafa should prevail.

Nativenewyorker , 3/13/13 5:55 AM

cheryl better change your prediction before nadline wakes up.

rfzr , 3/13/13 6:23 AM

nadal 6-4 6-2...

croc , 3/13/13 6:45 AM

Gulbis in stright sets,

Unless Nadal raise his level in hard court he cannot beat Gulbis

Gulbis Return game really good and serv very good

anji123 , 3/13/13 9:25 AM

I hope Rafa keeps 'colm', he lost it a bit in the first set against Harrison when he gave away his serve in the 7th game and was a bit unsettled for the rest of that set until he collected himself again in the tiebreak.

If Gulbis' serve is on, Rafa will have to work hard. As I don't have a crystal ball, I'll just wait and see.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/13/13 9:32 AM

Of course Nadal in straight sets. I watched Gulbis vs Seppi. First set was a total meltdown for Gulbis. He was up 5-2 and lost it 7-5. The guy is fighting with himself.
He can be talented, he can have lots of weapons and turn the match against Seppi,
but Nadal is in on another level. Vamos Rafaaa...

arwen , 3/13/13 9:52 AM

Gulbis has all the cards in his favor: Rafa hasn't played on HCs and is still rusty fighting to find consistency on HCs, his serve has not been working properly, his movements can improve, his ROS also if he wants to deal with G big serve...however, what we neglect is that G deals well with flat hitters which Rafa certainly is not...his top spin shots will trouble G...Rafa will mix his serves, he will trouble G from the baseline mainly because G has not faced any of the Rafa's kind so far in his winning never know what?s next in Rafa?s arsenal. I expect Rafa to serve better as he had plenty of time to practice it...he can mix it up with volleys to take G out of his comfort zone...Rafa will sure fight for every point!

I believe Rafa is ready to face G...Nobody expects Rafa to do miracles and even if he lose it won't be a big surprise to many, including Cheryl here :) But Rafa is full of surprises and he will most likely turn up fully focused and with carefully planned tactics for G. I expect Rafa to beat G hopefully in straights...

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 3/13/13 10:09 AM

cheryl better change your prediction before nadline wakes up.
rfzr, 3/13/13 6:23 AM

Seriously, I'm not that bothered by predictions in themselves. Cheryl makes her case based on facts. It is true that Gulbis has had more match play on h/c than Rafa recently, so I can't argue with that. Cheryl is entitled to her opinion just like everyone else.

#Vamos Rafa
#Rafa Kool-Aid drinker

nadline , 3/13/13 10:44 AM

I'll just make one observation. According to Cheryl's logic, qualifiers should always be at an advantage as they would ALWAYS have had more match play on the surface in any tournament.

nadline , 3/13/13 10:51 AM

nadline, 3/13/13 10:51 AM


natashao , 3/13/13 10:59 AM

natashao - I read Gulbis saying he doesnt prefer playing flat hitters, he prefers Rafa who has top spin and gives balls shoulder height.

sanju , 3/13/13 11:16 AM

Rafa will win in straight sets.

abhirf , 3/13/13 11:19 AM

What time in IST is the match? Any idea?

sanju , 3/13/13 11:22 AM

I don't think anyone like a flat hitter on the hard courts. I'm sure Gulbis won't like playing against Delpo on the HCs. Even a Seppi, who doesn't have a major weapon, but who hits rather flat shots, could cause Gulbis some problems, it's no wonder he prefers someone like Rafa who hits topspin rather than flat shots.

A top form Rafa would beat a top form Gulbis any day ( that's my take), however I'm not sure Rafa is in top form now, so the match can go either way. I hope Rafa plays freely and goes for his shots and hopefully gets the win.

luckystar , 3/13/13 11:41 AM

sanju, 3/13/13 11:16 AM
yeah sure, so all of the sudden G prefers playing Rafa?! That's just rubbish...G playing mind least tha's good news meaning: Gulbis is scared of Rafa...and he should be...Nobody likes seeing Rafa on the other side of the quote Gulbis on Rafa:"?He thinks how to kill his opponent". That's what Rafa will think today as well!
Fed likes flatt hitters on HCs...he destroys them...IMO Delpo is dangerous if there are no rallies involved and if he serves well...Gulbis learned to play longer rallies and he would love to play Delpo who cannot run as fast as Rafa...G would definitely rather meet Delpo than Rafa today?

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 3/13/13 12:12 PM

@sanju, I think it will be telecasted around 5a.m. after the Fed-Wawa match.

abhirf , 3/13/13 12:13 PM

Gulbis is likely to play more freely against Rafa because he is the underdog. I think he mentally collapses more against lower ranked players. That said, Rafa in three.

On a somewhat related note...

Straw Man Argument: A subtype of the red herring, this fallacy includes any lame attempt to "prove" an argument by overstating, exaggerating, or over-simplifying the arguments of the opposing side. Such an approach is building a straw man argument. The name comes from the idea of a boxer or fighter who meticulously fashions a false opponent out of straw, like a scarecrow, and then easily knocks it over in the ring before his admiring audience. His "victory" is a hollow mockery, of course, because the straw-stuffed opponent is incapable of fighting back. When a writer makes a cartoon-like caricature of the opposing argument, ignoring the real or subtle points of contention, and then proceeds to knock down each "fake" point one-by-one, he has created a straw man argument.


Conspirator , 3/13/13 1:02 PM

There's a "cult" film in the UK called "The Wicker Man" in which poor old Edward Woodwarde was burned to death inside a wicker man. Wicker man followers had had enough of him meddling. Straw men can lure you into all sorts of trouble.

deuce , 3/13/13 1:24 PM

Gosh, we've been here so many times before!!! Granted that Rafa has not had much match play and hc is not his fav but Rafa is extremely capable. Geeze, you would think that Gulbis is a GSlam champ and Rafa is an up and coming! Except if Rafa wakes up on the wrong side of the bed..................the outcome is not in doubt...........Rafa in straights!!!!


Monalysa , 3/13/13 2:30 PM

Just a side bar........

Read this on the ATP site....

?A 2011 Reputation Institute study listed Federer, 31, as the second-most-respected man in the world ? behind only Nelson Mandela.?

Seriously?!!!...face palm!!!

Monalysa , 3/13/13 2:32 PM

Vamos our Rafa - hope he plays great tennis.

schatz , 3/13/13 3:02 PM

Good point Monalysa 3/13/13 2:30
Nadal has to be one of the all time champions who has been doubted the most throughout his career. He seems to be the least favourite so so many times. Good that he also specialices in proving people wrong :D

Shireling , 3/13/13 5:48 PM

the least favourite so many times, being one of the few greatest of all times, yes: true And so incongruous!

how did it get this way? OK, sometimes there were injuries, but other times? Could it be the effect of the adulation of the humble ( :-) ) second-most respected (face-palm) man?

Can't blame the fans of roggie for his less savory character traits and his many behaviour faux-pas, but the journos over the years could have been more objective...

what it is you say? you want journalists to be craftsmen with high writing standards and high integrity standards? those types today will not find a job in most media firms...

Ah well, what are you going to do... but continue to think for yourself...

and eat something scrumptious.

If Gulbis doesn't do himself in mentally then I say Nadal in three.

chlorostoma , 3/13/13 6:12 PM

Soon the top players will be opting to play the qualifying rounds as it's such an asset to get match play by beating players who don't qualify for the main draw. Lol

nadline , 3/13/13 6:27 PM

Wow cheryl, that's a bold one.
I know gulbis is playing out his skin jus now and this is rafa's first h/c test in a looooooong time bt you really are sticking your neck out.
I go with rafa 7-6, 6-2.

alex , 3/13/13 7:02 PM

Which is good live stream where we can watch/ just seems to have Bet 365, Unibet both registration sites

sanju , 3/13/13 7:29 PM

sanju: sportlemontennis

deuce , 3/13/13 8:16 PM

Whilst we are waiting

nadline , 3/13/13 10:02 PM

UGH finally the women's match is over on court 1. NO ONE CARES ABOUT WOMENS TENNIS.

willmw101 , 3/14/13 12:09 AM

Jesus wept federer wawa match is terrible so far. Both terrible.

willmw101 , 3/14/13 12:46 AM

I like Petkovic.


Conspirator , 3/14/13 12:48 AM

fed's back is screwed. He's playing so badly against wawa.

willmw101 , 3/14/13 2:04 AM

Fed has lost his mind, arguing with fergus murphy now.

willmw101 , 3/14/13 2:18 AM

Fed's movement to his FH side looks really restricted.

abhirf , 3/14/13 2:21 AM

It's Rafa time!

nadline , 3/14/13 3:10 AM

Rafa looks leaner , 1st time I am watching his match live on TV after his comeback.

For now Gulbis playing better, hes anticipating better

sanju , 3/14/13 3:26 AM

Rafa warming up, 2 winners

sanju , 3/14/13 3:28 AM

Rafas groundies landing short both on FH n BH wing, get closer to baseline Rafa

sanju , 3/14/13 3:32 AM

danica, can you check if url is right? it says website not found

sanju , 3/14/13 3:37 AM

Rafa not playing good yet, all kind of UE (:-

sanju , 3/14/13 3:40 AM

Rafa not making many UEs, just not hitting any winners. match entirely on Gulbis' racket, as expected.

RickyDimon , 3/14/13 3:41 AM

But Ricky, he seems different, hes allowing Gulbis to hit winners at will. Just see his last service game. I expected to see aggressive Rafa, he seems passive out there

sanju , 3/14/13 3:49 AM

Rafa is nervous for some reason.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/14/13 3:50 AM

Rafa not taking any risks, he's hitting some safe shots down the middle of the court, especially with his backhand, Gulbis is eating up all those short balls. Rafa not feeling the timing of his balls well, looks rusty.

luckystar , 3/14/13 3:50 AM

Very rusty, very nervous, very short disappointing

sanju , 3/14/13 3:52 AM

This was what I was afraid of, a three day layoff without a match to play. He looks rusty and his timing is off.

Nativenewyorker , 3/14/13 3:53 AM

Its not just timing , its also the body language..totally disappointing

sanju , 3/14/13 3:54 AM

1st set Gulbis 64.

Rafa, wake up!

nadline , 3/14/13 3:55 AM

Rafa needs match play. He is up against the kind of player who can give him trouble even when he's playing well. I don't sense the fire and the passion in Rafa. He has been playing too safely and Gulbis has played aggressive tennis.

Nativenewyorker , 3/14/13 3:56 AM

only thing that can save Rafa is Gulbis overhitting because Rafa by himself is completely off

sanju , 3/14/13 4:00 AM

Fed must be salivating seeing this Rafa

sanju , 3/14/13 4:07 AM

Gulbis has 18 winners to Rafas 6

You can really see Rafas lack of timing, FHs flying out

sanju , 3/14/13 4:08 AM

Gosh, so many negative comments here...

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 3/14/13 4:10 AM

No need to be so harsh on Rafa, sanju. He's still finding his timing. He needs to play more to get that back. This is certainly the subpar Rafa. This is only his second match on the hard courts, oh and his opponent is the on fire Gulbis!

luckystar , 3/14/13 4:12 AM

Where is the Rafa who played so aggressively against Harrison?

nadline , 3/14/13 4:18 AM


I agree. This shouldn't be a total shock. Gulbis has been on a hot streak and Rafa hasn't played on hard courts. I was worried that this would happen. Rafa needs to play, not get a walkover and just practice for three days.

Nativenewyorker , 3/14/13 4:19 AM

I don't hold out any hopes now. Rafa hasn't turned up.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/14/13 4:20 AM

Rafa simply doesn't believe he could win this...too bad...

natashao , 3/14/13 4:21 AM

I am checking out, cannot bear to watch this anymore

sanju , 3/14/13 4:22 AM

Rafa hasn't properly run in to any of his forehands, his footwork has been very slow. His knee is nowhere near better. He just needs matches and confidence. He doesn't really look that bothered about the prospect of losing this match at the moment....

willmw101 , 3/14/13 4:24 AM

if rafa can somehoow take this to the third, anything can happen. gul has the chance to beat rafa fed b2b. that would be something. but not given up on raf here. vamos!

vmk1 , 3/14/13 4:24 AM

We know Rafa can play better than this. What's up with him?

nadline , 3/14/13 4:24 AM

and he is! breaking at love. come back sanju:) rafa does not want you to leave

vmk1 , 3/14/13 4:29 AM

Well with all of the negativity here, Rafa breaks back! So don't count him out yet!

Nativenewyorker , 3/14/13 4:31 AM

Rafa is SURELY playing better than set 1. COME ON guys donot be so harsh ! Rafa is playing his 2nd hard court match in 349 days !!!! VAMOSSSS WHAT A RALLY ! :D :D glad to see rafa back competing ! please throw away all this negativity. Rafa is playing against an opponent who is on fire and whose game style stacks up well against rafa on a hard court. Rafa is out there, competing ! fighting ! trying his best! he is trying to find his range and rhythm , NEEDS TIME !

I know he has been inconsistent tonight, not hard to see that. However, he is hitting some aggressive backhands and forehands trying to take chare. 5-3 rafa vamosss

vamosrafa , 3/14/13 4:33 AM

The line judge who keeps calling Rafa's balls out was the one who had the run in with Serena at the at the USO. I wish Serena had shoved the ball down her throat now.

nadline , 3/14/13 4:34 AM

hahaha nadline ! ah thats my boy ! 15 of the last 18 points won , set point ! grab it man !

vamosrafa , 3/14/13 4:36 AM

now be calm rafa...close out the set calmly ! The last 5 games have been positive ...close it out vamos

vamosrafa , 3/14/13 4:39 AM

Rafa may regret those set points going against him

willmw101 , 3/14/13 4:40 AM

rafa needs to attack gulbis's forehand a little more often..gulbis's forehand is erratic..rafa has had a high success rate whenever he has opened up his shoulders to attack gulbi's forehand with his inside out forehand or his CC backhand...DOUBLE SET POINT and....and ...and....TAKEN ! I saw a fist pump ! that is my rafa !!!! :D

vamosrafa , 3/14/13 4:43 AM

Good morning,people! The match has just begun...

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 3/14/13 4:43 AM

Bullshit coaching violation. Rafa needs to open up the court and hit big in to gulbis forehand

willmw101 , 3/14/13 4:57 AM

rafa's backhand, i have really liked it since his comeback this year. I know he has been dropping those short balls, those loopers sometimes during rallies but rafa's ability to take backhands on the rise is very encouraging...just get the consistency back rafa :)

the most disappointing aspect has been the volleys today...i thought he hit great volleys in the SA clay swing

vamosrafa , 3/14/13 4:58 AM


I am so glad that you are here! We need you! The commies said before the match that Rafa needed to find the Gulbis forehand and not hit to his backhand. But they said it's not that easy. So our Rafa has been using his tennis brain out there and trying to make adjustments in this match.

Rafa nevers stops fighting and never gives up! Neither should we! Vamosrafa said it all better than I could. I remember that 2010 Rome match where Gulbis was on fire and won the first set. Rafa had just won MC and broken a ten month title drought, but on that day he just didn't have his best game. But he fought and gutted it out and got the win.

Let's give Rafa some support! He's still in this thing!

Nativenewyorker , 3/14/13 5:00 AM

The WTA allow coaching during the match and it doesn't make any difference to the outcome.

nadline , 3/14/13 5:02 AM

thanks NNY and glad you are here :D 1-2 40-40 tight game...rafa making some mistakes, hold boy hold ! You are spot on with the reference to that Rome match ! ahh break point

vamosrafa , 3/14/13 5:03 AM

Vamos Rafa! C'mon Rafa you can do it! VAMOS VAMOS VAMOS!!!


Conspirator , 3/14/13 5:10 AM

In sorry to say it but at the moment gulbis is definitely the better player in this deciding set.

willmw101 , 3/14/13 5:12 AM

Anyone know what rafa's first serve percentage is in this final set? Looks v low. C'mon rafa, pick it up from now...

willmw101 , 3/14/13 5:17 AM

Rafa can't win this. His knee is really bothering him

willmw101 , 3/14/13 5:20 AM

Argh rafa's volleying has been so bad today. Gulbis should never have been allowed any where near that ball.

willmw101 , 3/14/13 5:27 AM

I can't actually believe that rafa's still in this match considering that this is him at about 40 percent. Gulbis will surely break now to take the match.

willmw101 , 3/14/13 5:31 AM

Yeah, Rafa's volleying is terrible today! There's room for improvement certainly!

luckystar , 3/14/13 5:32 AM

Game over

willmw101 , 3/14/13 5:34 AM


nadline , 3/14/13 5:47 AM

Rafa wins!!!!!

nadline , 3/14/13 5:49 AM

Rafa beat Gulbis 46 64 75.

We have a Fedal match!

nadline , 3/14/13 5:50 AM

Oh My My How did Rafa pull out that win playing subpar for most moments of the match. For better part of 3rd except last 2 games, Gulbis wasthe better player

He literally guts it out

Rafas movement though looks severely severely restricted, hes not able to get into right footwork and position for many points

I cant believe it. Facepalm :-)

Not sure though what to make of tomorrows match. Fed is obviously the fav but will this match practice help Rafa? Raf was subpaar but so was Fed, but Fed is the 70-30 favourite

sanju , 3/14/13 5:50 AM

yesssssssssssssssssssssss! I told you he Rafa would fight for every point! I told you Rafa was there to KILL!

Bravo Dear Rafa!

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 3/14/13 5:51 AM

Disappointed in you Cheryl.



Conspirator , 3/14/13 5:51 AM

Yes natashao he just hung in there, didnt play well but just guted it out.

Your take for tomm?

NNY: Read somewhere that Rafa popped some pills after 2nd set, anti inflammatories? Any idea from VB what it is about, knee?

sanju , 3/14/13 5:53 AM

never in doubt

RickyDimon , 3/14/13 5:54 AM

wowwww. so happyyyyyyy. Vamosssssssss Rafa. You are the best

gr8nadal , 3/14/13 5:55 AM

vamos. 2nd match on hc. rafa extinguishes the hottest player after nole. its time for sw19- swiss walloping nummer 19

vmk1 , 3/14/13 5:55 AM

Yes Vamos Rafa! So pleased! Rafa is such a fighter, he simply refuses to lose and keeps fighting! So happy for the win! Hope Rafa will play better tomorrow! Vamos again, and fist pump too!!

luckystar , 3/14/13 5:56 AM

sanju, 3/14/13 5:50 AM

I disagree! Gulbis was playing extraordinary tennis while Rafa played tentative and with less confidence, which was expected...but Rafa playedso well the crucial points and he TOTALY deserves the win! Rafa WON this match by playing brave and playing great when mattered! I am so proud of him!
Rafa will beat Fed tomorrow!

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 3/14/13 5:57 AM

I'm sure Cheryl was beginning to lick her chops to tell us 'I told you so'.

nadline , 3/14/13 5:58 AM

Crawling out of the dungeon, I survived the match like Rafa but JUST !!!

Vam-oshh !!!

Raindrops , 3/14/13 5:59 AM

RickyDimon, 3/14/13 5:54 AM

ohh, I must say I LOVE those sweet words coming from you...:)

natashao , 3/14/13 6:01 AM

Yes natashao, he played the crucial points better agreed and Gulbis was soo good. But for large parts of match (entire 1st set and major part of 3rd set 0 , he was very subpar

I thought Gulbis was an attacking player but man his defense was soo good too, he hit winners on few points that were already Rafas to close, I was stunned. Im quet impressed with Gulbis , hope he really keeps it up

sanju , 3/14/13 6:07 AM

Yeah, I always thought Gulbis was exceptionally talented player...he played really well and he also behaved on the court...I truly like him and if he was playing anyone else but Rafa tonight I would have cheered for him...

On the lighter note, I think we can all agree that we just witnessed two best looking players facing each other on the court...:) IMO Rafa and Gulbis are the cutest and the sweetest players on tour! I am sure Ricky will delightedly agree with me :)

natashao , 3/14/13 6:17 AM

Oh all ye of little faith!

Have to admit my nerves were so frazzled I could barely watch the last few games. But like so many times over the years, Rafa managed to win a match he should have lost.

ed251137 , 3/14/13 6:18 AM


I will check out vb to see if there is anything. I was on their cheering thread going back and forth between this site and vb. Nobody said anything that I remember about Rafa taking some pills.

I do think that you worry too much. Rafa has only played two matches here and will have a few weeks off before the clay court season starts. I completely agree with natashao's take on the match. Gulbis didn't give Rafa anything. It's what I expected from a guy who was suddenly started to play tennis again. When he is on his game, he can be dangerous for anyone. Remember when he took out Fed at that 2010 MC in the early rounds? Then he won the first set against Rafa, but in the end Rafa won in three sets. The commentators on the tennis channel said that four of their five matches have gone three sets. So this was to be expected.

Rafa was tentative and lacking confidence in the first set due to lack of match play on hard courts. It's different from clay. But then he started to find his shots and his game. Gulbis was a good opponent in the sense that he made Rafa raise his level of play. He also had to tough it out and come from behind, had a nice long three set match to give him some much-needed time to get himself going and now a well-earned win.

I do not see it that overwhelming in Fed's favor. I watched that match and Fed didn't look that good. When do you see Fed double fault to lose a tb? Wawa had the early break in that third set, but then gave it back. Fed had to fight to serve it out. Now that was against a guy who has never really been able to challenge him.

Fed has more match play under his belt, but is on a title drought right now. Rafa will remember how he lost to Fed last year here. I am looking forward to that match.

Nativenewyorker , 3/14/13 6:24 AM

You poor old fans, sounds like an Andy match to me....;)
Well done Rafa!

deuce , 3/14/13 7:27 AM

Thanks but no thanks, deuce. As Ricky said, it was never in doubt. ;-)

phoenix , 3/14/13 8:09 AM

sanju , 3/14/13 8:27 AM

you better believe it. Fed 7-5, 6-3.

RickyDimon , 3/14/13 8:30 AM


So now you are happy that you were right about Rafa having knee pain? I have read Uncle Toni's comments at great length and put my faith in his doctors. He did say that Rafa would have pain because the tendon regenerated, but needed time to get stronger.

I just watched that second set and Rafa was moving very well. I am going to watch my recording of the match tomorrow to check out the third set.

I never thought that anyone would be happy about being right that Rafa was in pain.

Rafa would say that he doesn't have confidence v Fed. He is always like that. But don't think he will go out there and let Fed roll over him.

I do not see a straight sets win for Fed.

Nativenewyorker , 3/14/13 8:53 AM

Fed will either win in straight sets or lose the match in 2 or 3.

abhirf , 3/14/13 9:01 AM

I am happy as Rafa had knee pain, where did that even come from? What did I even say anything that led to this ridiculous assumption.

Cmon NNY, you can do better than that :-)

I said I felt Rafas movements were restricted, he wasn't reaching many balls as usual, so was wondering if the knee was bad and he confirmed it in the presser, thats all I said.

sanju , 3/14/13 9:13 AM

abhi..all you saying is Fed wont win it in 3, he either has to do it in 2 or he loses.

sanju , 3/14/13 9:14 AM

And I know in the 1st and start of 2nd I was very disappointed as I was appaled at what I saw, he was indeed very sub par. I haven't seen a single match of Rafa yet after his comeback live , all I saw were highlights on YT, this was the 1st match I saw live end to end, so obviously was appaled as to what was unfolding in front of me in 1st and start of 2nd.

Having said that, I still feel Rafa showed great attitude in fighting, being determined and guted out the win which is very good news. He played some crucial points well which was what it finally boiled down to , hit some very good winners but overall I feel his game is still at 60-70% only of what it was before his break. Even though we are die hard Rafa fans, I dont think its not obvious that Gulbis was the better player all of 1st and major parts of the 3rd till 5-4 .

Cmon just coz we love Rafa, doesnt mean if hes not playing well, hes a bit subpar, we cant or should not say it. I want the best for Rafa and I can get super happy for him when he does well or very critical too if he does not play well, I have that choice and right :-)

sanju , 3/14/13 9:21 AM

?I said before the tournament my knee some days good, some days not that good,? Nadal said. ?Today so-so. But I fighted every ball. I tried my best in every moment. I know I cannot go to some balls that in the past I went today, but I will do it in the future. So win matches in days like today are more important that ever for me, and very happy about what I did on court. Happy about the attitude. With all the problems I was able to keep being focused and keep winning. Today every victory is very important to me.?

Gulbis thought he outplayed Nadal and he certainly did at times during the match, but not at the most important ones.

?I feel bad. I wanted to win, of course,? he said. I think that I played better tennis. I was more aggressive. I went for my shots much more than he. But he did really incredibly well, as he always does, on important points. Just it?s really tough to beat the guy. When I was two points ?? when it was 15?30 I came to the net, or deuce, and had good chance to win the points. Sometimes he comes up with shots which other players, they don?t comment up with. I think that I?m closing in. I just need to continue in this way, and sooner or later I?m going to beat him.?

Federer and Nadal will meet for the first time in a year, when Federer bested the Spaniard in straight sets at 2012 Indian Wells. Nadal leads their career series 18-10 and is 6-5 against Federer on hard courts. You cannot throw those results out the window, but with Nadal only running at 75 percent of his ability and Federer?s back stiff, its very hard to pick a winner for Thursday.

?Always play against Roger is a pleasure,? said Nadal. ?This match arrives early for me, too early to go to the match with the feeling that I can play equal conditions than him. I think I am not that level today, but I gonna try, as I do always. I?m going to try to play well and make the match positive for me with any result. I am here in Indian Wells in quarterfinals. Two weeks ago I didn?t know if I would be able to be here. ?

Nadal said that the reason he wasn?t able to shorten enough points against Gulbis is because his knee is too sore to allow him to run up quickly and play inside the court, so he decided to play well behind the baseline. But that won?t work against Federer on hard courts and he knows it.

?Tomorrow I don?t have much more to say than I have to play aggressive. I have to play aggressive to enjoy the match. If not, the match not gonna be good fun for me. I always play one way against Roger, or similar, not always the same, but tomorrow will be not easy to do this as I do all the time, because I need to move quick, especially on hard to do this kind of game, no? I don?t know if I am ready to do it, but we?ll see how I wake up tomorrow.?

sanju , 3/14/13 9:29 AM

Typical comments from Nadal. You have to love him. He is being brutally honest as always. And realistic. Fed must fancy his chances as on top of being rusty last night's match will have left Rafa physically depleted. They know each other's game so well it will be impossible for Rafa to take him by surprise and Fed will make him move around the court without mercy as Gulbis tried to do.

Fingers crossed his knee will be able to stand up to more punishment.

ed251137 , 3/14/13 9:50 AM

sanju, I am so sorry to hear that Rafa's knee has been troubling him again. However, Rafa opts not to run at every ball and that is what he has been doing ever since he came back from the injury...he has usually played shorter points whenever he could even on clay to save his knees...Nobody here expected Rafa to be at his 100% as we all know he is yet to reach that level. IMO Rafa is at his 70% right now otherwise he would have lost the match today in an easy manner and there would have been no Rafa's come back and third set...
the pain in his knee is something that Rafa cannot escape from and has to live with. I trust his doctors would not let him play in the first place if he was putting his health and the recovery process in serious danger...So, I chose to believe that Rafa will again give his best to beat Fed tomorrow. I understand that pain hampers his movement and if he considers it unbearable he might as well chose not to play at all, which Rafa does not wish to do...I would be very disappointed if Rafa decided to retire due to the pain in his knee because I really believe Rafa can beat Fed tomorrow...I think at the moment disbelieve is Rafa's worst enemy...he needs more confidence in his own game...

Let's wait and see what will happen?

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 3/14/13 9:56 AM

Fed clearly has back issues though, so I dunno whose got an advavtage.

deuce , 3/14/13 9:57 AM

^^^sanju, thanks.

I like this bit
" But he did really incredibly well, as he always does, on important points. Just it's really tough to beat the guy. When I was two points, when it was 15:30 I came to the net, or deuce, and had good chance to win the points. Sometimes he comes up with shots which other players, they don't come up with."


Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/14/13 10:04 AM

RickyDimon, 3/14/13 8:30 AM

Unlikely to don't know what Rafa is made of...
Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 3/14/13 10:10 AM

Yes the biggest strategy for Fed tomm will be to move Rafa around as he knows Rafa is not moving well and is impaired a bit.

Bu then Fed back is a it bothersome and Rafa can stretch him too

Question is who is more disadvantaged Feds back or Rafas knee. I think Rafas knee is worse , hence the advantage to Fed

sanju , 3/14/13 10:17 AM

I loved the way Gulbis described Rafa's play on important points; now his comments is proof that its so tough to beat Rafa, and Rafa is not even at his best yet! Rafa is a big match player, he really knows how to play the important points well to win. So what he's not the better player during the match? It's the win in the end that counts!

Rafa is very honest in his assessment of himself and that's why I love him. Whether Fed could move Rafa around the court tmr, well lets see! Fed would certainly drop shot Rafa as much as possible given that Rafa stands so far behind the baseline (now I understand why Rafa is not moving into the court to shorten points). I feel Rafa has to serve better tomorrow, both first and second serves, to earn some cheap points. Fed also has his own back problem and he's not serving well too. It's the QF of the walking wounded, but I feel Rafa would will himself to a win. Vamos Rafa!

luckystar , 3/14/13 10:35 AM

Sanju: One never knows just how bad Fed's back is but his movement was poor last night and almost certainly has accounted for his wobbly service in his matches up to this point. Given that he relies on his serve to dig himself out of trouble, if this is compromised it will be a bigger disadvantage for him than Rafa's wonky knee is to him. Rafa will have received a huge boost to his confidence after managing to contain Gulbis in spite of his restricted movement. I am quietly optimistic about his chances against Federer in the QF but less so for the SF when he most likely would meet Berdych.

ed251137 , 3/14/13 11:02 AM

Lucky: I had not seen your comment when I posted mine but we seem to be singing from the same song sheet :-)

ed251137 , 3/14/13 11:15 AM

@sanju, yes I dont think that Rafa would let Fed to win the match if he manages to win a set. Fed's level of play in the matches is highly inconsistent these days. Goes up and down with the match. Rafa is not the one who will allow Fed the win with that level of inconsistency.

abhirf , 3/14/13 11:55 AM

Vamos our Rafa - very proud of you. Good luck for the match against Federer.

schatz , 3/14/13 12:22 PM

Back vs. knee = low quality tennis I'm afraid.

chr18 , 3/14/13 12:39 PM

I was not at all worried or anxious in the last match. I am only focused on the spring clay season. Any win Rafa gets now is a bonus. Any loss is just match practice.
But I love reading the posts of the Rafans and I think natashao comes out as the best Rafan in this thread, followed closely by sanju, one confident that Rafa will fight and win, the other anxious and fretful because he loves Rafa so much.

holdserve , 3/14/13 2:41 PM

It is fake bad back against genuine bad knees.

holdserve , 3/14/13 2:49 PM

Match of the walking wounded.......I love it!!...haha!!

But one thing I know....neither one of them wants to lose, they both want to win!! Rafa and Roger bring out the best in each other when they play so I am quite looking forward to this match!!!

One thing i know about Rafa, and seems like many others do, he knows how to play the important points well. I hope Rafa wins this match but if he doesnt it certainly would not be through a lack of trying!! Life is just so unfair at times!

Rafa good luck and continued good health!


Monalysa , 3/14/13 2:55 PM

@ holdserve..............he back may not be as bad as Rafa's but i think its genuine!

Monalysa , 3/14/13 2:56 PM

A few unknowns... How bad was Fed's back truly yesterday - just somewhat or a lot? And how bad will it be tomorrow. It is usually hard to gave from Fed's comments. And compared to yesterday, how bad will Nadal's knee(s) be today?
Better known: Fed's been below par for a while and Rafa is in fighting mood.
Unless Ricky is right to suspect Rafa's movement is too impaired to win enough games against a luke-warm Fed, it is hard to conclude Fed will win in straights.

chlorostoma , 3/14/13 3:43 PM

@holdserve If you think all Fed's injuries are fake , that means Fed has been fit all through his career. That in itself is no mean feat. Being fair, at least you should accept that . But for that you have to be fair.

fedexal , 3/14/13 4:54 PM


It sounded to me as though you were happy to be right. So I will clarify that. I would not want to think that you would be happy to see Rafa having knee pain, but you were quite negative in your comments last night. Of course, you can say whatever you want, but then it's my right to give my opinion. I wasn't disappointed in Rafa last night. I fully expected this match to be tough, given the past matches Rafa has had with Gulbis.

Today I watched the rest of my recording of last night's match. At times Rafa's movement wasn't great, but there were times when he did move very well. It was kind of up and down. If you check out the 2010 Rome match they played, you will see that Gulbis took it to Rafa winning the first set. Even though Rafa was finally playing some great tennis, he didn't have his best that day. So he gutted it out. Rafa held his serve to make it 5-4 in a tight third set and then as he walked off the court he was screaming at himself and all throughout the changeover. Then he came out and broke Gulbis to get the win.

You say that you were honest. I think you were very hard on Rafa. I don't know what you expect from him, but I only expect him to give it his best and fight for the win. That's what he did.

Nativenewyorker , 3/14/13 7:04 PM

natashao, 3/14/13 9:56 AM

luckystar, 3/14/13 10:35 AM

To both natashao and lucky, I really appreciated these two posts. A lot of great common sense and good analysis of last night's match.

As far as Fed and Rafa tonight, I do think that Fed's back injury is for real. You could see it in his movement during his match with Wawa. How it will be tonight, I don't know. I hope that Rafa's knee is better today. I know that both Fed and Rafa have a lot of pride and want to win. They know each other so well.

Rafa needs his movement against Fed. Fed needs to serve well. I do not see Fed beating Rafa in straight sets unless the knee is not good. I can see this going three sets. I think Rafa has a reasonable chance to win this match. He will always play down his chances. That's what he does. But he will go out there and do his best.

Nativenewyorker , 3/14/13 7:13 PM

Well NNY you have to accept different people have different ways of offering support. Some are very understanding of their fav and always will back their fav like maybe you, nadline, natashao, basically your messages are brimming with positivity for Rafa, some are very analytical like Lucky and vamosRafa and some like me maybe look at the downside in his game than the positives. But the only truth is finally we all want the best for him, for him to win more and more and more, that doesn't change, our styles of doing it are different :-).

As holdserve pointed out, I am very nervous for Rafa whenever he plays , so maybe I am more critical as he gives me nervous pangs but I like him as much as you do, trust me on that :-)

sanju , 3/15/13 7:45 AM


I understand where you are coming from. That's why I left this site and went over to the vb cheering thread. There we are all very supportive, especially when Rafa is struggling. Some people were trying to urge Rafa on and hoping that he would get it together.

Everyone has a right to support Rafa in their own way. That's why if I find that comments are bothering me too much, then I just leave. I respect your right to have your point of view. I also understand that you were just relieved to know that Rafa did have a problem with the knee, since you noticed problems with his movement. I interpreted it in the wrong way and acknowledged that in my previous post.

Of course you are a true Rafa fan. I am sorry if I made you feel otherwise. You get critical because you care and want Rafa to be the best he can be.

Thanks for responding and let's look forward to Rafa in the semifinals! :)

Nativenewyorker , 3/15/13 8:01 AM

Yes NNY, I noticed his movement to forehand side looked impaired, he seemed slow and today he said in his presser himself, he cant run fast to his FH side to hit the inside out FH hard

I hope its a momentary thing, but good thing is his BH looked so solid today 80% of the times

sanju , 3/15/13 8:18 AM

Most people want others to echo their thoughts and are intolerant of those who do not This is normal. It is the norm to force others to be like them. Man even created God in his own image. All kinds of bias ( racial, cultural, gender etc) spring from this intolerance and result in abuse.
So don't be apologetic if somebody attacks you, sanju, for expressing a different viewpoint or showing a different mindset.

holdserve , 3/15/13 1:22 PM

BTW Ricky has predicted a straight set victory for Fed 7-5, 6-3 :-)
sanju, 3/14/13 8:27 AM
you better believe it. Fed 7-5, 6-3.
RickyDimon, 3/14/13 8:30 AM

Congrats Cheryl. Poor Ricky.


Conspirator , 3/15/13 3:15 PM

Current ATP-rankings

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