• Del Potro and Nadal battle for Indian Wells title

    3/17/13 1:11 PM | Cheryl Murray
    Del Potro and Nadal battle for Indian Wells title Resurgent Spaniard Rafael Nadal will take on Juan Martin Del Potro for the first Masters title of the season.

    Both Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro have beaten the odds this week. Del Potro upset the two best hard court players in the world back-to-back to earn his spot in Sunday's final, while Rafael Nadal, who is playing his first hard-court event in nearly a year, exceeded expectations just by getting to the weekend, much less the final.

    Del Potro, ranked seventh in the world, has made his way through the draw this week in a way similar to his magical run to the title at the 2009 US Open. And though, perhaps, Del Potro's win over Murray wasn't a huge surprise, given the fact that the Scot has often played poorly at this event, his defeat of Novak Djokovic was downright shocking. The Serb had not lost a match coming into his semifinal with Del Potro, and even more surprising than that, Djokovic had the lead and lost it.

    Nadal, likewise, was not favored by oddsmakers to make his way to the final. The Spaniard was supposed to be rusty on hard courts, but wins over world No. 2 Roger Federer and No. 6 Tomas Berdych have erased any doubts over whether Nadal's knees have improved and whether, over the seven months he was gone, he forgot what it was like to go out on a tennis court and win.

    For Nadal, the keys to the match will be his own serve and managing the Del Potro backhand. The Argentine was brutal on the return against Novak Djokovic and will look to earn himself the same opportunities in Sunday's match. Nadal will also need to keep the big man moving, as once Del Potro sets up shop at the baseline, he can pound away with his groundstrokes and out-hit Nadal.

    Prediction - Del Potro in 3.

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Cheryl, that's an odd pick. If at all it goes to the 3rd set, I think it should be Rafa who should be favoured. If Delpo has to do it, he has to do it in straights.

abhirf , 3/17/13 1:46 PM

Very unsure on this one, too close to call, not sure which way it will swing. Depends who will play freely and contain the nerves. It can honestly go either way, both have a fairy tale story to write in the final.

sanju , 3/17/13 2:03 PM

It would have been so nice had Djoko been in he final. The whole world and their forefathers would have expected Djoko to win then and Rafa could swing freely with no pressure.

Its a tough call now, I think it depends on who wants it more badly.

sanju , 3/17/13 2:06 PM

Tough call? No, I dont think so!! Rafa all the way!!!

Do you honestly believe that Rafa gets to this final.....which he did not expect......and lose?!!! You have got to be kidding me!!! Rafa is gonna lay it all on the court!! A win here for him will be a very strong and important message!!! Dont be fooled, Rafa wants THIS!!!!!

Rafa for the win..........but perhaps in three!!! No ifs, ands or butts!!!!


Monalysa , 3/17/13 2:18 PM

Monalysa..I hopeso. God willing :-)

sanju , 3/17/13 2:22 PM

I know I am being a bit nervy but the past 2 champions have been the ones who won the 2nd semi. Also Rafa was firm fav to win againt Zebalos but lost in Chile.

Hope Rafa pulls this one off , plays freely and gets his 22nd Masters win

sanju , 3/17/13 2:24 PM

Cheryl, is there any reason why you've chosen this picture of Rafa from the USO final when he lost to Delpo in the SF?

#VAMOS Come Back Kid

nadline , 3/17/13 2:27 PM

I wanted Rafa to play Nole in the final so he could beat the #s 1&2 on the trot on h/c at the first time of asking after being sidelined for7 months.

So Nole and Murray are better than Roger on h/c now, are they?

nadline , 3/17/13 2:30 PM

expert picks -

RickyDimon , 3/17/13 2:33 PM your sharp on everything about even noticed the USO 2009 pic..hats off

sanju , 3/17/13 2:39 PM

nadline is perhaps an even bigger Rafa fan than me. I am truly amazed by her passion and awed by her unflinching loyalty! Vamos nadline! Vamos Rafa!

holdserve , 3/17/13 2:56 PM

Vamos our Rafa & good luck against Delpo.

schatz , 3/17/13 3:12 PM

Things dont get any tougher for players outside top 4. They have to beat atleast 3 guys of the 'Fab4' on the trot to win the title which is almost next to impossible. It will be a very tall order for even one of the 'fab 4' to register consecutive win against the other 3 members. Let's see if Delpo can pull off this amazing feat.

abhirf , 3/17/13 3:12 PM

Rafa is not top 4.

holdserve , 3/17/13 3:48 PM

Holdserve, not for long. LOL

willmw101 , 3/17/13 3:51 PM

Nadline, you are amusing me now. I simply picked a photo I haven't used in a while.

cherylmurray , 3/17/13 4:22 PM

Subconscious wish to see the 2009 Delpo? Hopefully you won't see the 2009 Rafa who was physically impaired.

holdserve , 3/17/13 4:33 PM

Not in top 4, but definitely one of the 'fab 4'.

abhirf , 3/17/13 4:50 PM

@abhirf, 3/17/13 3:12 PM

Yes but how many outside the top 4 have a GS and Olympic medal...? Delpo that's who! He may be ranked 7th right now, but he's very much a top 5 player.

aegis , 3/17/13 4:58 PM

^^ I know. And that's why I like this fellow even more and just keep hoping that he adds more significant titles to his resume. Just wish that this year turns out to be a successful one for him.

abhirf , 3/17/13 5:59 PM

The tension is killing me already and there are still four hours to go before kick-off.

Question for Lucky our resident statistician
What are the chances of Nadal getting back to No.4 in time for RG?

ed251137 , 3/17/13 6:02 PM

Nadal has 11 GS and one gold medal although he is ranked outside top 4. Delpo's current credentials make him a mosquito compared to Rafa.
Delpo shows promise and is definitely top 5. But a physically fit Rafa against a physically fit Delpo will see Rafa biting the trophy every time.
Today's match is suspect knees against Delpo. The match is on Rafa's racket/knee.

holdserve , 3/17/13 6:02 PM

Yes but how many people really consider Nadal outside of the top 4? Although he is ranked 5th, that spot in the top 4 is reserved for him pretty much and it's only a matter of time before he gets back in there. Delpo has to return to his 09 pre-injury form.. and he did make strides from that last year. This year will definitely see a closer to prime Delpo, win or lose today.

aegis , 3/17/13 6:21 PM

Who's comparing Rafa with Delpo. Rafa is a top 4 player and there's no doubt about it. But Delpo does belong just below these top 4 guys.

abhirf , 3/17/13 6:30 PM

Whoever wins this, it will be a huge story. Kudos for the winner!

danica , 3/17/13 6:52 PM


deuce , 3/17/13 7:03 PM

This is quite a landmark final for Rafa. It is his 600th match and a win would put him in the record books for the number of Masters' titles won.

Deuce: It's going to get crowded in your sitting room tonight.

Go for it Rafa.

ed251137 , 3/17/13 8:28 PM

If Rafa wins tonight he will overtake No4 from Ferrer...

Cheryl, I disagree that Delpo upset the TWO best hard court players in the world. He beat only one-the current No1 Nole. The second best by all means is Fed who was upset by Rafa...You are certainly not being fair to Maestro here...

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 3/17/13 8:44 PM

Those arguing that Del Guapo (someone else coined it; it's sticking with me, LOL) doesn't belong in the race with the Fab 4 might be forgetting that at one point, he *was* top 4 in the world (I think he had just won his 2009 USO title; I still wonder what the outcome of that semi with Rafa would have been if el Matador hadn't been playing with two injured ab muscles).

Maybe it should be Fab Five.

Too close to call today. This was certainly the final I wanted to see, though. May the best man win.


mara002 , 3/17/13 9:59 PM

Be strong, Rafa!


Augustina08 , 3/17/13 10:01 PM

It was crucial for Rafa to hold; serving first could be nervy.

nadline , 3/17/13 10:25 PM

Rafa breaks! Now consolidate....

jayhu , 3/17/13 10:33 PM

DelPo rebreaks! Wow, that was a great return!

danica , 3/17/13 10:49 PM

Rafa has played the big points so badly so far. He's just let del potro back in this match. Awful.

willmw101 , 3/17/13 10:49 PM

Nadal just gifted the first set to del potro

willmw101 , 3/17/13 10:51 PM

Nadal was 15-40 up at 3-0 with Delpo serving and he squandered those chances. He should be 4-0 up and instead he's going to lose this first set...

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:00 PM

Not good enough from rafa. So so short

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:02 PM

Game over

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:03 PM

Simply not good enough from nadal. His level has dropped so much. Delpo will serve this out and take this in straights.

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:05 PM

Man Del Potro can hit the ball hard! Feel like Nadal is being too defensive right now, needs to hit through the court more (easier said then done). Del Potro needs to just carry on spanking the ball...

rbennett , 3/17/13 11:05 PM

wow the great Bill Gates is watching

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:06 PM

Poor Rafa, not feeling confident handling Delpo. He's standing too far behind the baseline, allowing Delpo to dictate points. Rafa should move forward. I think the set should be gone very soon. Hopefully Rafa can change tactics in the second set and come forward more.

luckystar , 3/17/13 11:07 PM

Rafa is letting del potro back in all these points. Cannot believe Delpo won that set, he's done nothing to win it, rafa just lost it.

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:08 PM

Awful from nadal. Absolutely rubbish tennis from him. He deserves to lose if this is how he plays his first big final in nearly a year.

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:11 PM

del wins set 6 4

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:11 PM

Can't say Delpo did nothing but have to agree Rafa is letting Delpo back into the game. I think Rafa is nervous as this is his first hard court final in a while. As I said he's giving Delpo too much space to work with by standing too far away from the baseline. Also, Rafa's forehand is failing him today, can't find it's range when he needs it, his serve also is not helping.

luckystar , 3/17/13 11:13 PM

delpo deserves the set. he has been takin time away from rafa on both wings and serve. expect a rafa comeback though. the fairytale cannot end here:-)

vmk1 , 3/17/13 11:14 PM

Willmw: will you just shut up for a minute.

ed251137 , 3/17/13 11:15 PM

willmw101 the match is far from over

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:15 PM

And as we start the second set, nadal is still playing abysmal tennis. This match is over. Delpo wins.

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:16 PM

Rafa is nervous now.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/17/13 11:16 PM

Give Delpo some credit. He was also down in the Novak and Murray match. His composure is simply much more improved than in the past. He has definitely matured on court.

Now I hope he can close this out in just 2 sets.

aegis , 3/17/13 11:18 PM

What a waste of a tournament.

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:18 PM

Worst nadal has ever played in a final

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:19 PM

the difference between del potro and berydch is clear del potro is good at long rallies with due respect to ferrer delpotro is clearly the 5th best player in the world

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:20 PM

Rafa has lost confidence now. He won't be able to come back from here and he started off so well.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/17/13 11:20 PM

Right now you are a waste of space willow.

ed251137 , 3/17/13 11:21 PM

Rafa's forehand really needs a bit of work, he can't find it's range and Rafa's timing is off. Rafa serves poorly also, first serve % is now too.

luckystar , 3/17/13 11:22 PM


willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:23 PM

Rafa should just throw caution to the wind now and swing freely.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/17/13 11:23 PM

Willmw101 - Relax I think Nadal has done amazingly to even reach the final and should be proud of himself!
Ed28434739431- That's a bit mean!

rbennett , 3/17/13 11:23 PM

Don't worry, ed's opinion is about as useless as djokovic's slice backhand ie completely and utterly pointless.

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:25 PM

willmw101 - You're being mean now!

rbennett , 3/17/13 11:27 PM

still think nadal has a chance here its still one break of serve

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:27 PM

i meant its only one break of serve

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:29 PM

Shortest nadal has ever hit the ball

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:29 PM

its not over till its over. delpo will have nerves too. he has never won a masters

vmk1 , 3/17/13 11:30 PM

If Rafa wasn't meant to win this he won't win it. I think Delpo is playing better than Rafa expected. Anyway Rafa is doing his best.

nadline , 3/17/13 11:30 PM

I remember that IW final in 2011 when Rafa's serve totally broke down. I think Rafa is doing slightly better here, reaching the HC final after a seven months break. Rafa really really needs to move forward! Don't understand why he doesn't do that! There's nothing to lose now so better try something else.

I think he should play Miami, at least to play more and work on his forehand.

luckystar , 3/17/13 11:31 PM

One break of serve from someone like Delpo is a huge advantage and a high mountain to climb.

nadline , 3/17/13 11:32 PM

Rafa doing his best?!? No his best in this match was the first 3 games. This is abysmal

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:32 PM

one break is not a big lead unless you are pete sampras

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:34 PM

It's all good towards his comeback to know what to work on. To make the final is an achievement in itself.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/17/13 11:35 PM

i am just happy that he is competing so well with a red hot delpo after such a layoff. fingers crossed though. he may want to borrow noles houdini manual though. vamos!

vmk1 , 3/17/13 11:36 PM

nadal wont play miami

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:37 PM

How is nadal losing those points?!???? Delpo plays worst drop shot ever and nadal wastes te point.

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:37 PM

the commentators were talking about this nadal has withdrawn from miami

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:39 PM

Agree with you nadline. Rafa obviously still has some more work to do.

I think Delpo took Murray, Nole and now Rafa by surprise, by how well he moves and defends. Also how well Delpo runs down those drop shots! It's a new Delpo we're seeing now, so those three guys have to be very careful and work harder at their own games.

luckystar , 3/17/13 11:40 PM

rafa wins this.. from here delpo level can only go down. and he breaks. vaaaaaamos. what more can you ask for!

vmk1 , 3/17/13 11:41 PM

Rafa breaks back. Fingers crossed he can make something of this now.

nadline , 3/17/13 11:41 PM

see 1 break isnt a big lead

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:42 PM

Rafa still needs to break again, though.

nadline , 3/17/13 11:44 PM

After going down 0-2, rafa has been certainly playing better ! the competitor in rafa propelled him to win 3 games in a row...rafa surely has the momentum now ! I hope he can break here

vamosrafa , 3/17/13 11:46 PM

del making more and more errors now

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:47 PM

Rafa's forehand is such a beauty.

nadline , 3/17/13 11:48 PM

Nadal's break point conversion is about as good as Pablo anjuhar

willmw101 , 3/17/13 11:49 PM

nadals forehand is back

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:49 PM

another double fault and another break of del potro serve

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:51 PM

I agree with the above assessments of delpo. He is varying is pattern of plays so intelligently and his defensive and forecourt skills have improved so much ! and here you go, rafa takes full advantage of the momentum he piled up ..OH MY love game 6-3 !!! VAMOSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

vamosrafa , 3/17/13 11:53 PM

Vamos Rafa!! Game on!

luckystar , 3/17/13 11:53 PM

nadal is not going to miss on the ground-strokes now its over for del potro

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:54 PM

vamos! just did a one legged fist pump! vamos

vmk1 , 3/17/13 11:54 PM

Ha! Welcome back Rafa! The Rafa Show must go on!!!

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 3/17/13 11:54 PM

Who would have thought Rafa would win the 2nd set. I should be more optimistic and have more faith in Rafa. Hope Delpo makes a few more errors now.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/17/13 11:55 PM

Phew guys! Rafa's got his mojo back. 1 set each. Come on Rafa. :)

deuce , 3/17/13 11:55 PM

going by the match pattern, i wish rafa goes down a break early in the 3rd

vmk1 , 3/17/13 11:56 PM

del will lose his first service game of 3rd set

tennis2011 , 3/17/13 11:57 PM

i have been fist pumping with rafa the entire set lol...sooo happy :D there is no competitor like rafa, NO ONE ! even when not playign badly, he is sooo damn tough to put away ! now break here rafa

vamosrafa , 3/17/13 11:58 PM

remember it took delpo the best part of two years to work his way back to this level after his long injury break. This is Rafa's first h/c tournament in almost a year and he has only played for six weeks since his layoff. Win or lose it's bloody amazing.

Do you still maintain this final is a waste of time Willow?

ed251137 , 3/18/13 12:01 AM

Never seen anyone be so bad at converting break points.

willmw101 , 3/18/13 12:01 AM

Nadal is 3/14 break points. Awful.

willmw101 , 3/18/13 12:05 AM

Del Potro is tiring...

rbennett , 3/18/13 12:07 AM

Nadal has just handed Delpo the win by squandering those break points.

willmw101 , 3/18/13 12:07 AM

Delpo always looks half dead, so I won't count on it. Still too close to call.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/18/13 12:08 AM

del potros backhand has disappeared Nadal will win easily

tennis2011 , 3/18/13 12:11 AM

mr superstitious rafa avoids the first break jinx in the match by breaking the second time rather than the first:-)

vmk1 , 3/18/13 12:14 AM

Finally Rafa converts a break point!!!!!!!!!!!!!

willmw101 , 3/18/13 12:14 AM

Yes Rafa breaks! I hope Rafa can play consistently well from here and gets the win in the end. Vamos!

luckystar , 3/18/13 12:14 AM

rafa's forehand is making delpo's forehand less effective ! he has hit mroe winners from the forehand, 19 to 16 ! this is despite delpo's forehand being much more flat

vamosrafa , 3/18/13 12:17 AM

Nadal's getting tight again?!?? Why?

willmw101 , 3/18/13 12:17 AM

Delpo's brain fade cost him in the 2nd set.
Now, he's clearly looking tired and fatigued in the 3rd set.
Clutch game from Rafa though from middle of 2nd set. Changed his tactics quite beautifully.
But really furious on Delpo, he had the match in his hands and just gifted it away.. :-(

abhirf , 3/18/13 12:21 AM

The one break lead is not enough....phew still anything can happen

atul1985 , 3/18/13 12:21 AM

Abhirf that is way off. Nadal started playing good tennis in the second, that's what changed it. Delpo couldn't do a thing.

willmw101 , 3/18/13 12:22 AM

Delpo looking tired my foot....he always has that kind of a body language..

atul1985 , 3/18/13 12:22 AM


vmk1 , 3/18/13 12:29 AM

Rafa playing so well on his serve and then so badly on Delpos..... Not sure why, he needs now than one break to win this.

willmw101 , 3/18/13 12:30 AM

Some lousy ROS my Rafa..come on Rafa, hold tough

atul1985 , 3/18/13 12:30 AM

atul, it's not his body language but his shots which are oozing out the fatigue and tiredness he has at the moment.

abhirf , 3/18/13 12:31 AM

Rafa will get broken now

willmw101 , 3/18/13 12:31 AM

@abhirf, I think you ar just following the scoreline and not watching the match. Rafa lifted his level BIG TIME. He is outplaying delpo , simple !

The only concern is that rafa gets very nervous when he is close to the finish line..esp in a moment like this..he can get nervous just as he got against berdych..he used his serve to rescue him there...I hope that does not happen today

vamosrafa , 3/18/13 12:33 AM

Told ya so. Same old story for Rafa. He always excuses himself saying that he has no chances, either is his confidence, his knees, his tendon, his game, whatever. But the outcome is always the same. Rafa beating everybody.

Emiliano55 , 3/18/13 12:34 AM

Told ya so. Same old story for Rafa. He always excuses himself saying that he has no chances, either is his confidence, his knees, his tendon, his game, whatever. But the outcome is always the same. Rafa beating everybody.

Emiliano55 , 3/18/13 12:37 AM

vamosrafa, I have been watching the match since begining and not following scores.
I did acknowledged the fact of Rafa playing well midway thru 2nd set in my previous set. But Delpo did brain fade in some of those rallies in the 2nd set. Believe it or not, had he been playing the way he was, he would have won it in straights.

abhirf , 3/18/13 12:37 AM

What the fu*k is rafa doing on those championship points???????!!!!!

willmw101 , 3/18/13 12:38 AM

Nadal has just lost this. Delpo will break now.

willmw101 , 3/18/13 12:40 AM

Nothing rafa can do there...Delpo too tough on those points. Ok now some big serves pls Rafa

atul1985 , 3/18/13 12:41 AM

Still, great fight shown by Delpo! I just wish he could keep this up whole season.
If only he could have won it today :-(

abhirf , 3/18/13 12:41 AM

Vamossss Rafa. You are the besttt

gr8nadal , 3/18/13 12:42 AM

Delpo really mentally tough and saved all those championship points! Rafa is nervous as usual, please Rafa, close this out!

luckystar , 3/18/13 12:42 AM

Congrats Rafa for the win!

abhirf , 3/18/13 12:43 AM

Nadal playing terrible tennis again!!!

willmw101 , 3/18/13 12:44 AM

He's back!

ts38 , 3/18/13 12:47 AM

gosh. this is unbelievable. am on the verge of tears. vamos! what a year we can look forward to

vmk1 , 3/18/13 12:48 AM

Rafa wins 46 63 64

This is the mother of all comebacks!!!!!!

#Vamos Come Back Kid

nadline , 3/18/13 12:48 AM


willmw101 , 3/18/13 12:48 AM

Oh my God Oh My God. Rafa loveeeeeeee you

What a comeback, what oustanding play from 4th game of the 2nd right till the end.

Delpo winning 1st was bad omen :-)

Congrats Rafa. Congrats all Rafans. Rafas first Masters 1000 title after Sep 2010 Tokyo(atleast we wont ahve to hear that crap of only clay wins).

What stupendous comeback after 7 months. The man is really back

sanju , 3/18/13 12:48 AM

Another superb win for Rafa the Comeback Kid!!!! What a rollercoaster match it was!
Rafa is happy and I am too!!!

Rafa earned his 22nd Masters 1000 title (a record of the ATP), 3rd title in Indian Wells, 600th match win, and he moved back to No. 4 in the ATP rankings !!!!
Vamos, Rafa !!! Vamoooooooooooooossssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Augustina08 , 3/18/13 12:49 AM

Yes! Rafa wins!! Vamos!

luckystar , 3/18/13 12:49 AM

Dont choke as you eat your own words willow.

ed251137 , 3/18/13 12:49 AM

thats what am talking about! Nadal sure brings it.

rakten , 3/18/13 12:50 AM

The King of Clay slaughters the hardcourt barons!

#Vamos Come Back Kid

nadline , 3/18/13 12:51 AM


Conspirator , 3/18/13 12:52 AM

Yaaay...VAMOS!! Congratulations fellow Rafans...on to clay now.
Mr. Djokovic's FO dream might have to wait at least another year

atul1985 , 3/18/13 12:52 AM

When I saw the draw, I thought Rafa had a chance to take the title, but I kept it to myself because I didn't want to jinx him.

Rafa is simply the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#Vamos Come Back Kid

nadline , 3/18/13 12:53 AM

Confirmation from Rafa camp, Rafa not playing Miami

gr8nadal , 3/18/13 12:54 AM

Vamos Rafa!

Congrats everyone.

vrael , 3/18/13 12:55 AM

Oops posted wrong place, so again:
Am so pleased Rafa won. Congrats to him and all his lovely fans. Hope I'm allowed to say VAMOS!

deuce , 3/18/13 12:55 AM

Heartbreaking loss for Del Boy but possibly Rafa's most emotional win since his first Wimbledon crown.

What a roller coaster for Rafa fans to watch.

ed251137 , 3/18/13 12:57 AM

Congo Rafa! Grande DELPO!!

abhirf , 3/18/13 12:59 AM

What does Andre Agassi know saying Rafa would take ages to come back.

nadline , 3/18/13 12:59 AM

Can't believe it.... congratulations Rafa, you are the best!!!! now go relax and have fun for the clay season....

tettylds , 3/18/13 1:00 AM

Rafa is now #2 in the race!

nadline , 3/18/13 1:02 AM

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS !!1 high five to all rafans !! this is a dream comeback !!!

vamosrafa , 3/18/13 1:02 AM

ed, 12:57am
it was no less of a roller coaster for Delpo fans to watch too.

abhirf , 3/18/13 1:04 AM

Vamos Rafa! I just peeked at the ATP site and wow, Rafa's done it.
I am sure Ricky and other journos would say that Delpo had nothing in the tank.
Willmw I do believe now you are a Rafa fan. But you are funny, constantly putting down Rafa. Anyway, happy for all Rafans!
On to the clay season!

holdserve , 3/18/13 1:05 AM

Willnw has said earlier he does it purposely to anti jinx Rafa. Hes superstitious about it a lot. WE should just not get offended by it.

I followed a silly superstition too. From the time I stopped posting on this siteduring the course of the match with Gulbis, Rafa turned it around and from then on through the match with Fed, Berdy and Delpo, I didnt post anything. Fingers were itching as the stress was building up and u need to just let it out , but didnt . I know silly but well u cant explain everything silly everyone does :-)

sanju , 3/18/13 1:10 AM

Ricky, you were almost spot on - . Nadal 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3.

nadline , 3/18/13 1:11 AM



natashao , 3/18/13 1:12 AM

Truly incredible that rafa wins a hard court Masters so soon in to his comeback. Unreal. She's up the season so well.

willmw101 , 3/18/13 1:14 AM

WOW! I'm speechless... I can't stop crying. This win is sooooooo sweeeeet!!!

jayhu , 3/18/13 1:17 AM

I told myself when Rafa lost that first set, that both Murray and Nole won the first set but lost the match. That was how I tried to cheer myself up as I hoped that Rafa would come back in the second set. And he did! I was far too nervous to post here during the match.

Now Rafa has done it! He won! He also has the #4 ranking back! He won a hard court Masters and now again has the record with 22! This is truly an amazing moment and I just want to savor it. Unbelievable to come back after seven months and win Sao Paulo and Acapulco and then I/W!

Rafa beat Gulbis, one of the hottest players right now, then Fed and Berdy and Delpo! No asterisks or qualifiers beside this win! Delpo took out Murray and Nole, so Rafa beat the guys who were playing best. Simply glorious!

Ricky did another great job with his prediction. Just that first set. But he was right in predicting that Rafa would lose it. Good job!

This is one of the great comebacks in the history of this sport! Well done, Rafa! As expected he will not be playing in Miami. He will rest his knee and then get ready for the clay court season!

Rafa's reaction brought tears to my eyes! You could see what it meant to him. Espn cut off without showing the trophy ceremony. The tennis channel will be replaying the match, so maybe they will show it!

I am over the moon!

Vamos Rafa!

Nativenewyorker , 3/18/13 1:19 AM

Hey, hey!!!! We did it.....................AGAIN!!!!! Congrats to Rafa and all his fans!!!

WOW!!! Just as I expected!!

Sanju....Im just like you, I dont like posting when Rafa is playing an important match like this. I stopped watching the match after he lost the first set. I was just furiuis that he let Delpo into the game. I could not believe it when he won the 2nd set after being broken........but ah.......but how we forget Rafa's tenacity at times!!!! Rafa did exactly what I thought he would do, what he ALWAYS does.......fight, fight, fight!! He is always in it to win it!!!!

The Matador......the Come back kid, indeed!!!!

I am happy that Rafa decides to skip Miami. He really has nothing to prove, he needs to take time out to ready himself for the clay season! I dont want any recur of injuries on this stupid hc surface!!

Congrats again, Rafa. Wishing you the best of health, and cant wait to see you agian in Monte Carlo!!!

Again, youve made your fans proud!!!!!


Monalysa , 3/18/13 1:22 AM

Willow. I apologise for getting on your case but the tension was already unbearable and I couldn't bear the way you were rubbishing Rafa. I didnt realise it was an anti jinx tactic.

ed251137 , 3/18/13 1:22 AM

Listen, I am exacty like Willow when watching at home, I just dont post it!! Ask my mother!!!!!.................she gets so frustrated with me...................i can even say im worst than Willow at times!!!!........hehehehe!!!! So Willow I understand!

Monalysa , 3/18/13 1:28 AM

slap on the faces of all critics who kept on insisting rafa has not won a hard court title in 2.5 years ! here you go ..he wins a masters 1000 beating an on fire gulbis, a red hot berdych and a seemingly unstoppable delpo! oh and the masterclass against federer !

rafa now is behind djokovic in the 2013 Race...he trails djo by 1000 points ! very impressive despite missing OZ

vamosrafa , 3/18/13 1:45 AM

I didn't dare dream7, but Rafa never stopped! What a match! Congrats Rafa, and to all Rafans! VAMOS RAFA! He is back!

Blessed , 3/18/13 1:47 AM

no problem at all ed. Just so so pleased for rafa. INCREDIBLE achievement. One thing though, rafa will probably drop to number 5 again after not playing Miami, however if he makes a deep run on the restored red clay of madrid theN he could still be seeded 4 for the French. VAMOS.

willmw101 , 3/18/13 2:00 AM

true, I am hoping rafa does well in madrid this time. I just hope he wins montecarlo and barca without gruelling matches..he is going to play through a tight schedule now..but he as plenty of days to rest and recover :) :)

vamosrafa , 3/18/13 2:07 AM

@willmw101 learn to keep the faith at all times with rafa. You almost had a heart attack there while he was down. Did you forget that Delpo took out Murray and Djoko with the same game.
Rafa getting to the finals was icing on the cake for most of us as we didnt expect him to make it this far anyway. He still has some areas to work on his game especially the forehand and his break point conversion but all, its a dream comeback>>>>
THis should definitely silence the doubters..... Vamos rafa

puto , 3/18/13 11:13 AM

Rafa seeded 5 is a problem for the top 4 not for Rafa.

#Greatest Come Back Kid of all time
#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/18/13 11:18 AM

Here is the proof that the picture above was from the 2009 USO where Delpo beat Rafa. I was planning to blame Cheryl if Rafa lost yesterday for using that picture but she was saved by the bell. No, actually, Cheryl was saved by Rafa.

nadline , 3/18/13 11:23 AM

So happy for Rafa and his many fans. I am so proud of him.

Would also like to say that Delpo played a great tournament and I am sorry he had to lose in the final.

Vamos our Rafa & God bless.

schatz , 3/18/13 12:05 PM

Rafa said he was less aggressive in sets 2 and 3. As I did not watch the match, what I can conclude from the posts here and Rafa's statement is that standing behind the baseline doesn't necessarily mean Rafa was not aggressive nor coming more inside mean he became more aggressive. This, if true, throws a whole new light on Rafa and his strategy.

holdserve , 3/18/13 1:39 PM

Nadline - Cheryl already explained about the picture (not that it matters if it was from the US open 2009 or not) why are you bringing it up again? Unless you are joking, fingers crossed that's the case.

Congrats to Rafa and his fans for his win yesterday! Few questions for discussion, does Rafa's win in such a big tournament after such a long time out mean that:
A) This was simply an amazing comeback by Rafa and he is back to his old level.
B) The level of mens tennis is lower then we think and that allowed him to come back so quick.
C) A combination of A and B.
D) Something else?

rbennett , 3/18/13 1:43 PM

D) Something else.


Conspirator , 3/18/13 2:12 PM

The answer is conclusively (A) subject to his knee holding up.

But I do think he took his opponents by surprise. I suspect quite a few of them were lulled into a false sense of security believing they would be playing a rusty Rafa. It is interesting that Gulbis wash able to stretch Rafa by playing freely with nothing to lose.

ed251137 , 3/18/13 2:25 PM

@ rbennet.......bring on all the possible permutations!

Whenever Rafa completes an amazing feat (there have been too mnay to count!), there must be iome other reason apart from the fact that he is simply incredible, one of the best!!! Not too long ago people were saying that Novak and Murray have moved the game far ahead and there is little hope that Rafa will be able to catch up. Now that, not only has he caught up, but has surpassed, AGAIN the goal post is shifted and now, the reverse may be the case: the level of play might have been lowered!.......geeze!!!!

Monalysa , 3/18/13 2:28 PM

I personally think (C) but with the majority being on (A). Rafa's comeback is nothing short of amazing, and I watched the match and his knee must be close to normal, as his movement was pretty damn good. I do however think that the level of mens tennis must currently be a bit lower them we have fooled ourselves into thinking, a player of even Rafa's caliber shouldn't be able to come back and win a tournament after being out so long! I agree about the false sense of security bit as well. Maybe its A, B, C,and D! Haha.

rbennett , 3/18/13 2:33 PM

Actually this seven months of rest has helped Rafa in that besides his torn tendon been healed, his knee tendon also has time to regenerate and so his tendinitis problem has recovered (at least to an acceptable level if not completely healed). I don't understand why we're so surprised by Rafa's good results that come so soon after his comeback from injury. Like what Rafa himself said, he hasn't forgotten how to play tennis. It's a matter of his getting used to competing again. We saw his initial rust at Vina Del Mar, understandable because he needed to feel his shots again. Also he needed time to test and trust his knee again. After a few tournaments, once he knew his knee was OK, he's practically back on track towards his old winning ways again.

IW was more a challenge because it's HC, where Rafa was fearful for his knee. However, after a few successful matches, he knew he was OK on the HC, and so we saw the Rafa of old appearing. He was nervous in the final, understandable, but once his competitive nature manifested itself when he was chasing from behind, he's back to that point constructing, tactically shrewd Rafa that we know of. I'm one who's not surprised by Rafa's speedy progress over five to six weeks, because I know that once he gets all the match plays he needed on clay, his confidence in his knee, his feel for his shots and his game would come back. Rafa is an exceptional player; he's just that good that he needs only a few tournaments to help him get back on track. Delpo's wrist injury was a more serious one that required surgery. Wrist injury is no joke, and you can't play with a broken wrist and so Delpo needed longer time to get back on track.

Has the playing level of the field lowered? I don't think so, judging from the fact that all but two of the top ten players have already won at least a tournament so far this year. The top ten players are certainly as competitive as ever if not more competitive now.

luckystar , 3/18/13 3:07 PM

shame on me,
I stopped watching the match at the beginning of the 2nd set cause I thought Nadal was finished... granted t'was pretty late here in Brussles.. and I did have to get up early on Monday.. .but shame on me.. should know better....

Shireling , 3/18/13 3:08 PM

Is it me, or did you guys realise Rafa was sort of limping towards his trophy after coming back from hugging his box?

Monalysa , 3/18/13 3:10 PM

Rafa's weakest point yesterday IMHO = ROS.. too many mid-court balls --> that's his Nemesis more than anyone in particular

Shireling , 3/18/13 3:10 PM

I too had doubts during the second set when Rafa was a break down but I trusted that Rafa would let his competitive nature took over and sure enough, he did just that.

Oh, I saw the limping too but I think he should be OK when he's going to have at least four weeks break to rest and recover.

luckystar , 3/18/13 3:19 PM

rbennett, I don't take anything as seriously as you do Relax. I was saying in jest. The only thing that matters happens on court, everything else is just conjecture.

nadline , 3/18/13 3:21 PM

Mona: I didn't notice him limping but I doubt there is cause for concern. I think he was simply physically and emotionally spent.and he needed to sit down through the preliminary stages of the presentation until it was time to collect the trophy.

But the grin on his face said it all.

ed251137 , 3/18/13 3:22 PM

Non of the above. A 100% Rafa is better than the rest any day. Commies tried to sell the notion that Nole and Murray had moved the game to another level in Rafa's absence - based on what? After the AO final, I commented here that Rafa had nothing to worry about on his return.

#Greatest Come Back Kid of all time

nadline , 3/18/13 3:34 PM

Nadline - I am perfectly relaxed, I also said unless you were joking, so dunno what you're on about really. I think it's amusing you tell me to relax based on some of your comments I've read.
Anyway congrats to Rafa and don't worry his knee is fine!

rbennett , 3/18/13 4:24 PM

"Commies tried to sell the notion that Nole and Murray had moved the game to another level in Rafa's absence - based on what?"

Nadline, do you know any other set of folk who continue to love the taste of their own foot?

And now some are quick to say that the level has fallen in his absence!!! Regardless of the direction of level of play, it still represents positives for Rafa!! If the level of play has dropped whilst he was out then it goes to show that his presence helps the others get better. If the level of play has advanced then his performance following his recent come back only goes to show how GREAT he is as a result!!!


Monalysa , 3/18/13 5:05 PM

This has to be one of the most impressive comebacks that I have witnessed in the history of sport(not just tennis). Playing in adverse conditions, still under severe rest Rafa's feat has left me spellbound. To be honest I have not seen Rafa play so measured yet aggressive on US hardcourts since 2010 USO. The winners/errors ratio(33/27) was excellent and he had more winners than DelPotro.

He made a very smart move to withraw from Miami as he achieved much needed match practice, won against 4 very very good players(Gulbis included) , came from behind to turn the match on two occasions and he is now NO longer rusty.

He will now rest, and he has plenty of time to prepare for MC (his favorite event of the year).

The confidence that Rafa will get from this win is beyond imagination. I mean the guy lost one set against 3 very good hardcourters and that too on his least favorite surface and that too when he is rusty. Its a SCARY sign for all the top players .

Rafa can enjoy the break and withrawing from Miami saves him two weeks because Indian Wells and Miami being "high profile" Masters 1000 actually are extended to almost two weeks and if you go deep you lost out on two weeks .

Can't wait for CLAY season to start.

fedexal , 3/18/13 6:04 PM

I would argue that men's tennis has become even more competitive. Look at Gulbis playing real tennis and actually winning a title. He was on a nice winning streak until he met up with Rafa. What about Delpo? He is playing some of his best tennis since he had to be out a year for wrist surgery. How about Berdy? He has also been playing some of his best tennis.

That is why Rafa's win at I/W is so satisfying. He beat the players who are playing best now. That is what is important and significant. Regarding Nole, he was undefeated for the year until he ran into a red hot Delpo playing inspired tennis. So how could his level have gone down if he had yet to lose a match? Was his success because the men's game overall had gone down? You can turn the argument around.

I don't have a problem if someone wants to ask the question about Rafa's win being due to a lower level of play in men's tennis. But in the end, when you take a good look then you realize that this argument would then demean Nole's winning streak. It's not just about one player.

I thought that Fed was the only one of the top three who wasn't playing good tennis. He hasn't looked good in Rotterdam, Dubai and at I/W. When he bumps up against a decent player, then he seems to struggle.

I don't think it's a total shock that Rafa has come along so quickly. It's different than someone like Delpo who had to undergo surgery on his wrist. He was out a year and recovering from surgery takes more time and is more problematic. I think what helped Rafa is coming back on clay. It turns out that maybe it was for the best that he didn't come back in January. I think playing on his best surface was good for his body and made it easier for him to get back to good form.

As far as Rafa limping, I did get to watch the trophy ceremony when the tennis channel replayed the match. I was kind of startled to see Rafa limping at one point during the ceremony. I don't know if it means anything. Maybe he was tired. I am not concerned because he has a lot of time to rest.

Nativenewyorker , 3/18/13 7:30 PM

Rafa has more than 10 days to rest and prepare for MC if I compare with the same time last year . Should be good enough to launch an assault on his favorite surface.

fedexal , 3/18/13 7:40 PM

Rafa has four weeks off before MC begins for him.


Conspirator , 3/18/13 8:24 PM


That is correct. MC doesn't start until the middle of April.

Nativenewyorker , 3/18/13 8:59 PM

Rafa says his doctor advised him to rest and not play Miami because he had played far more matches than was expected to play every round in the 6weeks of his come back. I'm totally in favour of the rest. It's better for him to play when he is fully committed rather than play for the sake of playing and wishing he wasn't playing.

Rafa came back to announce that he's still the man to beat.

#Comeback GOAT

The 7 months lay off would have gone a long way of curing his home sickness because he did say in 2011 that he had lost his passion for the game because it seemed like he'd been on tour for 100 years.

nadline , 3/18/13 9:21 PM

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