• Nadal gets Dimitrov for the Monte-Carlo quarters

    4/19/13 3:05 AM | Cheryl Murray
    Nadal gets Dimitrov for the Monte-Carlo quarters Rafael Nadal will battle the Bulgarian youngster Grigor Dimitrov for a place in Saturday's semi-finals in the Monte-Carlo Masters.

    This quarterfinal match between the veteran and the young gun could be intriguing. Dimitrov has been in outstanding form this week with wins over Xavier Malisse, No. 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic and Florian Mayer in the third round.

    Nadal hasn't faced much in the way of stiff competition yet, but with the form Dimitrov has shown this week, the Spaniard is likely to be pressed for the first time this week.

    Nadal and Dimitrov have one other meeting, a tricky 3-set match for Nadal that came on the lightning-fast indoor courts of Rotterdam in 2009.

    In this case, surface will make all the difference. Dimitrov has a lovely one-handed backhand, but that's the very shot that Rafa will pick on with his heavy topspin.

    Prediction - Dimitrov may make the sets competitive, but this should still be a Nadal win in straight sets.

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vamos Rafa

gr8nadal , 4/19/13 3:40 AM

Vamos Rafa! Get it done in straights.

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 6:40 AM

Stay concentrated and fight bravely, Rafa!


Augustina08 , 4/19/13 7:45 AM

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/19/13 8:43 AM

Mmmm. Breadsticks!

woodenracquet , 4/19/13 9:15 AM

Dimitrov is playing very well, don't think there'll be any breadsticks, as people call scoring one game in one set.

Shireling , 4/19/13 9:51 AM

Dimitrov is a good player so Rafa will come on expecting a contest.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/19/13 10:15 AM

As Dimitrov plays like Fed and as Rafa has figured out how to play Fed., really don't expect Grigor to cause him too many probs.

deuce , 4/19/13 10:46 AM

Vamos our Rafa.

schatz , 4/19/13 12:28 PM

Nice! Xisca is nestled between Papa and Mama Nadal.....

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 1:10 PM

^^^An announcement is imminent. The whole family is there.

nadline , 4/19/13 1:13 PM

Hmmm, tell all nadline.......what announcement is in the offing?

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 1:17 PM

Break, Rafa.....

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 1:23 PM

Wheels coming off for Dimi, Rafa up 2 breaks, 1st set

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 1:31 PM

2 breaks for Rafa...but now rafa in a little hole.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 1:34 PM

dimitrov's backhand cant handle rafa's forehand...and rafa is creating a mockery out of the sliced backhands so far...

vamosrafa , 4/19/13 1:34 PM

Server went down briefly. Sorry, folks!

Rafa pouring it on now. I think he doesn't mean to let Dimitrov sink his teeth in this set.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:02 PM

Dimitrov is starting to find his range in the 2nd set, on serve.........

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 2:05 PM

Already, Dimitrov's done better than kohls, he's got more games!

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 2:07 PM

I figured Dimitrov would be more difficult. He's played VERY well this week and he has an impressive shot repertoire.

It's not a bad thing for Nadal to have to play well in the quarters.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:09 PM

cant believe commies are saying rafa's playing amazing on clay so far in monte carlo. I think he's playing well below his best on clay.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:10 PM

Dimitrov's making Rafa nervous now.......

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 2:12 PM

Scrap that, he's playing terribly!

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:12 PM

I agree with that, willmw. He's not playing badly, but he's not playing his best either.

And Dimitrov gets the break!

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:13 PM

As if Dimitrov has broken Nadal! So much potential there!

rbennett , 4/19/13 2:14 PM

Rafa's forehand is v rusty. Must be why he's been doing so much work on it with toni on the practice courts. He is finding no angles or power off it.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:14 PM

Twice Rafa's missed some forehand sitters........colm, Rafa, colm.......

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 2:15 PM

Good stuff from Dimitrov. This is great tennis from the bulgarian.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:16 PM

What is rafa doing. Normally would never miss any of these forhands

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:16 PM

Yep. He's over-cooking some of his shots...and Dimitrov isn't helping him out by missing much.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:17 PM

Rafa needs to cut out the errors.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/19/13 2:17 PM

set gone for nadal. Can see rafa going out to dimitrov if he carries on playing this poorly. So tentative, no confidence from rafa.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:18 PM

Rafa is getting nervous.

nadline , 4/19/13 2:19 PM

Thing is, Dimitrov shouldn't have been able to be in this position. Rafa has really let dimitrov into this match. Really poor.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:19 PM

Rafa playing fine..yes those missed forehands on short balls cost him the deficit in this set..

vamosrafa , 4/19/13 2:19 PM

I never say set gone for Nadal till it happens, especially on clay!

rbennett , 4/19/13 2:20 PM

This is ridiculous, commies are talking about a set loss for Rafa as if it is the holy grail.......

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 2:21 PM

pulled up on that backhand. Rafa feeling the nerves.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:21 PM

you guys seriously think nadal is playing fine?? when was the last time he played this badly on clay??

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:22 PM

On clay its very impressive to take even a set off Nadal!

rbennett , 4/19/13 2:23 PM

Truly awful set from nadal

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:25 PM

Isner. FO.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:25 PM

Something's up with Rafa. Okay, Dimitrov's level has risen but Rafa's has dropped precipitously.........

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 2:25 PM

At least give baby fed the chance to DF thrice while serving for the set!!

vmk1 , 4/19/13 2:26 PM

Cheryl thats exactly right! And rafa was playing well below his level for the whole 2011 clay swing. Worrying for rafa.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:27 PM

I'm waiting for Ricky to say 'expected' now haha.

rbennett , 4/19/13 2:28 PM

Rafa is throwing away his season if he loses in monte carlo.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:29 PM

You gotta give it to young Dimitrov, doing something much more experienced players only dream of doing: getting a set off Rafa on clay........

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 2:29 PM

I am shocked that dimitrov failed to serve a bunch of dfs aain....

tj600 , 4/19/13 2:29 PM

Just hope Rafa gets rid of the nerves now.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/19/13 2:29 PM

Yes. This doesn't bode well for Paris. Monte Carlo is his barometer for the rest of the season.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:30 PM

sorry, I meant "again".

tj600 , 4/19/13 2:31 PM

Really surprising from rafa, thought his confidence would be high after IW. Looks to be extremely low right now. This is a huge 3rd set and at the moment i cant see nadal playing well enough to win. Inexplicable level from nadal.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:31 PM

look at what's being compared a whole season (2011) with a single set! LOL...rafa played the 2nd half of set 2 poorly, he was shaky..he'l get his game back enough to win the match

vamosrafa , 4/19/13 2:32 PM

Rafa badly needs to hold here.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:35 PM

ok this is now the worst ive ever seen nadal play on a clay court. Just awful.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:35 PM

Rafa needs to get a grip.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/19/13 2:35 PM

I am depressed now......

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 2:36 PM

Nadal's going out. Cant believe this, so bad from him.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:36 PM

Wow, Rafa gets a game!


rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 2:40 PM

much needed hold..

vamosrafa , 4/19/13 2:40 PM

This is just a joke. Nadal has no ability to finish points, he's being so tentative.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:41 PM

Nadal's finished.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:43 PM

Some really good play from Dimitrov in that last game!

rbennett , 4/19/13 2:43 PM

Come on Rafa, stop the defensive tennis!!!!!!!!!!!!

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/19/13 2:43 PM

I'm really impressed with Dimitrov's poise. He has fantastic hands.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:44 PM

Somewhere in Monte Carlo, Djokovic's ankle is doing a jig.........

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 2:44 PM

Nadal is out. Wasted season. Bye bye 2013

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:45 PM

this is crazy, following live scores from work....cant believe what is going on

atul1985 , 4/19/13 2:45 PM

ok, finally a winner..

atul1985 , 4/19/13 2:47 PM

The biggest thing about this match is the fact that dimitrov is offering A LOT of short balls for rafa that nadal would normally finish. However nadal hasn't finished any of them. So much for uncle Toni and Rafa working on being more aggressive and finishing the points earlier.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:47 PM

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:48 PM

Ok, Rafa just needs to settle down and play his game!!!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 2:48 PM

Wills - give us a break will you. It's bad enough as it is :-((((

ed251137 , 4/19/13 2:49 PM

what the hell is wrong with nadal.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:50 PM

Hey guys, even I am a wreck. Following live scores at work.I hope there is no knee problem re-surfacing. Is the movement OK?

vmk1 , 4/19/13 2:50 PM

Rafa was so aggressive in the 1st set but has been so defensive in the 2 nd and 3rd set. He is just not hurting Dimitrov any more..........sense of despair about Rafa right now.

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 2:51 PM


willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:52 PM

It's not his strategy or his movement that's the problem. He's just playing badly. Dimitrov is giving him all kinds of opportunities to take control of the point and Nadal isn't taking it.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:52 PM

I am amazed at the ease with which Dimi is holding. Not even drawn to deuce. Is it all aces and unreturnable serves or is Rafa making UE's?

vmk1 , 4/19/13 2:52 PM

Rafa is going out it seems...Dimitrov holding easily

atul1985 , 4/19/13 2:53 PM

I'm fearing the worst. Rafa doesn't seen to have any fight in him.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/19/13 2:53 PM

rafa hits one good shot and follows it up with two poor ones...dimitrov playing really well is also affecting rafa mentally ...just hold serve champ and I am sure u'll have ur chances ..

vamosrafa , 4/19/13 2:53 PM

Atul, bcos Rafa lost a set?!! I mean you guys come on!!!!I thought you guys said that Rafa needed some tough match play in readiness for RG. This is a long time in coming and unless Rafa is drunk he will try his best to win!!! And if he doesnt then its best he loses here and then get an opportunity to tweak his game in time for RG.

And Willow, plz settle down, Rafa delivers 95% of the time! Give him a break!!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 2:53 PM

So am I! Is better HC game hurting his clay game? Probably has not figured out Dimi unlike other players. Still hope the big occasion gets to Dimi!

vmk1 , 4/19/13 2:54 PM

Rafa making an absurd amount of UE's especially considering that fact that dimitrov really insnt playing as well as everyone is saying.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:54 PM

I've never seen Rafa like this at a loss what to do

ed251137 , 4/19/13 2:55 PM

vmk - this is mostly Rafa playing badly. He's missing shots he would normally hit and hitting tentatively when he would ordinarily go for the winner.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 2:55 PM

I cant believe how easliy u guys are giving up on Rafa here!! Fed and Novak fans NEVER give up on them that easily!! I am very disappointed to see this here!!!

VAMOS, Rafa, do your best!!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 2:57 PM

Thanks cheryl!But at least holding serve comfortably now. Isn't the FH to the SHBH combination not working? How is this match so close. Rafa is yet to see a BP since the first set. That is not something that you see from Rafa

vmk1 , 4/19/13 2:57 PM

This is a joke. How is he playing this bad after he played at about 75-80% in the first set...

willmw101 , 4/19/13 2:57 PM

, 4/19/13 2:53 PM

Coz rafa lost a set 6-2 and is playing poorly in the next set as well.

atul1985 , 4/19/13 2:58 PM

Monalysa- we are not giving up on Rafa. But when the scoreline suggests Rafa almost getting outplayed in MC for the better part of the match, you feel there is something else in the equation. I just hope he is healthy.

vmk1 , 4/19/13 2:59 PM

vmk -- if he starts hitting the ball better, it WILL work. But his forehand isn't its normal dangerous self atm.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 3:00 PM

@monalysa, 100 percent true ! rafa is having a really bad day..lets hope and pray he gets out of trble..cheer rafa up !

vamosrafa , 4/19/13 3:00 PM

Lets wait, after the match, Rafa will say what the problem was or is! If he is playing that poorly all of a sudden, there must be a reason!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 3:00 PM

Agree with Cheryl, he just seems out of sorts...........Ah well........stuff happens.

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 3:00 PM

Season finished.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 3:01 PM

If all is well with Rafa, I am happy for the stern test he is getting. Should snuff out any semblance of overconfidence that Rafa might have for the upcoming clay season. But whats up with Dimi, holding at love! Astonishing

vmk1 , 4/19/13 3:01 PM

Give Dimitrov credit though, his slice is what is really doing the damage..............

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 3:02 PM

well, if Rafa wanted some tough-time practice, he's getting it :D

Shireling , 4/19/13 3:02 PM

Dimitrov holds to love short of words

atul1985 , 4/19/13 3:02 PM

I didn't think this was going to be a straightforward match.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/19/13 3:02 PM

Dimitrov is visibly licking his lips with anticipation.................

ed251137 , 4/19/13 3:03 PM

just shutup ur anti jinxing shit privately,not in here..hell annoying...

come on rafa !hold serve

vamosrafa , 4/19/13 3:03 PM

Pity, because Dimitrov isn't even playing well anymore. He did in the second set, but given how Rafa is playing, he should be up 4-1 atm.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 3:03 PM

vmk what are you talking about?? Nadal is never overconfident. At the moment he is massively under confident.

Rafa will get broken now.

Dimitrov is playing fine, but Nadal is throwing this match away.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 3:03 PM

You know this thought is killing me- "What if Baby fed becomes for Rafa what Rafa is to Fed :("

vmk1 , 4/19/13 3:03 PM

I hope Dimitrov only hope

atul1985 , 4/19/13 3:04 PM

willmw101, what if Rafa actually ends up winning this? imagine!

Shireling , 4/19/13 3:05 PM

inexcusable errors from nadal. He deserves to lose.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 3:05 PM

If we know our Rafa, next game he would be breaking Dimi! But watching this, I know one person who would better abput himself- Andy Murray

vmk1 , 4/19/13 3:05 PM

Rafa, just play with colm!!!.....You alone know what the issue is. I hope all is well health wise!


Monalysa , 4/19/13 3:05 PM

30-0 to 30-30. but big serve.

RickyDimon , 4/19/13 3:06 PM

I have certainly never seen Rafa play this badly on THIS court. He was still worse against Isner in Paris a couple of years ago.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 3:07 PM

atul what are you talking about. The only hope is if rafa actually starts playing tennis again.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 3:07 PM

Unbelievable, Rafa cannot find a killer shot.......

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 3:09 PM

Aargh. If he can just get to a 15-30 situation, Dimi should choke.

vmk1 , 4/19/13 3:09 PM

This just isn't good enough from nadal. So many short balls from dimitrov that rafa is just rolling back in the court.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 3:09 PM

Please dear god spare us the agony of a tie-break.

ed251137 , 4/19/13 3:09 PM

willm - either one will work or maybe a combination of it

atul1985 , 4/19/13 3:09 PM

vmk1..........ure funny!!!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 3:10 PM

here's your 15-30 situation vmk1 :)

Shireling , 4/19/13 3:11 PM

choke my foot - big ACE instead.Not good

atul1985 , 4/19/13 3:12 PM

and just that fast, break point erased.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 3:12 PM

have some faith in Rafa people!

Shireling , 4/19/13 3:13 PM


atul1985 , 4/19/13 3:14 PM


RickyDimon , 4/19/13 3:14 PM

At least Rafa is creating opportunities for himself!!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 3:14 PM

Rafa needs to be 'colm'.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/19/13 3:14 PM

Thats what we are talking about
Please please please Dear lord,spare us break points in this game.

vmk1 , 4/19/13 3:14 PM

Ricky, you are my hero.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 3:14 PM

stop celebrating as if he has won, rafa still has to serve it out

atul1985 , 4/19/13 3:15 PM

TOLD YOU, rafa was gona have his chances if he keeps holding serve it out boy

vamosrafa , 4/19/13 3:15 PM

Plz dont celebrate yet!! And if Rafa does win, you guys owe him an apology!!!


Monalysa , 4/19/13 3:16 PM

LOL at this entire thread. people actually thought Rafa was gon lose.

RickyDimon , 4/19/13 3:16 PM

Encouraging start 15-0

vmk1 , 4/19/13 3:16 PM

he can still lose, match not over...

atul1985 , 4/19/13 3:17 PM

Plz Ricky, I take it you did not read my posts!!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 3:17 PM

30-30. Still good stuff from Dimitrov.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 3:18 PM

OMg!!! 30 all.

vmk1 , 4/19/13 3:18 PM

If rafa throws this away it will ruin his season.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 3:18 PM

hehehe, this is what people like to see :)

Shireling , 4/19/13 3:19 PM

Rafa, I know for sure you can do it..................just focus!!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 3:19 PM


cherylmurray , 4/19/13 3:19 PM

He cant put him away!!

vmk1 , 4/19/13 3:20 PM

Well I've seen Rafa win matches he should have lost but quite on this scale.


ed251137 , 4/19/13 3:20 PM


#I just can say
#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/19/13 3:21 PM

I have no words...........

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 3:21 PM

holy close calls, Batman.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 3:21 PM

what do you know, he actually won the match..... (shame on you Rafans, should have more faith in our boy)

Shireling , 4/19/13 3:22 PM

OMGGGG what a scare it was. Vamosss Rafa

gr8nadal , 4/19/13 3:22 PM

Finally, Phew what a heartache, Rafa lives to fight another day

atul1985 , 4/19/13 3:22 PM

VAMMMMMMOOOOOSSSSSSSS. That match could define rafa's season. CMON

willmw101 , 4/19/13 3:22 PM

OMG1!!from the reactions you would think he has nummer 9 in the bag. The last time I felt so scared for Rafa was FO final 2012.
I just hope its an off-day and the dreaded knees are not giving him trouble.

vmk1 , 4/19/13 3:22 PM

I think Rafa's girlfriend needs to go back to Spain.................her presence is not welcomed at MC!!!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 3:22 PM

please, let's not start with the knees...

Shireling , 4/19/13 3:23 PM

willmw -- you are incredibly entertaining. :D

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 3:24 PM

Time to get back to work. Rafa or rather Dimi cost me a hour's worth of work

vmk1 , 4/19/13 3:24 PM

willmw101, with all due respect, you're not allowed now to say VAMMOSSSS, when you've been a total pester throughout the match

Shireling , 4/19/13 3:26 PM

:D thanks cheryl ;)

If rafa can beat one of the form players at the moment playing THAT badly then hopefully him and toni can build up some confidence in that forehand.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 3:26 PM

@ Shireling...............tell me about it!!!

VAMOS, Rafa, hope all is well. One match at a time and good luck for the rest of the tourney and season!!!!

Im not sure how well Dimitrov played but at least he made the match competitive!!! Kudos to close but yet so far!!! I wish him the best for the rest of the season. He is difinitely one to look to in the future!!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 3:26 PM

Congratulations Rafans. I swear I birthed multiple kittens there! On to the Semis......

Thank you, Rafa.


rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 3:27 PM

Dimitrov is a very talented player, much more talented than his 'dad'.

nadline , 4/19/13 3:27 PM

Ricky,exclude me...ONLY rafa on clay can get away playing so poorly against a red hot opponent...rafa is gona raise the level in the doubts

vamosrafa , 4/19/13 3:28 PM

Wow! Rafa squeaks through. Will be collecting money for sofa usage later....;)
How exciting to see Dimitrov slowly coming of age though. Tennis needs some starry new talent.

deuce , 4/19/13 3:29 PM

I stopped watching at 4-3, third set where Dimi was serving so easily. I can't bear seeing Rafa on the losing situation :-) only to find out now that he still won the match. VAMOS !!!

Raindrops , 4/19/13 3:33 PM

dimitrov's sliced backhand is even better than roger but he plays a few silly shots off his backhand ...he is improving..I always rate him as the best BY FAR in the young lot..

vamosrafa , 4/19/13 3:33 PM

Tignor just confirmed that Rafa's back was taped. I saw the taping during the match when his shirt rose up but I did not want to sound alarmist and kept quiet. I hope it is nothing serious but for me his movement was compromised in the 2nd set and Dimitrov exploited that by slicing him to near death......

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 3:34 PM

Now they are suggesting that Xisca is wearing a wedding ring.

nadline , 4/19/13 3:34 PM

Vamos Rafa - well done to win this one.

schatz , 4/19/13 3:35 PM

calm down wilmw101 :) it wasn't a personal attack. It's just that with comments such as those at '4/19/13 2:43 PM' , '4/19/13 3:01 PM', '4/19/13 3:01 PM' you don't do yourself (or the rest of us Rafans) any favours, I understand that you are nervous and need to write something :) but, next time, try to have more faith and poise :)

Shireling , 4/19/13 3:37 PM

I almost died. What a tentative play from Rafa. He generally chose the wrong shots.
If he should play one bad match in a season this must be it. Now on to the semis.

arwen , 4/19/13 3:44 PM

hey arwen, I like your pseudo ;)

Shireling , 4/19/13 3:44 PM

Congratulations to Rafa on winning the match!

In the first set, his hands worked very well. Afteward the level dropped. But he fought until the last point - and he won!!! Vamooosss!

After the second set, Rafa left the court and returned together with his physiotherapist (Maymo). After the match, I saw that Rafa's back was taped. Did his back hurt?

Augustina08 , 4/19/13 3:45 PM

Shrill-ing no, I'll post however I like.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 3:47 PM

match report is up in_Monte_Carlo_against_Dimitrov

I'm afraid willmw101 is correct. He is under no obligation to cheer for his favorite player.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 3:52 PM

edited to remove quote

Shireling , 4/19/13 3:55 PM

Nice of you to toe the line shireling.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 4:00 PM

I didn't mean that part, obviously. I just meant he doesn't have to be positive, even though it annoys the hell out of the rest of you. I will be deleting that post and yours with the quote for good measure. :)

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 4:02 PM

so be it (lol)

Shireling , 4/19/13 4:04 PM

Shireling, it's best to ignore willmw he is the new AttentionSeeker and claims to be a Rafa anti-jinx. If it works, then good for him. I don't care what makes Rafa win, as long as he does.

nadline , 4/19/13 4:08 PM

You fans have so little faith . Like the annoying commentators .
So eager to write him off .It is never over till the last point !!!
Rafa is the best player out there who will give his all right up to the very end .Looks like he is carring an injury tho as his back was taped a lot . Vamos Rafa you won in a difficult situation !

sals3 , 4/19/13 4:09 PM

Thats what I thought, there must be a reason why Rafa was playing the way he did!! He was so on song in the 1st!!

Back injury?.........ummmmm!!!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 4:27 PM

From one attention seeker to another, I'm a fan willmw101. Funny! (Even though we are one and the same, hey nadline.)

I'm glad I missed the match. Hate watching Rafa when he's struggling.

Was fun to read down through this thread after the fact though. :)))

vamosrafa and Monalysa you are both amazingly positive Rafans. I wish I had your positivity.


Conspirator , 4/19/13 6:51 PM

@ Conspirator...........I know at times Rafa plays like crap but that usually boils down to a bad day at the office. But at times you could see, as usual, he is trying but things just aren't working but he keeps on trying!!! So I know when things look pretty bad, is either there is a health issue or he is just simply being outplayed!!

Today, it wasnt so much the case of him being outplayed so I knew it had to be something bcos Rafa played so well in the beginning. At times Rafa gets bored but he quickly regroups and shows why he is Rafa Nadal. But today, no disrespect to Dim, but he is just simply not good enough (yet) to beat Rafa on clay, so I simply refused to give up on Rafa until the last ball was bowled!!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 8:33 PM

Rafa left the court for a comfort break after he dropped the 2nd set and that is when he came back with the tape on his back. I could see he was hampered because usually he deals very well with slices but today he couldn't bend to his shoe-laces to retrieve them. It was his back hindering him. Also his net stats: 8 out of 20! That is not normal for Rafa. Clearly he was having trouble bending, twisting and lunging to make those volleys.

Anyway, injuries are par for the course as Rafa said. I hope he gets relief quickly and his discomfort reduces.


rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 9:19 PM

Dimitrov has got the best one-handed backhand in the game right now...........better than Fed's, Gasquet and Youzhny. I think Wawa comes 2nd.

nadline , 4/19/13 9:46 PM

nadline, was that a joke?? are you talking about the topspin backhand ? if you are talking about the sliced backhand only then fine BUT the topspin backhand?? ! come on ! dimitrov has a weak backhand..that is the shot he needs wo work on a lot! he has got the worst one handed backhand among all the players you have mentioned..

vamosrafa , 4/19/13 10:00 PM

I wanted to agree with Conspirator that the positive comments from vamosrafa and Monalysa are so welcome! It's comforting. I am still waiting to watch Rafa's match. I know that members of vb who were there in MC watching the match, did say that Dimitrov didn't play that great in the second set. It was more that Rafa wasn't playing well at all. It had to be the back issue. If he was having trouble bending or twisting to get volleys, then the back would be the problem.

I can only hope that he gets treatment and it will feel better tomorrow.

As for the SHBH's, I think that Fed, Gasquet and Wawa are the gold standard. I have seen Dimitrov play and don't think he is in their league yet.

Nativenewyorker , 4/20/13 1:32 AM

I agree with @vamosrafa's take on Dimitrov's SHBH. The reason it looked phenominal today was because Rafa simply let him play because, as he said, he lost intensity in his own shots and could not end the points sooner.

rafaisthebest , 4/20/13 7:28 AM

^ Agree that BH needs serious work. Really showed when he played Andy at Brisbane.

deuce , 4/20/13 7:43 AM

For all Rafans (and tennis lovers in general), this is a MUST read: y-and-consistency-in-monte-carlo/? r&utm_campaign=stats-rafael-nadals-efficiency-and-consistency-in-monte -carlo

Rafa may have LOOKED like he was tittering on the verge of defeat, the stats, however, tell a different story.


rafaisthebest , 4/20/13 8:28 AM

Now that I have watched the match, it was obvious that something was wrong with Rafa in that second set. He couldn't bend down to get to the low balls the way he normally does. I think that some of the issues with the forehand were just some rust, lack of timing and rhythm. Rafa said it himself in his post-match press conference. I noticed it during the match with Kohls. Rafa was hitting forehands into the net and also overhitting some of them. But Kohls wasn't able to capitalize on those errors. I could see that Rafa's groundstrokes didn't have the depth and penetration that they normally would and that's why I was nervous about the match with Dimitrov.

On clay the match is always on Rafa's racket, but if he is lacking match play things can get dicey. In the second set, Dimitrov didn't do anything special. It was more about what Rafa wasn't doing. At 4-2 Dimitrov with him serving, Rafa made three UE's in a row to virtually hand him a 5-2 lead. Then Rafa was serving and was up 40-0, yet lost his serve and the set. He wasn't moving well at all.

In the third set I thought that Rafa played better. Dimitrov hit some great shots and it was a closely contested battle. Rafa won this on sheer willpower. When Dimitrov started cramping, Rafa knew he had his shot to get the break. I also have to say that I have zero sympathy for a guy who cramps in a three set match in cool conditions. The commies kept giving Dimitrov credit for pushing Rafa, but it was simply that Rafa was struggling with a back issue and also not match ready.

The semifinal will start at the lovely hour of 4:00 AM my time, so I don't think that I will make it. I have it set to record and if I wake up in the wee hours of the morning, I may turn it on. I just hope that the back won't be an issue. This match was good at least for helping Rafa to play more and get his rhythm and timing going.

Nativenewyorker , 4/20/13 8:56 AM

vamosrafa, In this match, he was hitting his targets which most one-handed backhanders fail to do consistently.

nadline , 4/20/13 9:06 AM

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