• Nadal, Ferrer to meet in second straight tournament

    5/17/13 1:05 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Nadal, Ferrer to meet in second straight tournament Another all-Spanish clash between Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer is set for Friday in Rome. The winner will advance to the semifinals for a possible showdown against Novak Djokovic.

    Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer will be squaring off for the 23rd time in their careers and for the third time this season when they collide in the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Friday.

    Nadal is dominating the head-to-head series 18-4, including 15-1 on clay. The former world No. 1 has won 15 matches in a row against Ferrer on the slow stuff since losing their first-ever encounter on the red clay of Stuttgart back in 2004. As for their 2013 meetings, Nadal rolled 6-0, 6-2 in the Acapulco final before battling past Ferrer 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-0 in last week's Madrid quarters.

    This one almost did not come to fruition, because Nadal had a serious scare against familiar foe Ernests Gulbis on Thursday. Rome's defending champion and No. 5 seed recovered from a first-set breadstick to beat Gulbis 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 after two hours and 37 minutes. Nadal, owner of five titles already this year, is 33-2 for his 2013 campaign and 38-2 lifetime at this event.

    Ferrer, by contrast, got a third-round walkover from an ill Philipp Kohlschreiber. That was preceded by another all-Spanish affair on Wednesday, which went Ferrer's way 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 over Fernando Verdasco. Ferrer is 31-8 for the season, which includes a relatively surprising runner-up finish in Miami.

    While Ferrer showed last week in Madrid that he can be competitive in this matchup, the result also showed that it is hard for the underdog to get entirely over the hump (he was two points from victory in the second set). Furthermore, Nadal has always been far better in Rome than he is amidst the high-altitude conditions of Madrid.

    Unless Nadal is not moving 100 percent due to knee issues or fatigue, he should cruise through Ferrer in straight sets.

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#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 5/17/13 8:33 AM

Thanks for putting the excuses in early, Ricky but they won't be needed today, Rafa will find a way past Ferru. After his show of grit yesterday against Ernie, I am convinced he wants this...........


rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 8:49 AM

Hmmm, I am smelling a conspiracy.......

Rafa/Ferru H2H is 18-4. If Rafa beats Ferru today, as he will, this will become 19-4. Guess who's being lined up to be the first to collect the "First to Lose 20 Times to Rafa" gong?


rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 9:58 AM

re: Kohlschreiber and vertigo. I was scratching my head when I heard the commentators discussing this. But later on, when the camera pulled back and one saw the immense height and almost vertical rake of the seating, I realised this might account for Kohl having a problem if he suffers vertigo. Looking up at the cliff-like stands could induce the same sensations, in reverse as it were, that trigger vertigo.

ed251137 , 5/17/13 10:54 AM

Vertigo is a dissfuncion in the inner ear (mostly), it's not necessarily linked to heights.

Shireling , 5/17/13 12:16 PM

@ 9:58 AM
Er, Djokovic is 'lined up' right after that match you know. Rafa's already had one shot at it.
Best make this one count Rafa, you can even scalp Roger right after that.
Oh but of course, silly me, both will surely tank their matches to avoid the dubious distinction.

xrf , 5/17/13 12:46 PM

xrf , 5/17/13 12:46 PM

I am trying to stay on the good side of the good Nole and Fed fans here!

*nod, nod: wink, wink*

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 12:53 PM

^^ I am sure 'trying' is the operative word here. :P

xrf , 5/17/13 1:06 PM

Chances are that Kohlschreiber has an inner ear infection. I had a bad ear infection once as an adult, resulting in a terrible, terrible case of vertigo that lasted weeks. It was flat-out debilitating. I vomited daily because of the room spinning and I couldn't really walk, so I was forced to just lay in bed and wait for it to stop.

I feel VERY bad for Kohli.

cherylmurray , 5/17/13 1:16 PM

Cheryl, hope all is well now!

Vamos, Rafa, we know you can do it! One match at a time!


Monalysa , 5/17/13 3:09 PM

sanju , 5/17/13 3:58 PM

luv Rafas quote on Gulbis saying he was better player all

sanju , 5/17/13 4:00 PM

On to next match!!

Rafa, let your racket do the talking!!!! VAMOS!!!

Monalysa , 5/17/13 4:39 PM

Bull is in the house.

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 4:46 PM

rafa's staying closer to the base line, it's a good sign though

rafaelo , 5/17/13 5:00 PM

Ferru's come to play, good to see............

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:09 PM

Rafa's still in the locker room............focus, Rafa, focus....

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:14 PM

Short balls work with Ernie, not Ferru.........

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:18 PM

Fantastic BHDTL winner from Rafa......

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:21 PM

whatttt a lob

gr8nadal , 5/17/13 5:23 PM

Break Rafa, leads 3-2

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:23 PM

break for rafa

rafaelo , 5/17/13 5:24 PM

Hate these shadows on court, must be difficult for the players....

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:26 PM

To digress for a moment. I love the simplicity of Rafa's outfit for this tournement with just the contrasting red accent of the headband and wrist bands

ed251137 , 5/17/13 5:27 PM

Vamos Rafa!! 4UEs in a row............

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:30 PM

error after error

rafaelo , 5/17/13 5:30 PM

Worst service game by Rafa so far......

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:33 PM's the shadows...

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:34 PM

Plus there is quite a bit of wind which is swirling around inside the court. Both players are clocking up UEs and not many winners.

ed251137 , 5/17/13 5:38 PM

Ferru is going for the lines, anything else will not do................

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:40 PM

Is there anyone in the Men's game who works as hard as Ferru? The guy's indefatigable!!

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:43 PM

Those damn shadows............

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:45 PM

Rafa struggling on his service games today..............

Vamos Rafa!!

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:48 PM

Rafa seems unusually subdued..........

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:53 PM

both playing mediocre at best

should be on serve

RickyDimon , 5/17/13 5:53 PM

I don't mind a mediocre win at all today..............

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 5:55 PM

I think it's mostly attributable to the strange weather conditions. The combination of the sun coming and going and sudden wind gusts are causing both players some problems.

ed251137 , 5/17/13 5:58 PM

the match is getting boring! first set to rafa

rafaelo , 5/17/13 5:59 PM

1st set Rafa, 64. 45UEs between them in the first set, evenly split.............Rafa only winning 40% of 2nd serves in the set.


rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 6:00 PM

Rafa is pacing himself for the SF and Final.

ed251137 , 5/17/13 6:01 PM

nadal is broken!!!!

rafaelo , 5/17/13 6:14 PM

Please Rafa, we've had enough drama for the day don't you think?

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 6:19 PM

double break for ferrer!

rafaelo , 5/17/13 6:22 PM

Ferru is beginning to annoy me big time.

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 6:25 PM

the set is gone!!!! what the hell is he doing? he is just so lame! Rafa pleeeeeaaaaaseeeee! be calm and focus!

rafaelo , 5/17/13 6:26 PM

rafaelo: are you another anti-jinxing merchant?

ed251137 , 5/17/13 6:37 PM

LOL at Rafa's Gulbis quotes

RickyDimon , 5/17/13 6:39 PM

I cant understand what has happened to Rafa's serve. It's never been a big weapon (apart from that USO moment) but it has no pop at all and Ferru is devouring it.

ed251137 , 5/17/13 6:41 PM

Why can't Ferru play like the over the hill player he is?

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 6:43 PM

if rafa can win it in two, then he is a magician

rafaelo , 5/17/13 6:46 PM

Ferru has got the jitters.

ed251137 , 5/17/13 6:47 PM

Back on serve........

Rafa's serve is really hurting him today............needs to step it up.

Still not out of the woods, Ferru leads 54


rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 6:48 PM

@ED, Ummmm... may be :D I was not untill 2011! but now I just get too nervous when he is playing bad ;) Whatever i am sorry!

rafaelo , 5/17/13 6:49 PM

WHAT A POINT!!! now I am scared!

rafaelo , 5/17/13 6:53 PM


rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 6:54 PM

Rfas form is up n down after he has returned, inexplicable. He plays well at times, then suddenly plays bad too.

sanju , 5/17/13 7:03 PM


rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 7:13 PM

rafa breaks

rafaelo , 5/17/13 7:15 PM

Thank goodness, Rafa consolidates. Ferru swearing at himself, why is he not being warned?

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 7:19 PM

He's got that 'dont mess with me' gleam in his eye at last.

ed251137 , 5/17/13 7:19 PM

my dad just turn the channel! keep me update plz!

rafaelo , 5/17/13 7:21 PM

Rafa breaks again..............leads4-1

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 7:22 PM

OH! thanks God :)

rafaelo , 5/17/13 7:23 PM

Dear Daveed, he tries so hard but the result is always (or nearly always) the same.
The wind still causing problems. Balls that would normally drop just inside the line are floating wide.

ed251137 , 5/17/13 7:29 PM

5-1 Rafa, Ferru to serve to stay in the match.

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 7:33 PM

just one game away, Rafa concentrate...

rafaelo , 5/17/13 7:34 PM

Start breathing cautiously. Daveed serving to stay in the match at 1:5

ed251137 , 5/17/13 7:34 PM

5-2 Rafa to serve for the match.............

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 7:35 PM

Oh that was a classic DLTFH from Rafa to make it 30:0.

Match point coming up

ed251137 , 5/17/13 7:40 PM

Not a Novak, please Rafa.....serve it out...

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 7:41 PM

He's done it.

ed251137 , 5/17/13 7:42 PM

GSM Rafa

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 7:43 PM


rafaelo , 5/17/13 7:43 PM


Vamos Rafa

nadline , 5/17/13 7:44 PM


Monalysa , 5/17/13 7:45 PM

With this win, Rafa is officially #1 in the Race to London.

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 7:47 PM

Best sports comeback of all time. Never ceases to amaze.


Conspirator , 5/17/13 7:49 PM

If he isn't match sharp for RG by now he never will be. Hope his body is standing up to the punishment it's getting.

ed251137 , 5/17/13 7:49 PM

Rafa looked drained. I hope Maymo puts him in one of those oxygen things Novak uses.....poor baby..

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 7:53 PM

Ferrer has joined Club 19.

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 5/17/13 7:54 PM


ed251137 , 5/17/13 7:54 PM

ritb: I think he's more emotionally drained than physically. He's played a lot of tough matches recently and, as Nadine was saying yesterday, the constant strain of battling his way through is taking its toll on his inner reserves.

I cant be home tomorrow to watch the SF (what a bummer) but my thoughts will be with Rafa and all his fans. I rather suspect Berdy will make him go the distance but as Ricky would say - the result is never in doubt.

ed251137 , 5/17/13 8:02 PM

I know Rafa needs mach play but I am fearing he has overplayed and has had too many matches, too many hours on court. I just hope it doesnt backfire at the wrong moment

5 hrs plus between yesterday n today. And all intense 5 hours.

sanju , 5/17/13 8:03 PM

ATP confirmation:

RT @SharkoTennis: "By reaching SF @InteBNLdItalia, @RafaelNadal is new #ATP Race to London pts leader (most pts in 2013). "

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 8:11 PM

This one is for Twinge:

RT @juanjo_sports:"What I love about this match is about how it destroys the dumb stereotypes about clay tennis. Both guys have done so many different things.

Actually, this match is showcasing much more variety than your standard fare hardcourt match. So much variety.

Guys are having to blast away from the baseline, yes.But they need to change direction, change spin, use drop shots, volleys, lobs."

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 8:18 PM

Beyond The Baseline ?@SI_BTBaseline 30m
Youch. MT @layceelee13 @SI_BTBaseline In past year, Nadal d. Ferrer all 5 times they played. final set scores 6-0; 6-1; 6-2; 6-0; today 6-2.

Conspirator , 5/17/13 8:19 PM

I don't know how I will watch 5 setters in paris! :))):D

rafaelo , 5/17/13 8:24 PM

, 5/17/13 8:18 PM

beware ritb, this post about clay was not authorized by Twinge
he just might threaten you to kill you or something to that effect

kidding aside,
amazing comeback from our dear rafito
I *really* hope his body and emotional reserves hold out, with the occasional week off through RG, Wimbledon and USO. Let him get the results he can without unnecessary troubles.

chlorostoma , 5/17/13 8:31 PM

What is even more amazing @chloro is that he is leading in the Race to London, imagine.

He has not played a Slam.

He is still coming back from injury.

He was out 7 months.

Yes, let's hope he keeps everything together and achieves the heights he was meant to.........

rafaisthebest , 5/17/13 8:40 PM

I am concerned by comments that Rafa has played too much. I don't get that. He played for about a month when he came back in February, then he took a month off and we saw what that did to his form at MC. That's why he lost to Djoker in the final. So now he has played in MC, Barcelona, Madrid and now Rome. He's hardly played at all this year and yet some are saying that he has played too much tennis?

If Rafa doesn't play enough, then he can't get into his best form. If he can't handle it after having played so little, then that is cause for concern. He only had one tough match at Madrid. He hasn't been on the court playing for hours and hours.

I see that Berdy defeated Djoker. So where is KMA and some others who were bragging that Djoker would beat Rafa? It's not going to happen now. I have to go back and watch my recording of that match and also Rafa and Ferrer. I only saw the third set of Berdy and Djoker. But knowing that Djoker was up a set and 5-2 in the second set, this is not a good thing.

Maybe now we won't have to hear about Djoker being the King of Clay.

Nativenewyorker , 5/17/13 8:45 PM


"Maybe now we won't have to hear about Djoker being the King of Clay."

Thank you!!!!!

Monalysa , 5/17/13 9:02 PM

, 5/17/13 8:40 PM and Nativenewyorker
, 5/17/13 8:45 PM

very true

and thank you for your kind words, ed

one way we can see Rafa is far from his previous heights is the trouble he is having in matches that in full mental (and physical?) form would have been much easier. to be expected. he is so very used to taking the tough hours or days whenever they come. but he is still regaining all that mental strength. I think he has a very good chance to win RG but it is not for sure, and that's OK. I am pretty sure he will collect RG #8 before he retires, even if it doesn't happen this year. and probably RG #9. Should he do it this year, THAT would mean an even more phenomenal comeback. and it would mean 4 RGs back-to-back, twice. so while I wish him to win the Rome title and perhaps ricky will say NID, it's OK if he does not. by the end of tomorrow he will have gotten plenty of preparation for RG.

chlorostoma , 5/17/13 9:13 PM

i think it was a really good performance from rafa ! i really liked it...i saw many positives...yes not vintage rafa once again and too many U.E but still...this was the best i have seen rafa hit his backhand for a while ! he stepped up the court ton numerous occasions , created angles, flattened it out some times and went DTL too ! So there was surely an improvement there..the ROS was shaky but depth was may be better but hard to compare to yesterday's match as gulbis had a tough service and ferru does not....

I also liked how often rafa used the forehand DTL ! he was not afraid to use it on break point, that shot saved plenty of break points ! Rafa was somewhat inconsistent but i saw intent ! he was being aggressive, definitely ! For me rafa is the favourite to win the title....

In a way its good that rafa is winning these tough matches to get gain match toughness, his mental strength, intensity ,concentration etc ..but we are also concerned if he is overplaying, lets see...

and being no.1 in race to london despite missing OZ open and miami is UNEARTHLY!

Beef up that serve and backhand rafa and u'l rock again at RG !

vamosrafa , 5/18/13 5:34 AM


Thank goodness you are here! I wanted to know what you thought of Rafa's match with Ferrer. My recording got messed up and I only got to see the first set and a half. The tennis channel is replaying Fed's match and I am hoping that they will next replay Rafa's match. I want to see the rest of the second set and the third set.

From what I did see, Rafa was missing occasionally with the forehand. As you said, the ROS is hard to judge since Gulbis has a much bigger serve than Ferrer. I do think that Rafa was getting better court position. I thought that his dtl backhand was really good in this match. He was flattening it out for winners. Nice to see that!

It wasn't vintage Rafa and there were too many UE's but that's because he hasn't played much this year.

As you can see from my previous post, I am of the opinion that Rafa may be fatigued because of not playing enough, not because he has had some tough matches. If Rafa had been playing since the beginning of the year, matches like the ones with Gulbis and Ferrer would be nothing to him.

It's a conundrum, because Rafa needs matches to get fitter, but he also needed to have some time off so that he doesn't aggravate the knee. We saw how he had gone backwards somewhat when he came to MC. I think he needs these tournaments and some tough matches to be ready for RG. It's helping his mental strength, focus and concentration. It may be a lot of tennis for someone who hasn't played much this year, but I believe that he needs it.

I gather that you are optimistic regarding Rafa in the semis. I was nervous after seeing how well Berdy played against Nole. We know Berdy doesn't like to play Rafa, but I wonder if he will have a lot of confidence after beating Nole.

Rafa does need to improve the serving.

I love your optimism!

Nativenewyorker , 5/18/13 5:45 AM

Soo good to hear from you NNY ! Glad your assessment is similar to mine..nd yes i am optimistic rafa is going to beat berdych in 2

P.s,where is luckystar??!

vamosrafa , 5/18/13 12:50 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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