Rafael Nadal: Will Keep his Date on Sunday

Rafael Nadal Winning US Open Quarters in 2010

Two thoughts about the women semis:

First time Ive someone break so many strings and a coach had to get her the last racket, imagine if indeed she was coach less, she would have had to default because she had no schhhticks to play with on the second Friday in New York- Ms Z

And a point that Wally Masur made was very interesting and true, when you are under extreme pressure, you most fundamental liabilities come to the fore-front. Like in my case, since I drive my life based on what is efficient and what is not, when am pressed for time with a deadline, patience is the first thing that flies out of the window. I can dig in well and concentrate for more time, and cut through any whipped cream over an espresso. Its a strength, but it does not make one popular among people whom you work with. Venus' second hit is not technicaly sound, and hence each time when she is under extreme pressure, thats the first shot that lets her down (and it did last evening on Ashe, hope Nole does not suffer the same curse today).

As its always the case with Rafael Nadal, he has played (i.e. WILL'ED) himself into this tournament. The chips have fallen his way deservedly, he neither had to play Gulbis nor Murray. He had to handle Tobasco (Verdasco) instead, and he did with consummate authority.

For all of Federer's artisanship and elegance, Nadal looms ... and make no mistake, they both claim they are thinking about the semi-finals. But at some corner in their mind, they are thinking of each other, not much, but enough.

Rafa has handled the blustry conditions quite effectively as well. The most important thing when playing under windy conditions is not to get frustrated (admittedly easier said than done), and Nadal quite simply dug into another level of concentration in the quarterfinals against his compatriot, and left him high and dry in the end. He won the match as much as on court, as he did in his mind, and F'VED knew that too.

Thats the challenge in playing Nadal - sometimes when you are two sets down, you really can try hard, be ignorant and live in denial - but if your name is not Murray, Federer, Nole or Juan Martin - you re really thinking of 'how the hail am I gonna win one set, leave alone three against Rafa?'. More often than not the simple (and probably correct) answer is, 'Well, you cant'. And thats when you pack it in.

The military salute' Russian sent Nadal packing in 2006 at the Open, will that make a different tonight ?  Perhaps not. Rafa was still learning on how to play on hard courts back then, and its fair to say was not among the best five or six hard court players at that time.

Now he probably is, and added to that he has what we call as the 'X' factor. With Nadal, you can play him on clay, grass, plexicushion, deco-turf, bubble gum, tooth paste or even chocolate cake pasted surface ... you have to beat him, and he wont beat himself. And this time, Youzhny probably does not have enough in his fuel tank (thanks to Stan Wawrinka) to go the distance toe to toe with Rafa.

The mental intensity of Rafael at this stage in a tournament is nothing but staggering, he simply WILL "refuse to lose", the only way you can beat him is to blow him off Ashe, and Youzhny is the type of player who neither has the stamina nor the skill set to do that.

Pencil in Rafa, in three close sets ... he does not go AWOL on second Saturday's most times.

Our dream final beckons ... Is it Monday mornin already ?


--- Keep Rockin, Long John Silver

PS: A great article in New York Times, on Uncle Toni's influence on Rafael

1 comment:

  1. Veni, Vidi, Vici...[and as Anand once told me] Vamos Rafa...He played well; not great by his standards but nonetheless well. Regarding Sunday, what I wondering is Nole played a tough five setter against Rogi whereas Rafa simply polished off his opponent. Do you think this could affect Nole's chances of getting past Rafa in the final? I mean, Nole is not one of the fittest players on tour is he and he is definitely not Rafa who was able to successfully come through from two back-2-back five setters [OZ Open 2009] - at least that's what I feel - do you think Nole will be able to do the contrary? Because the momentum seems to be in Rafa's favour - he has not dropped a set so far in the tourney. You mentioned a "if" scenario of 55-45 in Rogi's favour. What are Nole's chances according to you?