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 Post subject: Rafael Nadal
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:50 pm 
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:bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:

That's one bow for each set he played tonight.

I've just watched one of the most extraordinary games of tennis! Rafa, the number 1 seed, played his countryman, Fernando Verdasco, seeded 14th, in the Australian Open Semi-final.

They played for five and a quarter hours, extraordinary tennis, unbelievable tennis, point for point, game for game, set for set.

Rafael Nadal(1) 6 6 7 6 6
Fernando Verdasco (14) 7 4 6 7 4

Rafa finally won on a fault on second serve by Verdasco.

First-class athletes who gave no quarter and played with impeccable sportsmanship! Absolutely magnificent tennis, with the audience on the edge of their seats and the commentators running out of superlatives.

I'm still pumped...can you tell? ;) It was absolutely thrilling! I don't know how they survive the tension, because it almost killed me. :P And I'm not even a big tennis fan...I only watch the Australian Open because it is on conveniently during this heat wave we're experiencing, when activity outdoors is lunacy.

So, did I mention that they played this magnificent game of tennis in heatwave conditions?

And Verdasco absolutely proved himself tonight - he's amongst the tennis greats now.

And Nadal was more than gracious in victory - he was humble, and relieved and gave his opponent due congratulations for testing him to his utter limit.

I am absolutely in awe of them both, but most especially...Rafael Nadal. I've never seen tennis played like this.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:40 pm 
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Impy, was the roof open? I can't imagine playing for that long in that heat.

Maybe the final against Federer will be even more epic.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:58 pm 
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V, they've closed the roof since the quarter finals, as far as I remember. Or the semi-finals. Should have done it sooner.
:P

Nadal is quite incredible. Federer looks like he is on his way out.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:29 pm 
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I predict that Federer will win.

(And Serena Williams.)

Edit: I moved this to the correct forum, but left a shadow.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:40 pm 
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Really? Should be interesting. I was quite upset when he lost the big W. last year... that was his turf.

The Williams sisters are quite interesting - just as people write them off, they come back. Again and again. I like Venus more, though. Just because.

corrected for wrong trivia. :oops:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:18 am 
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I am a huge tennis fan and I have to admit I haven't seen a single match of the Australian Open! :oops:

I have to agree with Mahima, I like Federer but he is on his way out. To win his match againts Nadal he has to ace all his serves. Once a rally starts he can't cope up with Nadal, IMHO. Federer is a good server. Nadal is very good in working the court.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:26 am 
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Mahima wrote:
corrected for wrong trivia. :oops:


Yes, Roger did win the U.S. Open last year. And while he is on the downside of his career, he still has enough to beat Nadal on the hard court surface of the Australian Open. I'll be glad if he can win two more majors, as I think he would be a much more worth holder of the record than Pete Sampras (who I never liked much). I don't think he'll ever win the French to complete a "career Grand Slam" though, although I do think that Nadal will eventually achieve that.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:30 am 
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Federer will also have the advantage of being rested. Nadal really had a very gruelling, long match in extreme heat and recovery from that is not easy, even for the supremely fit.

Federer played his semi very well; Nadal has been through the fire. We'll see who's hungriest, I think.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:01 am 
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Oh, and the roof was (and is today) open. The women's final will be open and, unless the temperature again soars (it is under 40! woot!) then the men's will also be open roof.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:21 am 
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Thanks, Imp. That's what I thought. I heard that the heat wave eased up a bit, thankfully.

It should be a great match. True Federer is more rested, but Nadal should have enough time to recover. After all, he is in excellent shape, and is a suberb athlete. I agree that it will come down to who wants it more. And I think it will be Federer, because he has the opportunity to make history. But we'll see!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:17 pm 
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I see that Serena made the first part of my prediction come true, but that was the easy call. When she is on her game, she is unbeatable (probably by most professional male players, even).

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:20 pm 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
It should be a great match. True Federer is more rested, but Nadal should have enough time to recover. After all, he is in excellent shape, and is a suberb athlete. I agree that it will come down to who wants it more. And I think it will be Federer, because he has the opportunity to make history. But we'll see!


That's what I was discussing with R yesterday. We re-hashed our memories of the U.S. open and agreed that one of the reasons Federer won was to get his 5th title and match the 1920s record. He'll want his 14th slam title really badly for the same reason.

Interesting trivia: between the two of them - Federer and Nadal have won 13th of the last 14 grand slam titles.

Everyone, I guess, now recalls Djokivic as the only exception - in the Aussie Open 2008.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:21 pm 
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Impenitent wrote:
Oh, and the roof was (and is today) open. The women's final will be open and, unless the temperature again soars (it is under 40! woot!) then the men's will also be open roof.


WHY??

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:57 pm 
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The umpire calls it; if he/she considers that the temperature is acceptable, the roof is open. I think they've called it well this year - the players have been satisfied, in any case.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:02 pm 
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Wasn't there one match of Sarina's that they needed to interrupt in order to close the roof?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:28 pm 
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Yes, earlier in the week.

One has to keep in mind that the Australian Open is supposed to be an outdoor tournament. The closed roof is a concession to the possibility of extreme conditions.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:28 pm 
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Quote:
The top-seeded Nadal beat Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2 Sunday at Rod Laver Arena.


And that's that.

Federer will have to wait to try and match Sampras. Am surprised by the three low-scoring sets.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:40 pm 
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The morning after and I have to declare that was one of the most magnificent tennis matches I've seen in more than 30 years of watching tennis.

The sheer brilliance of the tennis played by Nadal and Federer last night cannot be over-stated. They both came out so hungry - Federer to win his 14th major title to meet Sampras' record and recapture the Number 1 seeding, and Nadal to win his first Australian open. Nadal was also carrying the fatigue of his epic five hour match less than 48 hours before. Nadal won a fierce, gruelling battle, as each champion fought for every single point and the momentum swung back and forth.

Federer showed his class, although his cool detachment slipped now and then as his frustration broke through. Nadal demonstrated once again, and decisively, that he is the most ferocious competitor in tennis. He is absolutely predatory on court! His mental strength never wavered, not once in the more than 4 hours. Federer lost the faith, I think, watching Nadal on the other side of the net, brushing aside the discomfort of fatigue in a display of unparalleled physical dominance. There was no gamesmanship, no bravado. The older man was playing desperate tennis in the end, taking risks to get behind Nadal, but he was just pounded by the sheer power - and, it has to be said - by the mental strength and focus of the Number 1. In that final set, the result became self-evident. Nadal controlled the play completely. Federer could not win.

The crowd was very generous, lifting Federer in a wave of affectionate support when he broke down and cried at the presentation, unable to speak. He was generous, ceding the brilliance of the young victor, but the pain of loss - not just the loss of this title, but the loss of his dominance in the game - was obvious.

Nadal was humble, gracious. Holding the cup against himself, he embraced Federer in an act of gratitude before he spoke a word. Before he said anything else, he apologised to Federer and the crowd and lauded Federer in full measure. In some ways, it was a bitter-sweet experience for him. Doubtless he wanted to bask in his incredible win, but Federer's sense of loss dominated the presentation ceremony. Hard to bask, when the MC has just announced that Federer is without a doubt 'our favourite tennis player' and 'if Australia could adopt anyone, we would adopt Roger Federer'.

I don't know that Federer can regain his former dominance; Nadal has now beaten him on all three surfaces - clay, grass, hard court. There will be deep scars to overcome whenever he faces the Spaniard on the other side of the net.

I know some of you don't like Nadal, but all that personal stuff aside, I hope you can admit his incredible talent. I'm so glad that I was able to see this game - one of the best finals in tennis history and, for Nadal, a marathon, unparalleled achievement.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:37 pm 
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That's a great report, Imp! Thanks.

I was surprised to see you say that you thought some here don't like Nadal; I don't recall seeing anyone say that. I certainly think he is a very impressive young man, and I wouldn't at all be surprised to see HIM threatening Sampras' (or Federer's if he gets there) major record.

It's even possible that he could do the impossible, and win a grand slam in one year, equally the achievement of the great Rod Laver, the only man to do that (and he did it twice!). That would be something.

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