2009 Match of the Year: Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by CMM, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. CMM

    CMM Legend

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    The Tennistalk panel has voted and the writers have spoken. After an almost unanimous vote, the Australian Open semifinal between Nadal and Verdasco has been named the 2009 ATP Tour Match of the Year.

    It was the longest match in the history of the Australian Open.

    Longer than the Muller-Lopez first-round thriller that had initially been recorded at five hours and 35 minutes. Longer than Roddick-El Aynaoui in 2003. (For history buffs) Longer than Sampras-Mayotte in 1990 and Noah-Smith in 1988. Longer—just barely—than Becker-Camporese in 1991.

    After five hours and 14 minutes of inspirational tennis, Rafael Nadal outlasted fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-7(1), 6-4 in an epic semifinal on Friday night, January 30.
    It was not simply the longest match in tournament history. It was also, without question, one of the best.

    Refusing to wilt under the Australian summer heat or amidst the pressure of a Grand Slam semifinal, both competitors—remarkably—sustained a jaw-dropping level of tennis throughout all 314 minutes of their spirited, incredibly well-played clash.

    Verdasco, having never previously sniffed the final weekend of a Grand Slam, blasted 95 winners past Nadal. Has anyone ever—and I mean EVER—struck 95 shots within the lines yet beyond the reach of a player of Nadal’s defensive caliber?

    Nadal, meanwhile, fired more than twice as many winners (52) as unforced errors. The tournament’s No. 1 seed committed a mere 25 mistakes over the course of the entire match. For those counting, that means Nadal made one unforced error—just one—every 12 minutes and 34 seconds. Are you serious?

    Keep in mind, furthermore, that a significant percentage of the points consisted of marathon, hard-to-believe rallies. Only 33 points resulted in aces. Still, in brilliant fashion, Nadal and Verdasco combined for 46 more winners than errors.

    They played 59 games and 385 points. Prior to the 385th and final point of the instant classic, it was all even: Nadal 192, Verdasco 192.

    A heavy underdog against an opponent whom he had never defeated in six career attempts, Verdasco went toe to toe with Nadal until the very last second. Serving to stay alive at 4-5 in the fifth set, Verdasco saved two match points at 0-40 and 30-40, both with swinging volley winners.

    "In the last game, at 0-40, I started to cry," Nadal explained afterward. "It was too much tension."

    And he was right. It was too much.

    At long last, on match point number three, Verdasco finally cracked. A double-fault brought an end to the gut-wrenching drama. When it ended, of course, the two players collapsed to the ground simultaneously; one in the joy of victory, one in the agony of defeat, both in physical and mental exhaustion.

    "I lost after five hours, but I need to be proud for the level I played today," said a valiant Verdasco. "It was an unbelievable match. We both played unbelievable. I’m so proud. For sure I will have this match in my mind all my life."

    "Today was one of those matches you're going to remember a long time," Nadal concluded.

    Amen to that.

    http://www.tennistalk.com/en/news/20091217/2009_Match_of_the_Year:_Rafael_Nadal_vs._Fernando_Verdasco
     
    #1
  2. bolo

    bolo G.O.A.T.

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    Imo it was the highest quality match from this past year. I think Federer/Delpo FO was probably the 2nd best. Have to rewatch the FO match at some point.
     
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  3. Chadwixx

    Chadwixx Banned

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    Two guys who couldnt win a single match at the yec? No thanks.

    "For those counting, that means Nadal made one unforced error—just one—every 12 minutes and 34 seconds. Are you serious?"

    One every four points?
     
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  4. CMM

    CMM Legend

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    Two guys and neither one of them is called Federer? How dare they?
     
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  5. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    gotta agree with these points...

    (but dont get used to it!)
     
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  6. OddJack

    OddJack Legend

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    Yes, that's my choice for the best match of the year too. They both were on their last leg at the end but it was Verdasco who quit diggin. Double fault to give it away was not the way to finish it, but great match all the way.
     
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  7. TheMusicLover

    TheMusicLover Legend

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    Seeing where this comes from, I'd say, no surprise. Twas a very good match though, but the best? questionable. 'Longest' does not per sé equal 'best'.
     
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  8. cellofaan

    cellofaan Semi-Pro

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    One every 15.4 points
     
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  9. Blinkism

    Blinkism Legend

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    It was a great match. High-quality and full of drama. Not to mention the fact that it was such a emotional roller coaster for the fans and that it was a pretty long 5 setter full of amazing rallies between these two lefties and great serving from both for most of the match.

    Add the fact that both were fighting for their first ever Australian Open final, both are the Top 2 players from Spain, and both are quite charismatic on court (very vocal celebrators of points)- and the fact that where Nadal played amazing defense, Verdasco picked it up with amazing offense- and you get the recipe for a classic match.

    My vote for best match of 2009, for sure.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009
    #9
  10. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Haha. Some of their matches can be debated as the WORST match of the year.
     
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  11. CMM

    CMM Legend

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    I totally agree. Unfortunately, the ATP people who chose the Wimbledon final as the best match of the year do not know this...
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009
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  12. T1000

    T1000 Hall of Fame

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    Great match, unfortunately it had to end on another Verdasco choke. If Verdasco lost after putting the serve in play I would easily vote for it but unfortunately he had to double fault. I thought Dent-Navarro was a better match, then again I enjoy serve and volley fests more than baseline bashing for 5 hours
     
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  13. Dilettante

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    For me, that was the match of the year, no question.
     
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  14. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Verdasco always had problem with the 2nd serve. As evidence once again at the WTF.
     
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  15. flyinghippos101

    flyinghippos101 Legend

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    People, that Aussie Open final was THE best match of the year. The shotmaking during that match was unbelievable
     
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  16. P_Agony

    P_Agony Banned

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    It was a very good match, very intense, great shotmaking from both guys, it ended with a DF which is a shame, but it was such a great effort from Verdasco and such a strong mental display from Nadal.
    I liked some matches better, but this one is for sure one of the best.
     
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  17. mandy01

    mandy01 G.O.A.T.

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    For me,its the Wimbledon match.
     
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  18. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    Definetly is one of the best matches this yar, just makes me more pumped for Ausssie 2010. Since a lot of uspets happen and with matches of these caliber. (I.E Tsonga Semis 2008, Verdasco-Nadal thriller 2009, 2005 Marat and Federer semi and etc.) This one takes the cake but I would like to say that 2009 Madrid semis was just as good as this in terms of quality of play and tension!
     
    #18
  19. Claudius

    Claudius Professional

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    I don't disagree.
     
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  20. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Yep for me too! a classic, had all the shots.
     
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  21. ronalditop

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    Lol at the longest match. Every match where Nadal plays is going to be long no matter what. He wastes time like no other player.
     
    #21
  22. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    I suppose that's why the RG final 2008 lasted so long...
     
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  23. CMM

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  24. clayman2000

    clayman2000 Hall of Fame

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    Without a doubt the highest quality of tennis for 5 sets this year.
    I woke up to watch this match at 3:30 in the morning, and I was wide awake the whole time. This is impressive considering I couldnt stay awake for the Roddick match
     
    #24
  25. 2slik

    2slik Semi-Pro

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    I think Jim courier suggested they were both doping
     
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  26. bolo

    bolo G.O.A.T.

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    don't believe it. courier's way too smart for that. Do you have any cites?
     
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  27. bolo

    bolo G.O.A.T.

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    lol. 10 char. :)
     
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  28. ChanceEncounter

    ChanceEncounter Professional

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    May be true, but it doesn't mean that the match itself wasn't a great one, because it was.
     
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  29. JeMar

    JeMar Legend

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    Taylor Dent and Ivan Navarro were robbed.
     
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  30. Dgpsx7

    Dgpsx7 Professional

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    #30
  31. FedSampras1

    FedSampras1 Rookie

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    And he is right :evil:
     
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  32. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

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    Not the best match. I'll go with Wimby or the FO where Nadal got his butt kicked before I'll go with the AO semi.
     
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  33. CMM

    CMM Legend

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    [​IMG]
     
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  34. Teamtomo

    Teamtomo Semi-Pro

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    #34
  35. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

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    The Dent-Navarro match was the best match of the year IMO, a lot faster pace, more action.
     
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  36. prattle128

    prattle128 Semi-Pro

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    Completely agree, I remember watching that match, and my mouth was open the entire freaking time. Unbelievable match, so glad I watched it.
     
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  37. prosealster

    prosealster Professional

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    i agree...best match of the year for me
     
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  38. aphex

    aphex Banned

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    how long was it without the buttpicking?
     
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  39. aphex

    aphex Banned

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    i guess verdasco's "juice" ran out faster...
     
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  40. CMM

    CMM Legend

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    Maybe Jenny will tell us.
     
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  41. Davy_for _GOAT

    Davy_for _GOAT Banned

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    Nostalgic for S&V or just dislike grinders?

    The only match that came close was Fed-Roddick but that was a serving contest most of the time.
     
    #41
  42. JeMar

    JeMar Legend

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    Neither, but I just think that match had everything. Dent and Navarro had plenty of well-played baseline rallies AND tons of points that finished at the net. It takes more skill to make a play on a dipping pass than it does to hit the 4th cross court forehand of a rally.

    How often do you see a guy serve and volleying at the same time his opponent chips and charges, both players ending with a fast-paced volley exchange at the net? It happened several times during that match!
     
    #42
  43. Davy_for _GOAT

    Davy_for _GOAT Banned

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    I'm not really a huge fan of that type of tennis, but even I found it awesome. Still, they are not ranked high enough to have THE best match of the year. (What were their rankings anyway?). What happened when Dent came up against Murray the next round?

    But Nadal and Verdasco was 5 sets of superb ball-striking from top players, and it lasted for 5 full sets (except for the last point choke from the choker).

    And I think the best match of 2009 should be the match that reflects the style of play of 2009.
     
    #43
  44. Dutch-Guy

    Dutch-Guy Legend

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    I agree,followed by Nadal vs Djokovic in Madrid,which was one of the best 3 setters i've ever seen.
     
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  45. DownTheLine

    DownTheLine Hall of Fame

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    You didn't catch the point...
     
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  46. Toxicmilk

    Toxicmilk Professional

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    Definately in my top three...some amazing points int that match.
     
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  47. Dimension

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    Best match of the year in my book. And one of the top quality tennis matches of this decade and history.
     
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  48. jmnk

    jmnk Professional

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    although I was re-watching the Federer-Safin semi from 2005. I think that 2005 was better, maybe because we have never seen Safin compete like that again (or ever). I mean he missed two match points on his serve, one backhand cross, one down dtl by like a hair - not even a stare of the judge from him. Than he loses third match point on Federe's serve when he doesn't finish the point with federer at the net just begging to be finished off. And he still doesn't go into tanking node as he almost always does. He goes from being 5-2 up in the fifth to 5-all, than holds for 6-5 perhaps luckily as he gets the point when judge misses a call on his dtl backhand. But Federer holds and in the next game you can see Safin cracking, he is 0-30 down, than down break point and a second serve, with not a good body language at all. Than he has two more match points at 7-6 - still Federer saves those.
    I mean you almost wait till Safin just gives up - and he never did.
     
    #48
  49. Dimension

    Dimension Hall of Fame

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    That too was a fantastic match. It was great to see Safin pushing himself to the limit and got himself a victory, Safin's devastating backhand was definitely a great sight. However, I prefer the amazing display of shotmaking, trading shots and hustle in 2009 AO semi.
     
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