Observations from the latest Nole-Nadal clash

Discussion in 'Pro Match Results and Discussion' started by mcenroefan, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. mcenroefan

    mcenroefan Hall of Fame

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    Observations from the latest episode of Nole-Nadal:

    In sum, Nole is the better player and has been the better player for the last few years.

    Reasons for his superiority over Rafa:
    1. Return of Serve: This is one of the primary reasons for his dominance. Nole has developed one of the best ROS in the history of the sport. Thus, when they both bring their A-Games, Nadal will always struggle more than Nole to hold serve. One interesting stat from today’s match is that Nadal had a 71% first serve percentage and still lost the match is straights.
    2. Serve vs serve: I will give a slight edge to Nole here although I think Rafa’s serve is looking better than ever.
    3. Ground strokes and stroke patterns: Again, Nole is simply superior here in virtually every facet. Nole really doesn’t have a weak stroke and Nadal’s BH is a hindrance when playing Nole. Rafa has done a good job of improving his inside out FH in order to counter the usual patterns that Nole brings against him but it hasn’t been enough b/c, in the end, Nole can still get to Rafa’s BH enough to cause problems.
    4. Nole’s ability to take it on the rise and go offensive: Although Nole generally prefers the longer rallies (he won approx. 2/3 of all rallies over 10 strokes today), when his energy is lagging, he can step into the court and hit outright winners with greater consistency than Rafa. In fact, I think this is a vastly underutilized area of Nole’s game in general. He plays too defensively for his talent.

    What can Rafa do:
    1. Endurance: Hope that he can extend the match and get to Nole’s legs: This is the only area in which I would give an edge to Nadal. He has greater stamina than Nole.
    2. Take a few more balls on the rise and run around more BH’s to hit the FH: I think Nadal has started to make this adjustment but it wasn’t enough today. Watch the point at 2-3, Love-15 on Rafa's serve in the 2nd set for a good example of a winning pattern for Rafa.

    Areas in which they are close to equal:
    1. Will to win: Nadal owns this category against most players but I think Nole is neck and neck with him at this point
    2. Court Coverage: I think Nole is slightly better here at this point but it is very close

    What Rafa can’t change:
    1. The overall dominance of Nole’s ROS
    2. The fact that Nole has less holes in his groundstrokes than Rafa

    Can Rafa still beat Nole? Absolutely……whenever he can get to Nole’s legs or his form on the day is a level or two above Nole’s form. Also, if Rafa can continue with his adjustment of stepping into the Court and hitting the inside-out FH, that may change the overall patterns of their matches.

    Most interesting aspect to the coming year from my perspective: What will happen between Murray and Nadal when they happen to meet in a big match. Can Murray turn the mental tide and reverse Nadal's recent dominance in their match-up. A rested Nadal vs. a new crowned GS champion....could be fun to watch.

    Summary: A very enjoyable match between two great champions.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
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  2. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    The ROS of killed Rafa today. It's the weakest part of game.
     
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  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Should Nadal retire?
     
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  4. axel89

    axel89 Banned

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    wrong forum again lol
     
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  5. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Nope. He's got a few years of top level tennis left. He'll bounce back. He should only retire if he can't settle for being #2 ;)
     
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  6. ctoth666

    ctoth666 Professional

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    My observation is this: I thought Djokovic was going to win, actually, based on what I saw in the quarters and semi's. But Nadal did not play at a high level, and I felt that he was far from his clay court best. Perhaps a lack of match play against top level competition? I'm not sure, but presumably Nadal's level will rise and he will be the favorite at the French Open. Obviously, Nadal and Djokovic will have a rematch before he FO, and that will be a much better indication of form.
     
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  7. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

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    The thing about Djokovic is that when he gets broken, he breaks right back. Anybody not notice how often he does this against Nadal? :-?
     
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  8. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    He can only do this when Rafa hits short. Otherwise, he is by far the less aggressive of the two. Djokovic's bread and butter is retrieval and baseline grinding. He's not an aggressive player and is not an all courter. He can only do it when people give him short balls.

    You even saw it in this match, the moment Rafa started to find depth on his shots, it was time for Novak to do the splits and block/flick back balls on the run.

    If you want to see solid aggressive baseline play against Rafa you have to check out Davydenko, he has the mentality to go for his shots rally after rally and come in on deep balls. I don't see Novak able to do that as it doesn't play to his strengths.

    Was a good match overall and Novak played to his strengths, retrieval, return of serve and consistency.
     
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  9. OddJack

    OddJack Legend

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    The observations you provide are ok, but not new.

    Some are wrong. Like when you say "Nadal get to Nole legs" That hasnt happened, will not happen. Rafa is the one doing most of the running because Nole is dominating the rallies.

    Djok won most of the rallies with 10 shots or more. That means he not only defends better but also Nadal has nothing to hurt Djok with. How can get to his legs then?

    Do you remember any points in the match that Nadal was able to break Novak Backhand? maybe NONE.
     
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  10. corners

    corners Legend

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    The low bounce on the wet court was the biggest factor today. As usual, people overreact and draw too many conclusions based on the outcome of one single match. Next match could be very different.

    Clearly Djoker has the edge on the return of serve, and his backhand is so good that he takes away the usual crosscourt advantage that Rafa enjoys so much against other players. To my mind, those are the only points I'd agree with strongly from the OP's list. In other areas the two players are pretty equal. Rafa's forehand is significantly better than Nole's, but Djoker handles it better than most players because of his very strong forehand grip (and the high natural contact point that it gives him) and his incredibly solid backhand. But again, the low bounce today made it easy for Nole to step in and play close to the baseline today. Had the bounce been higher I think the rallies would have been more even.

    But in general it looked a lot more like Djoker vs. Nadal 2011 than 2012. That might continue into their next match, but might not. Let's just wait and see. These matches are all very close, and the second set could easily have gone to Rafa. The conditions suited Djoker better today and he was clearly in better form than Rafa was. Next time the situation could be the opposite.
     
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  11. Start da Game

    Start da Game Professional

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    you missed the most important observation, bro......the surface was not clay today......it was damp mud.......that is the sole reason why nadal lost......the dampness held the surface firm and allowed novak the gripping he enjoys......

    djokovic, a player with severe movement issues on the real dried out clay, beating nadal at montecarlo of all places, that too in straight sets.......you know something was wrong.......
     
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  12. Mighty Matteo

    Mighty Matteo Semi-Pro

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    Nadal did not play aggressively enough. If he had, he would have won the match. Whenever Nadal is ahead in the point on clay, it is almost impossible for the defender to get back into the point. The points in the match where he was the one dictating play was when he was the most successful. He was letting Djokovic move him side to side. He basically fed Djokovic approach shots.
     
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  13. shaysrebelII

    shaysrebelII Semi-Pro

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    Severe movement issues? Sure, he's behind Nadal in terms of clay court movement, but he's the second best clay courter in the world (and has been for several years now) and has the best all-around movement in the game.
     
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  14. Start da Game

    Start da Game Professional

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    his movement is garbage on clay.......he slips a lot, has no control on the slide or balance, struggles to change direction and loses footing whenever he tries.......struggles even against the likes of seppi and wawrinka on clay.......

    just watch him play nadal on the actual clay next time.......the damp conditions today provided novak exactly what he wanted.......good footing throughout the match and slow conditions which enable him to stand and deliver sledgehammer blows with his backhand.......

    no other way was nadal going to lose a montecarlo final in straight sets.......
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
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  15. Start da Game

    Start da Game Professional

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    i am never butthurt......as a fan i take his losses equally.......i am just explaining why he lost......this is not an excuse but a reason why he lost.......there is no excuse for any loss in which he was fit.......
     
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  16. OddJack

    OddJack Legend

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    Disagree. Damp, if it was as you say, makes it even slower, which is advantage Nadal.

    "....the dampness held the surface firm and allowed novak the gripping he enjoys.."? And how is that nadal cant enjoy that??

    Whats gripping is the delusion some Nadal fans have, that " there is always a reason not related to Nadal when he loses and if it is related to him then it must be injury".
     
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  17. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    We'll see what the French Open holds when its for all the marbles. Until then who cares.

    What this match sums up.. Nadal played like crap through the whole tournament. Amazing he even made the finals
     
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  18. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    this is an absolutely pathetic joke .......... nole moves very well and slides very well on clay ...hell he slides a lot on HC itself, WTF makes you think he can't/doesn't slide well on clay .......

    his movement in weakness to an extent is on grass, not on clay , yet he beat nadal comfortably on grass in wimbledon 2011 ..:lol:

    face it, fact is joker beat nadal in straights ...deal with it ...........

    says a lot about CC GOAT nadal if djoker can go on a run of 8 games vs him in damp conditions ( RG 2012 ) and now the first few games here ........can't even adjust to the conditions even on his fav surface , they have to be picture perfect for precious rafa ........ bah !
     
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  19. OddJack

    OddJack Legend

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    True, one of very few who consistently is able to slide on hard courts. His athleticism if not better is up there with Monfils.
     
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  20. Talker

    Talker Hall of Fame

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    If Djokovic can straight set Nadal at MC he can beat him anywhere.
    This has to play on Nadal's mind, losing one of his most cherished events to his biggest rival.

    Nadal knows that Djokovic is taking quite a bit away from him, 3 slams and now working on clay masters.

    Clay was Nadal's refuge for so long and Djokovic is not going anywhere.
    It should be interesting from here on out.
     
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  21. Start da Game

    Start da Game Professional

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    the only joke here is you.......sliding on hardcourts is not the same as sliding on clay.......did you ever step on a tennis court?

    sliding, stopping and changing direction on a hardcourt is not the same as doing it on a clay court.......on hardcourt you have good traction, allows you to control your "stopping and changing direction" better.......

    on clay, sliding is easier but stopping and changing direction is not as easy as the traction under the feet is much lower......just look at this video, how your own favourite made a joke of djokovic's movement on the surface......watch at 0:11 seconds, the first joke.......

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re28GmCO5cY
     
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  22. djokovic2008

    djokovic2008 Hall of Fame

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    Look no one is buying what your selling as everyone on here and in tennis knows Djoker is an aggressive baseline player hence his success on all surfaces, you really need to watch more closely.
     
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  23. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    He would have to be lucky to attain even a sniff of ever again being ranked any better than number three in my opinion because the days of his ranking being annually able to cash in on a guaranteed victory at the French every year seem numbered at this point, and if he's not winning there, then where else would he be winning enough to keep his ranking at fourth or better? We'll see how Roland Garros 2013 goes. I predicted before last year's tournament that Rafa would lift the Coup Musketeers only twice more in his career. . .I just don't see him winning there past 2014 but it's possible that he already is done winning titles there judging how Novak today straighted Rafa on red clay at a venue where Rafa hadn't lost in eight years.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
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  24. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Talk Tennis Guru

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    I can't wait to see the next 2 masters and FO. How will Rafa respond?
     
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  25. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Depends if he has to face Djokovic in the quarters ;)
     
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  26. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Talk Tennis Guru

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    You guys that keep saying that might be the ones ending up in misery if it happens. The odds don't look great for u.
     
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  27. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    No, not amazing considering that Novak is the only one who can really beat Nadal on clay and make you feel like he didn't get lucky or have to redline to do it.

    It's certainly not as amazing as you think it is.
     
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  28. monfed

    monfed Guest

    The odds didn't look great this morning either,MichaelRalph, but what happened? :lol:
     
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  29. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    Maybe, but right now the odds are not great for Nadal given what we have to go on so far. I am right am I not?
     
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  30. dudeski

    dudeski Hall of Fame

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    whats with all the ..... do you have an OCD like Nadal?
     
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  31. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

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    #31
  32. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I'm only messing with you. Part of me wants Federer to draw Nadal in his quarter, I have some faint hope Nadal won't have his best form by then...

    Would be pretty dramatic for Nadal to meet Djokovic in the final, one year later coming back from his injury etc...I think Djokovic will have his number from now onwards though. Nadal has 3 tournaments to get into grandslam winning shape, he's not there yet.

    Edit: Nadal seemed upbeat, good for him. He's only just comeback, could just be a minor setback in the long run.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
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  33. Feather

    Feather Hall of Fame

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    I don't want that. I don't want to see Roger lose 360 points. I want Djokovic and Nadal to be in the same half or quarter
     
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  34. mariecon

    mariecon Hall of Fame

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    Bingo. You hit the nail on the head. Always lame excuses.
     
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  35. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I'm fool, I still think Federer can do it. I want him to do it! Rogers need to be in fantastic form though, Nadal off his game.
     
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  36. mariecon

    mariecon Hall of Fame

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    not only Djoker but other players now see Nadal's vulnerability on clay and will no doubt try to capitalize on that. Nadal's days at RG are numbered. I would be surprised if he wins it this year.
     
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  37. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    #37
  38. TheF1Bob

    TheF1Bob Banned

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    1) Rafa never admits his opponent is better than him because he is a loser.

    2) The match was never in his racket.

    3) You are butthurt.

    8)
     
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  39. Beacon Hill

    Beacon Hill Professional

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    Just curious why you started a new thread to express your observations. Isn't that what everyone else was doing in the original thread about the match?
     
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  40. shaysrebelII

    shaysrebelII Semi-Pro

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    Lucky for us both, they've played on 'actual' clay before. The Rome 2011 final featured Djokovic doing pretty much whatever he wanted and moving *better* than Nadal, on clay that was perfectly normal, if memory serves.
     
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  41. Rocky89

    Rocky89 Professional

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    What's there to be butthurt about? Nadal has won this tournament 8 times in a row.

    Djokovic was the better player, but you can't deny the fact that Nadal hasn't been playing well all tournament. He has been producing a Tsonga like tally of UE's and that made a big difference in the final. I agree with Nadal that he still needs conditioning and he can still improve.

    I think if Nadal was playing at his peak levels the loss would have affected him a lot more, he was gracious with his loss I thought.
     
    #41
  42. dgbeclih600

    dgbeclih600 Rookie

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    Im glad nadal lost today that goes to show that ne needs to work on his game, hes been playijng the same game since ever. now that novak is stepping up his game on clay its gonna make things much harder for nadal to win slams or clay masters. im still gonna wait till madrid and rome escpecially rome becuase that will tell us where everyones game is for the french IMO. if rafa is seeded 5th for the french i think he will be in the fed half other side of djokovic, its gonna be a novak-nadal final at least i hope it will.
     
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  43. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    He has a bullzilla type OCD, he just swapped brakets for ....
     
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  44. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    Funny how whenever Nadal loses on clay, it's not the right type of clay... The court was fine.They even water clay courts as part of the maintainence so it being a bit damp is fine.
     
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  45. Rjtennis

    Rjtennis Hall of Fame

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    I think Rafa and Noles 1st serves are pretty similar in quality. Nole might be more aggressive with his but Nadal has some nasty lefty spin. I think Nole hits bigger second serves though. From the back of the court they are similar but nole is willing to hit flatter and be much more aggressive. Rafa has always hesitated to be aggressive when given the chance where Nole is more than comfortable going after it. Rafa always tries to out steady Nole and spends way to much energy running corner to corner just trying to be a backboard.
     
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  46. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    This match, as well as the one versus Tsonga, showed that Nadal is getting worse by the year at handling the short slice to his backhand. Similarly, more and more players are having success playing flat to his forehand.
     
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  47. spinovic

    spinovic Hall of Fame

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    Yeah...I'm not sure where this came from, but Nole has proven himself to be an iron man over the last 2+ years. Have we already forgotten his grinding, epic slam clashes against the very Nadal who needs to get to his legs. 5:53 (I believe) in Oz. So is Nadal's best hope to be able to extend and push the match past the 6 hour mark?

    That one confused me a little.

    The rest, I generally agree with. Return-of-serve, Rafa's backhand - those two things were on full display yesterday.

    At this point, Nole's best trumps Rafa's best - typically though, you don't play your best all the time, there are lapses. One of Rafa's trademarks is consistency - he needs to keep grinding and try to maintain that consistency so when Nole's level dips, he can capitalize. At this point, even on clay, I think Rafa is in the same boat as everyone else - they have to grind away and hope for something less than Djoker's best. However, Rafa on clay probably doesn't need nearly as much less as most players do.

    If Djokovic serves as well as he did yesterday, he will be very, very difficult to beat.
     
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