Friday, 20 January 2017

Nadal looking sharp

Rafa Nadal played Marcos Baghdatis in the second night match on Day Four of the 2017 Aus Open.  Nadal had beaten Florian Mayer in straight sets in the first round and looked as sharp as he had been for some time.  Baghdatis led Mikhail Youzhny a set and 3-0 before the Russian retired.
The last time Rafa and Marcos played was in Stuttgart in 2015.  Before that was way back in 2011.

Set one began harmlessly enough, and only a Nadal forehand winner on game point for him to lead 1-0 gave real cause for early applause.
Baghdatis had many chances to hold in his first service game, until he finally did with his fourth attempt.

Nadal went to deuce three times in the third game, saved a break point, and eventually held serve, once more a forehand winner sealing the game. 2-1 for the ninth seed.
The potent Spanish forehand was on show in the fourth game when it set up a break point for Nadal on the Baghdatis serve.
A wayward shot from Marcos and the break came, Rafa now in charge 3-1.

Still not totally convincing, Nadal needed to save two break points on his third trip to the service line, but once he did he was impressive in dealing out a couple of winners to extend the lead to 4-1.  This soon developed into 5-1 when Baghdatis could only save two of three break points, a less than acceptable backhand the ultimate problem.

A momentum change late in the set saw Nadal broken and a solid serving display from Marcos to draw the scores closer together.  Rafa led 5-3 and still was serving for the set, but the outcome was no longer the certainty it had appeared a short time ago.

At 30-30 a Nadal ace gave him set point, and the next point confirmed it.  6-3.

The opening game of set two was drawn out with several game points wasted by Baghdatis.  Then forehand mistakes handed the break of serve to Nadal.
Another break in the third game, consolidated with a love game on serve from Nadal, and at 4-0 the set was virtually over.

Baghdatis held in the fifth game, but Nadal broke to take the set 6-1 and lead two sets to love.

Firing on all cylinders, Rafa served a love game to begin what he envisaged would be the final set.  Three clean winners and an ace was all it required.
Baghdatis took a bit longer but still did enough to draw level at 1-1.
Unforced errors again troubled Marcos in the fourth game, where he had to save four break points before eventually managing to reach 2-2.

He couldn't keep saving though, and in the sixth game, after retrieving 15-40 back to deuce, he double faulted on the next break point and Nadal led two sets to none and 4-2.

A love game from the Spaniard placed him a game away from third round action, and Marcos ensured that he would need to serve for that pleasure.

At 5-3 and 40-15, Nadal frittered away two match points.  However, an appropriate forehand winner at the next opportunity closed the door on Baghdatis 6-3 6-1 6-3.

Nadal into the final 32 and looking a serious chance to go well into week two.

No comments:

Post a Comment