The score is misleading... Rafa was just bored out of his mind for 4 games Seriously, impossible to tell anything definitive from this match, but the courts seemed to suit him fine and he's hitting the ball MUCH better than during last year's Open already. Some of those forehands (like the 2nd to last point) were And he played a stunning JesusFed(Rafa) point which ended with a lob in that third set
Nadal seemed to be very confortable in this court. And yes, hard to be 100% focused in a match like this, that's the only reason Rochus could hold serve a few times.
Past years Rafa wasn't such a killer player in hardcourts, even with such inferior rivals he would never finish a match so quickly, due to less aggressive game he would spend 2 hours and end 63 64 63. If he wants to win a HC slam, he really needs to play like this. And he's #1, so he's supossed to play like this, with many more winners than his rival.
But let's see what happens when he faces real opposition.
Nadal career prediction: 6 RG, 2 Wimbledon, 1 Australian Open, 1 US Open, 2 Master Cup, 20 Master Series, 65 titles.
(Predicted before RG 2008 when he had 3xRG)
The inhabitants of the Balearic Islands are said to have been the inventors of slings, and to have managed them with surprising dexterity, owing to the manner of bringing up their children. The children were not allowed to have their food by their mothers till they had first struck it with their sling.
~Vegetius, De Re Militari, late 4th century
Nadal: the last Balearic Slinger, the ultimate product of natural selection. Feel the weight of the centuries in the Topspin from Hell!
The Top 100's Bagel Boy knew going into the match that he was going to be cannon fodder, and that is exactly what he was. It is not that he wasn't trying; he just already resigned in the fact that he would be demolished beforehand and it showed. Rochus really isn't someone to show a lot of smiles on court, so when he did it when winning his first game it was telling.
Nadal was impressive, but needs to wait until the 3R for at least some sort of opposition. If he meets counterpunchers without a big serve, without a lot of power and without a lot of variety to their game (Rochus and Karanusic both qualify for this description, IMO), he will breeze. If anything, I think losing four games is more than I expected. Would not have been shocked at all had this been a triple bagel.
Anyway, this should never have been a night match.