I looked through the threads with his name in the title and I didn't see anything about his performance last night.
Was this your first time seeing him for a whole match?
It was for me and I'm still pretty excited that I finally got to see him after hearing about him for so long.
If you haven't had a lot of opportunities to see him, what did you think?
First, I noticed that he suffered from the same affliction I've seen in the less experienced men and women during this tournament. They were all kind of overwhelmed by the occasion, their opponents, and the stage. Then they seemed to find their footing later in the match. I thought Rafael started showing signs of life near the end of the first set which was earlier than I saw in the other "newbies".
Second, I remember seeing him in pictures and a couple of points from last year's USO. He seems to have put on some muscle. It's a great look. But, more importantly for his game, he'll be able to use that strength and height to bring his power game.
Third, I thought his serve was a glaring weakness. He looks like he's physically capable of bringing the heat, but, he hasn't needed it to be successful so far. I think it may be a technical matter that he may be able to fix with some attention. If he doesn't, he'll miss out on some cheap points and make himself a target for players to tee off and break him easily.
Fourth, he has every other shot in the book. He's really agile, he's not afraid of the net, and, once he gets to the net, he can volley.
I really like his FH and BH DTL - Sweet!
Fifth, his fire, passion, and intensity have not been overrated. I really like the fist pump with the skip/leap. It's a nice signature move.
I really hope he stays healthy and continues to play on all surfaces. Watching him last night was worth the wait.