A match a lot tighter than many expected. Almagro had a blistering start, applying the correct tactics, Rafa a slow one, and it remained very very tight all along the way. Rafa eventually raised his level during the TBs, hence the result.
Kudos to Almagro for not
'bending over/trowing the towel' when it became very clear that the match wouldn't be going his way, whatever he tried out. Kept on fighting till the bitter (for him, that is
) end. I think he's grown a lot as a player, mostly mentally, and he'll be a genuine force to recon with in the near future.
Nadal isn't playing at his MC or RG 08 level, but he's still managed to escape every tight situation he's found himself in which is encouraging I guess
It's one of those things that defines the VERY great champions: even when playing subpar, still managing to pull out the victory, mostly because of being so fantastic on playing the Big Points. Well done, Rafa!
Still can't imagine anyone stopping him except for Soderling but there's no guarantee Soderling will get past Berdych who's been playing very well too.
If Soderling OR Berdych manage to keep up their level of playing, either one of them has a very good chance.
being the key word here, of course.