** Rafa in Dubai 2006 ** [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

** Rafa in Dubai 2006 **

02-26-2006, 09:03 AM
The Marseille thread worked really well (:hug: lilfairyprincess) so I thought it would be good to have a separate one for the Dubai tournament as well.

Picture from the official site (http://www.dubaitennischampionships.com/index.htm):

http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/3585/layout065it.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

This week Rafa is playing both singles (draw ( http://www.dubaitennischampionships.com/mds.htm)) and doubles with Feli Lopez (draw ( http://www.dubaitennischampionships.com/mdd.htm)).

The tournament is broadcast by these TV stations (info from official site ( http://www.dubaitennischampionships.com/details.htm)):

ATP Television Coverage
Channel Territory
Dubai Sports Channel Middle East and North Africa
Eurosport Pan Europe :woohoo:
Ten Sports India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sir Lanka, Bangladesh
Enjoy TV Latin America (excluding Brazil)
New TV Middle East and North Africa
Reuters TV News Global
UBC Supersports Thailand
Starhub Singapore
Sports i Japan
Sky Sports New Zealand
SBS Satellite Korea
Astro Malaysia
Madison China
TVB Hong Kong
ShowTime Middle East and North Africa
Supersports Pan African including South Africa

Best of luck, Rafa!

02-26-2006, 09:03 AM
I'll start us off with some articles from the official website.

Young Stars To Light Up Dubai Tennis Championships

Nadal and Sharapova ready to turn on the magic in Dubai

Dubai, UAE, Tuesday, January 17, 2006: Dubai tennis fans will have the chance to see the brightest young stars in the sporting world for themselves when teenage sensations Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova compete at the Dubai Tennis Championships next month.

Nadal and Sharapova join a stellar cast of Grand Slam champions, including Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Marat Safin, Lindsay Davenport, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Venus and Serena Williams when play gets underway at the Dubai Tennis Stadium on February 20th.

Nadal's unique white pantaloons marked him out as a front-runner in the fashion stakes, and as he backed up his dashing good looks with sensational skills on the court, no player drew as much acclaim as that generated by the Spanish conquistador during the past 12 months.

Still only 19, he managed to go head-to-head with Federer in winning the biggest tournament crowns, capturing a teenage record 11 titles, including his first Grand Slam - the French Open on his debut at Roland Garros - and four ATP Masters Series events.

The number of titles he won broke Mats Wilander's previous teenage record of nine set in 1983. Co-incidentally, he also became the first player to win the French Open on his debut since Wilander in 1982. He was also the first teenager to win a Grand Slam title since Pete Sampras captured the 1990 US Open.

Not only that, he became the first teenager to finish the year ranked number two since the great Boris Becker in 1986. And although he won eight of his 11 titles on clay and compiled an ATP Tour-best 50-2 clay court record during the year, he was also able to claim victories on hardcourts in Montreal and Beijing, and indoors in Madrid.

"Rafael Nadal had a very impressive year in 2005 and he will undoubtedly be looking to go further than his Dubai quarter final appearance two years ago," said Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free, owners and organisers of the event.

"He joins a wonderful line-up of players this year and having young stars such as Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova has added even more excitement to this unique event."

"Both players are among the biggest names, not to mention entertainers, in the tennis world and we can't wait to see them in action in Dubai."

While Nadal attracted the attention of the fashion editors as well as the tennis magazines, he was more than matched in that department by striking blonde Maria Sharapova, who won her opening game on Monday at the Australian Open against German Sandra Kloesel 6-2 6-1.

Her glamorous good looks have not only led to a mass of endorsement deals, but her signing with IMG Models and two appearances in Vogue Italia. One of her sponsors, Motorola, designed a mobile phone especially for her, and after she used one of the phones on a trip to Japan it was auctioned for charity and raised nearly 1 million Yen. That's around $7500, or Dhs 27,547.50.

Her 10 singles titles so far, including Wimbledon and the season-ending WTA Championships, have led to her being nominated for the prestigious Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award in 2005 and also for the Laureus World Newcomer of the Year Award in 2004.

In July last year she was listed in Forbes magazine as the richest female athlete in the world, named as one of People magazine's '50 Most Beautiful People' in 2005, and she became the first tennis player in over two years to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

It is natural for great sporting occasions and glamour to come together in Dubai, and the Dubai Tennis Championships will present the best of both worlds.

The Dubai Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and takes place under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The Dubai Tennis Championships has won a total of 12 ATP/WTA awards. These include the Tournament of the Year award from the WTA in 2001 following the inaugural Dubai Duty Free Women's Open, and the equivalent award from the ATP in 1998, 2003 and 2004 for the Dubai Duty Free Men's Open.


Nadal Ready To Turn On The Magic At Dubai Tennis Championships

Young Spaniard returns to Dubai a different player from two years ago

Dubai, UAE, February 13th, 2006: Rafael Nadal returns to the Dubai Tennis Championships this month as one of the biggest superstars in the game.

But it wasn't always so. When he first played in Dubai, two years ago, he was anonymous, a new kid on the block beginning to test his feet in the water with the big guys. It is doubtful that more than a few even remember watching him as he won his way through to the quarter-finals before losing to Russian Mikhail Youzhny.

But now, powerful and intense, the swashbuckling Spaniard is considered the heir apparent to Roger Federer for number one, even though he is still just 19 years old. He's an all-in package too, with his aggressive style combining with flowing hair and muscular build to make him the biggest pin-up in the game.

"It is incredible how fast Rafael has progressed in such a short period of time and we can't wait to see this young star back in Dubai and competing with the best players in the world for the Men's Open title," said Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free, owners and organisers of the event.

"He is true entertainer and fans will see a totally different player to the one who was here two years ago."

Nadal won his first singles title in 2004, but it was in 2005 that his career really took off. He had never played at Roland Garros except as a junior, but that didn't prevent him beating Federer in the semis and going on to claim the French Open title at his first attempt.

As well as that triumph, Nadal reached number two in the rankings, won 10 titles in addition to Roland Garros, including four Masters Series events. He was also a finalist at the Masters Series tournament in Miami, and he even had time to win the doubles title in Doha.

But his success as a sportsman might not come as such a huge surprise when you know that sporting excellence runs in his family. He is coached by one uncle, and another, Miguel Angel Nadal, is a former professional soccer player who played at FC Barcelona and Real Mallorca and played in the World Cup in 1994, 1998 and 2002.

Little-known by his real name of Rafael Nadal-Parera and nicknamed 'Rafa', the teenager remains modest about his achievements, and believes he will struggle to replicate his success in 2006.

"Well, I think this year is almost impossible to repeat," he said at the end of last season. "I'm going to start next year in high spirits, but without pressure because this has been an incredible year, a year to remember, to keep at home like a picture you hang on the wall. Next year, I'll try my best, knowing and being conscious that I cannot repeat this."

A foot injury cut his season short last year, and kept him out of the Australian Open. However, his time off could work in his favour when he arrives in Dubai fresh and rested after his enforced break from the game.

And to help prevent such an injury in the future, Nadal has been undergoing several biomechanical studies in Barcelona, working with a new shoe insole to release pressure on the area, and he recently travelled to the United States to meet with his shoe manufacturer so they could build a shoe especially for him.

As he returns to court in Dubai, he will face a formidable challenge as he bids for the title against three-time champion Roger Federer, tennis legend Andre Agassi, 2005 Australian Open champion Marat Safin and Davis Cup winner Ivan Ljubicic.

The Dubai Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and takes place at the Dubai Tennis Stadium from 20th February under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.


02-26-2006, 09:54 AM

02-26-2006, 10:36 AM
From inside-tennis.net (http://www.inside-tennis.net/index2.php?action=news&id=1325)

12:12pm, 26-02-2006

Nadal press conference

Here are some of the things Rafael Nadal had to say as he prepares to play here in Dubai: "This is one of the best tournaments, unbelievable players are here. This is good for Dubai, and good for tennis." "Federer is unbelievabe, best player now, one of the best in history. He is so far ahead of everyone now." "I feel good. Not yet at my best level after 3 months away. The matches in Marseille helped me build up my confidence. Now every tournament is important." "I always play 100%, but I feel good now, and I'm playing good" "I have new shoes, not the final version. It's not perfect, there are a few more details they need to work on." "I have a difficult match with Mathieu first round. Had a difficult match with him in Marseille." His response to the news that prize money for next year will go up 50% to $1,500,000. "Good! It is better! This is the biggest tournament apart from Masters Series and Grand Slam, no?" by Andre Jones (in Dubai)

Thanks for the tip, SLICK! :)

02-26-2006, 10:58 AM
Vamos Rafa :bounce:

02-26-2006, 01:57 PM
vamos rafa y ànimo !!!!!!!

i have great expectations for this tournament , the draw could have been worst for Rafa!!!!!!!!!!!

02-26-2006, 03:16 PM
Thanks mallorn :yeah: It is good to see he feel good enough again to play doubles. Let just cross our fingers and hope Rafa does not over do.

02-26-2006, 05:11 PM
Good luck Rafa :bounce:

02-26-2006, 05:34 PM
Thanks mallorn :hug:

I didnt know that rafa was playing doubles wif feli..i'm glad -unless it tires him out for his singles -cos it'll give him even more match practice.

hopefully rafa does even better here than what he did in marseille:bounce: but it is a really tough field in dubai this year so as long as he continues to improve for the two US MS events coming up it'll be a good tournament for him

vamos rafa :bounce:

02-26-2006, 06:08 PM
Rafa needs to play to regain his fitness , playing double is a good idea , specially with Feli ;) They know very well each other and they love playing together , they may play for the fun !!!!!!!!

02-26-2006, 10:54 PM

i think i might enter.....

VAMOS RAFA!!!! :worship:

02-27-2006, 12:17 AM
i won't be surprise if all the player won't go to the abierto mexicano next year :lol:

02-27-2006, 01:01 PM
A couple of articles about Rafa in Dubai:

Nadal practicing patience

February 27, 2006 11:19 IST

World number two Rafael Nadal is prepared to be patient in only his second tournament since recovering from a career-threatening foot injury.

The Spanish teenager is competing at the Dubai Open this week after losing in the semi-finals in Marseille earlier this month when he returned from almost four months out of the game.

Nadal acknowledges it may be some time before he can return to the level he reached last year when he won 11 titles including the French Open.

"I don't feel at my best level yet, but that's normal after not playing for three months," he said.

"In Marseille I won some matches and that was very important for my confidence, for my comeback. I don't feel pain in my foot. That's the most important thing."

Nadal does not intend to change the all-out aggressive style that has made him a huge crowd favourite, despite the risk of further injuries.

"My game is my game and it is not easy to change that," Nadal said. "I don't feel a lot of pressure on me now. For sure I want to play good, I want to win a lot of matches.

"But it's not easy when you've had no competition and been without play at the best level for three months.

"Now it's a comeback and I am very happy to still play. Every match is a special match for me."

While most of his rivals were playing at the Australian Open last month, Nadal visited the United States to help develop shoes that should prevent his injury occurring again.

"I flew from Mallorca to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Chicago, Chicago to Portland. I arrived at seven in the afternoon and went directly to do some tests on the foot," he said.

"I finished at 11 at night, had dinner and at six in the morning I went Portland to Chicago, Chicago to Munich, Munich to Barcelona, Barcelona to Mallorca.
"The shoe is not perfect yet. It's not the final version and there are a few more details to work on."
Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news?slug=reu-dubainadal&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Khaleej Times Online >> News >> SPORTS

Federer sees a tough draw

By Edwin Ashie-Nikoi

27 February 2006

DUBAI — Top seed Roger Federer of Switzerland, aiming for his fourth title here, says the draw is tough. The Swiss takes on countryman Stanislas Wawrinka in the first round before meeting local lad Omar Behroozian or Mohammed Al Ghareeb in the second.

But looking on his prospective clash against Behroozian or Al Ghareeb, Federer said: "It is great for both of them. It is better for them to meet in the first round than playing a top player."

Reminiscing on his comeback victory over Marcos Baghdati of Cyprus in the Australian Open, Federer said he played cautiously at the beginning. "He also coped well with the pressure." But losing the first set, according to the Swiss, gave him the chance to see how to react when down.

"I got my act together in the second and thank God, I got through, but it was not easy."

Federer admitted that though he took control in the fourth set, it was hard on him mentally.

Talking of pressure, the 24-year-old Swiss said: "Pressure is high in every tournament. I hope I can win here again. But all the players this year are also good.

Federer's priority is to stay as number one in the world. "I want to defend the titles I have won and to win those I have not." Federer was even surprised with the progress his countrywoman, Martina Hingis, has made on her comeback. "I am surprised how well she is playing. I think she is up there. I am very happy for her, that she is back," he added.

Federer so far ahead: Nadal

Second seed, Rafael Nadal of Spain, meanwhile, is hoping he could put in a good performance in his second tournament of the season.

The 19-year-old Spanish was dogged by foot injury and had been absent for almost three months. He played his first tournament in Marseille recently where he lost in the semifinals.

"Coming to Dubai for my second championship after three months is very important for me. It is going to be difficult and I have to be at my best for almost a week," he said.

Nadal is currently ranked second in the world, the first teenager after German Boris Becker to hold that honour. He was a semifinalist here last time and hopes to improve on that performance. "I attach great importance to the event as it is good for confidence."

Asked if he would be under pressure, he replied: "I do not think I will be under any pressure this year. It is a difficult start but I want to play and win. When you have not played for three months, coming back is not easy."

He explained that he would only be under pressure when he is 100 per cent fit.

Nadal, however, is not ready yet to change his way of playing to avoid injuries in the future. "I still serve for aces, sometimes eleven, six or five in a match. I do not think I will change," he said.

On Roger Federer, the top seed here and his closest challenger for the title, Nadal said: "He is the best player. He is so far ahead of everybody."

Seeds: 1. Roger Federer (Switzerland); 2. Rafael (Nadal); 3. Nikolay Davydenko (Russia); 4. Andre Agassi (US); 5. David Ferrer (Spain); 6. Dominik Hrbaty (Slovavakia); 7. Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic); 8. Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic).
Source: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?section=sports&xfile=data/sports/2006/February/sports_February633.xml

02-27-2006, 01:06 PM
Rafa is scheduled to play his first singles match tomorrow after Roger. Here's the OOP for Tuesday:

Centre Court
Matches start at 2:00 PM

Nikolay Davydenko(RUS) - Marat Safin(RUS)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) - Dominik Hrbaty(SVK)

Starting at 7:00 PM

Roger Federer(SUI) - Stanislas Wawrinka(SUI)
Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) - Rafael Nadal(ESP)

02-27-2006, 04:29 PM
Rafa and Feli are through to round 2!!!


02-27-2006, 04:34 PM
Good start to the tournament for Rafa! 6-3, 7-5 :D :D :D

VAMOS RAFA in the singles tomorrow! :yippee:

02-27-2006, 04:50 PM

Rafa doing a spot of polo!


02-27-2006, 05:00 PM

Rafa doing a spot of polo!

It's Rafa's first time on horseback. :lol:

:secret: Actually I'm always a bit apprehensive when I see a player riding a horse because it reminds me of Martina Hingis's accident some years back. :eek:

02-27-2006, 06:08 PM
he' has the magic touchhhhh with this outfit :lol: :lol:

02-27-2006, 06:30 PM
Seems like rafa is having a good time in Dubai...

02-27-2006, 06:31 PM
He's played already??!!! briliant start Rafa.... and great result in doubles too

02-27-2006, 07:33 PM
:yeah: great doubles result

Good luck tomorrow :bounce:

02-27-2006, 07:45 PM
He's played already??!!! briliant start Rafa.... and great result in doubles too
Actually, he played his doubles match today (won 6-3, 7-5) and is scheduled to play his first singles match tomorrow. ;)

02-27-2006, 07:47 PM
Actually, he played his doubles match today (won 6-3, 7-5) and is scheduled to play his first singles match tomorrow. ;)


Thanks for clearing that up for me :)

02-27-2006, 09:52 PM
Rafa will play the last match on the schedule.........it will be a long and stressfull day tomorrow !!!!! I hope this day will finish with a good new :wavey:

02-28-2006, 01:54 AM
Thanks to mamasue of vr.com for giving me the link for Dubai live streaming via http://www.ppstream.com .. It's from a China tv station in Guangzhou. You will need to install the software first which they will prompt you to.. The direct link is: http://www.ppstream.com/tv_online.php?cl=ppstream://

I have checked the schedule (it's in Chinese). You guys have to convert the timezone at your end (http://www.timeanddate.com). Time shown here are GMT+8

Guangzhou TV station's TV Schedule as at 28.2.2006:-

28.2.2006 Dubai Singles 1st Round:
1) 19:25 to 21:30
2) 23:55 to 02:00

1.3.2006 Dubai Singles:
1) Repeat telecast of Dubai 1st Round 08:05 to 10:00
2) Dubai Singles 2nd round 23:55 to 02:00

2.3.2006 Dubai Singles:
1) Repeat telecast of Dubai 2nd Round 08:05 to 10:00
2) Dubai Quarterfinals: 23:55 to 01:55

3.3.2006 Dubai Quarterfinals:
1) 10:16 to 12:00
2) 23:50 to 02:00

4.3.2006 Dubai Semifinals:
1) 08:05 to 10:00

5.3.2006 Delayed telecast of Dubai Final:
13:50 to 15:40

02-28-2006, 02:42 AM

• Top seed Roger Federer, No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal, Marat Safin and No. 3 seed Nikolay Davydenko highlight first-round action at The Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai Tuesday.

• The Spaniard Nadal takes on the dangerous Paul-Henri Mathieu of France. Nadal, ranked second, is playing only his second tournament since suffering an ankle injury while winning Masters Series Madrid in October.

• Earlier this month, Nadal reached the semifinals of Marseille before succumbing to tournament winner Arnaud Clement. Nadal played this event once before, making the quarterfinals in 2004, when he lost to Mikhail Youzhny.

• Mathieu sports a 5-5 record so far this year and has a career best INDESIT ATP Ranking of 34. He lost to Nadal in the quarterfinals of Marseille and advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open. He has never played Dubai before.

Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) vs Rafael Nadal (ESP) Nadal Leads 2-0
2003 Hamburg TMS (Germany) Clay R64 Rafael Nadal 7-5 6-4
2005 ATP Masters Series Canada Hard SF Rafael Nadal 6-4 7-5

02-28-2006, 10:01 AM
marat is playing at the moment....... GO MARAT!!

02-28-2006, 03:17 PM
Okie, guys. Me and Mamasue of vr.com have tested out the live streaming... Finally, one works!!!! It's tvants. More details here: http://www.streamsports.net/TvAnts.html

Then after installation, open the program and click the channels tab. Then copy and paste these characters " 广东体育台 " . I am now watching Federer's match...

02-28-2006, 04:14 PM
Okie, guys. Me and Mamasue of vr.com have tested out the live streaming... Finally, one works!!!! It's tvants. More details here: http://www.streamsports.net/TvAnts.html

Then after installation, open the program and click the channels tab. Then copy and paste these characters " 广东体育台 " . I am now watching Federer's match...

Can I ask you if it´s free service??? :confused:

02-28-2006, 04:41 PM
It's so great to have Rafa back playing again :) I just hope this time he will stay healthy ;) And winning the Title wouldn't be bad either :cool:

02-28-2006, 04:57 PM
I think they might be showing Rafa's match on here soon [delayed]:


Worth a look anyway. ;)

02-28-2006, 06:36 PM
:worship: Rafa Won :worship: He got off to a slow start, but that is to be expected with all the time he has had to take off due to injuries. I just hope he can stay healthy now ;)

02-28-2006, 06:38 PM
LOVE MY WEE BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well done Rafa!!!!!!! Rafa won 6-7 6-1 6-2!!!! :woohoo: :banana: :bigclap: :yippee: :dance:

02-28-2006, 06:42 PM
yes rafaaaaaaaaaa, congratulations, you are the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

02-28-2006, 06:44 PM
Well done Rafa! :worship: :woohoo:

I couldn't watch it because Eurosport was showing basketball :rolleyes: but it seems that once Rafa got into his stride there was no stopping him.

:secret: Althought that last game didn't have to be so tight. ;)

02-28-2006, 06:48 PM
Btw, Younes left Dubai (his house got robbed) so Rafa probably got a w.o. in the 2nd rd. :D

02-28-2006, 06:52 PM
well done Rafa !! :bigclap:

02-28-2006, 06:59 PM
From Reuters:
Federer and Nadal triumph in Dubai

(updates after Nadal match)

By Barry Wood

DUBAI, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Roger Federer began the defence of his Dubai Open title with a 7-6 6-3 win over Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka on Tuesday in his first match since winning the Australian Open.

He was joined in the second round by number two seed Rafael Nadal, who was stretched by Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu before winning 6-7 6-1 6-2.

The Spanish teenager received a walkover into the quarter-finals after his next opponent, Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco, withdrew from the tournament for personal reasons.

Federer had to work hard for his victory against an opponent who rallied well, made few unforced errors, and changed the pace to good effect.

Both players needed to resist a pair of break points in the middle of the first set, before Federer took the tiebreak 7-3.

In the second set, seven of the nine games went against serve, with Federer holding for 3-2 and 6-3. Despite being put under pressure the world number one said he was not surprised.

"I thought my game was coming and going," Federer told reporters. "My serve wasn't that great in the beginning and then I really got a high percentage going and then it left me again.

Nadal proved his fitness after a recent lengthy period of injury when he resisted a strong challenge from Mathieu.


In a match of the highest quality, the players tested each other in some furiously-contested rallies which thrilled the late-evening crowd.

Mathieu fought off two break points at 3-3 with some powerful serves, held a set point at 6-5 which he lost with a poor return, but then forced a backhand error to claim the tiebreak.

He failed to maintain the rallies as well in the second set, though, as Nadal raised his game to another level and the Spanish left-hander broke for 2-0 and 5-1 when Mathieu netted two forehands.

Nadal continued his momentum into the final set, breaking for 2-1, and when he virtually tied up the match with a further break for 4-1 a frustrated Mathieu smashed his racquet.

"In the first set I had a lot of chances," said Nadal. "I had two 0-30s, one 15-40 and I played defensively and for that I lost the set. After, in the second and third set, I changed my approach. I played more aggressively, a more intense match.

"It was an important match for me because I lost the first set and came back with a very good physical performance," he added. "I ran very well to difficult balls and that's important because the foot is very good now."

Russia's Marat Safin made an impressive return from a six-month injury layoff to beat compatriot and world number five Nikolay Davydenko 4-6 6-2 6-2.

Safin had not played since August after a knee ligament tear suffered at Wimbledon became too painful for him to continue.

"I didn't expect to win. It was a big surprise," Safin said.

"Especially with the draw, I couldn't really think I would make even a set. I was coming out to play a few games and make sure I was moving okay and get back the rhythm.

"I still have a little bit of pain, but it's not the same pain as it used to be and I can move without any problems."

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=tennisNews&storyID=URI:urn:newsml:reuters.com:20060228:MTFH46 160_2006-02-28_20-17-42_L28773111:1

02-28-2006, 08:28 PM
Congrats for the won first round, Rafa!
Now improve and get stronger :rocker2:

02-28-2006, 08:54 PM

Rafa and Marat through!!! i love my boys!! :kiss: :kiss:

02-28-2006, 09:19 PM
:bigclap: well done Rafa :bounce:

02-28-2006, 09:32 PM
luck to him to get a free ticket into the quarterfinals since El Aynaoui withdrew from the tournament ;)

02-28-2006, 09:34 PM
well done little man :hug:

ooh poor younes :awww:

02-28-2006, 10:27 PM
i'm very sad for Younes , he is a great guy :(

rafa take your time , relax have a good time cause your next macth will be hard !!!!!!!!! :lol: :lol:

well done,he played with up and downs but he still managed to keep the game under his control!! vamos !!!!!!

Lou_Lou_Ferrero ..........i think we have the same boys Rafa and Marat !!!!!

03-01-2006, 06:18 AM
Emirates Today ePaper

Nadal serves up a treat

Ahmed Abbas Rizvi Sports Reporter


Rafael Nadal strode into the quarter-finals of the Dubai Men’s Open with a thrilling comeback victory over Paul Henri Mathieu.

The Spaniard, playing only his second tournament since suffering an ankle injury while winning the Masters Series Madrid in October, lost a tense first set 7-6 (7/6). But he then staged a dramatic return, winning the next two 6-1, 6-2 – though the score does no justice to the fight put up by Mathieu.

“It is my best match since I made my return,” said Nadal.

“It was really intense and I believe I played really well.”

“I had a lot of chances in the first, but I couldn’t take them. In the second, I changed my approach and I played aggressively which paid dividends.” Nadal’s second round opponent, Morocco’s Younes El Aynaoui, has withdrawn from the event citing “personal reasons”, giving the world No 2 a free ride into the quarter-finals.

El Aynaoui came through the qualifiers and beat Wesley Moodie 6-4, 6-4 in the first round yesterday. But moments before he was due to partner Russian Marat Safin for their doubles first round match against Fabrice Santoro and Nenad Zimonjic, the Moroccan star announced his withdrawal.

Nadal now meets either Tim Henman or Rotterdam champion Radek Stepanek.

“Henman and Stepanek are both very good players and if I can win the quarter-final, I will be very happy.”

“It will be my second semifinal in two events this year and it will prove that I am back on the right track.”

03-01-2006, 06:25 AM
good to see him back

03-01-2006, 02:15 PM
Good to see him hopefull and that his will is still so strong !!!!!!!!!

03-01-2006, 04:34 PM
Hello!! :wavey:

Where I found Rafa/Feli's pictures of the double match?? (sorry my english is bad)

03-01-2006, 04:50 PM
Where I found Rafa/Feli's pictures of the double match?? (sorry my english is bad)

I don't think there are any :sad:
I was looking all over the net and nothing

03-01-2006, 04:52 PM
Agassi is out!

03-01-2006, 06:31 PM
Rafa's next oponnent will be Tim Henman, who beat Radek Stepanek 7-5, 2-6, 7-6.

The OOP for tomorrow (thanks, keqtqiadv!)

Matches Start At 2:00 PM
Olivier ROCHUS (BEL) vs Mikhail YOUZHNY (RUS)
followed by
Tim HENMAN (GBR) vs Rafael NADAL (ESP)

Starting at 7:00 PM
Roger FEDERER (SUI) vs Robin VIK (CZE)
followed by

Court 1
Starting at 5:00 PM
Christophe ROCHUS (BEL)/ Olivier ROCHUS (BEL) vs
Martin DAMM (CZE)/ Leander PAES (IND)
followed by

Eurosport Int schedule for Thursday:

Live coverage from 11.00 CET (14.00 Dubai) to 14.30 CET (17.30 Dubai)

OMG, looks like they're going to show Rafa tomorrow! *fingers crossed* :yippee:

03-01-2006, 06:44 PM
OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! :woohoo: I try to get home to watch the match!!!!! :D
VAMOS RAFA!!!!!!! :banana: :bigclap: :bounce: :yippee: :dance:

03-01-2006, 07:23 PM
Very interesting matchup for Rafa!

03-01-2006, 07:48 PM
Very interesting matchup for Rafa!

Tim fought back very well from 3-5* down in the third set and was delighted with the final result. From inside-tennis.net (http://www.inside-tennis.net/index2.php?action=news&id=1347):
"To raise my level at the end like that was really good. I threw caution to the wind and was more aggressive at 3-5. It was satisfying to make them all. I don’t think I have ever played better than in that game.” Henman relishes the Nadal challenge: “Exciting to have the opportunity to play Rafa. It should be a fun match. I don’t feel any pressure or expectation.”

03-01-2006, 08:20 PM
:bounce: Good luck Rafa :bounce:

Wow Tim did really well to bounce back, I thought he had lost for sure.

*crosses fingers* that British Eurosport will show the match

03-02-2006, 01:05 AM
From ATP tennis

Day Four – March 2, 2006

• Top seed Roger Federer, No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal and Tim Henman highlight quarterfinals singles action at The Dubai Tennis Championships Thursday.

• The Spaniard Nadal, seeded second, takes on British wild card Tim Henman. Nadal advanced to the quarterfinals after Younes El Aynaoui withdrew from the tournament for personal reasons. Henman upset Radek Stepanek in the second round.

• Nadal is back for only his second tournament since injuring his foot during his title run in Madrid last October. The world No. 2 reached the semifinals of Marseille earlier in February and sports a record of 5-1 so far this year. Nadal played this event once before, reaching the quarterfinals in 2004.

• Henman has a record of 7-4 so far this year and an INDESIT ATP Ranking of 49. He reached the semifinals of Zagreb earlier this month and the quarterfinals of five events last year. Henman, now ranked third in his home country behind Andy Murray and Greg Rusedski, has played this event six times. He reached the quarterfinals three years, most recently in 2005.

Tim Henman (GBR) vs Rafael Nadal (ESP) - First Meeting

Henman FastFacts: 2006
Highlights: SF: Zagreb (l Koubek);
YTD W-L: 7-4
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 11
Date of Birth: September 6, 1974
INDESIT ATP Ranking: 49

Nadal FastFacts:
2006 Highlights:
YTD W-L: 5-1
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 12
Date of Birth: June 3, 1986
INDESIT ATP Ranking: 2

03-02-2006, 08:36 AM
Dubai Ace News Flash
2 March 2006

Rafael Nadal returns to the Dubai Tennis Championships this week as one of the biggest superstars in the game.

But it wasn’t always so. When he first played in Dubai, two years ago, he was anonymous, a new kid on the block beginning to test his feet in the water with the big guys. It is doubtful that more than a few even remember watching him as he won his way through to the quarter-finals before losing to Russian Mikhail Youzhny.

But now, powerful and intense, the swashbuckling Spaniard is considered the heir apparent to Roger Federer for number one, even though he is still just 19 years old. He’s an all-in package too, with his aggressive style combining with flowing hair and muscular build to make him the biggest pin-up in the game.

"Coming to Dubai for my second championships after three months off is very important for me," said Nadal.

"It is going to be a tough contest and I will have to be at my best this week."

03-02-2006, 12:55 PM
yesss rafa bt henman 7-6 6-1!!

btw, nice avatar veyonce...

03-02-2006, 12:56 PM
great win!! sigue así Rafa!! :bounce:

now he plays the winner of Schüttler/Phau for a spot in the final!!! VAMOS! :)

03-02-2006, 01:27 PM
Great match by Rafa!!!! Glad I got to see it. :D
He took Timbo's serve to take a 5-3 lead but Tim broke back and took the set to TB. Rafa won the TB convincingly 7-1 though. :D And shouted VAMOS! :bigclap: :banana: :yippee:
And then in the 2nd set he broke Tim's serve twice. :D Tim just couldn't convert any of the BPs today. Rafa played so well all his service games when trailing 0-40 or 15-40. That was great! :yeah:
He improved his serve remarkably already last year, but this year what I've seen in Marseille and in Dubai has been absolutely impressive, 8 aces or smth today! :yeah:
And his on-court interview after the match was so cute, his English has also improved. :D

03-02-2006, 01:36 PM
Well done Rafa :bounce:


03-02-2006, 02:18 PM
UPDATE 1-Nadal beats Henman to reach Dubai semis
Thu Mar 2, 2006 2:52 PM GMT172

By Barry Wood

DUBAI, Mar 2 (Reuters) - World number two Rafael Nadal withstood a strong first-set challenge before defeating Britain's Tim Henman 7-6 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Dubai Open on Thursday.

Henman, 31, showed considerable class against the Spanish teenager but he lacked consistency and was ultimately overpowered even though he held the advantage early in both sets.

"The first set was tough," Nadal said. "Henman played very aggressively. He's a very good player and it's difficult when he plays his slice. It's unbelievable and I had some problems.

"I also had some problems in some games with my serve... but I finished the match serving much better."

Henman was unable to convert three break points in the second game and two more after Nadal had broken to lead 3-2 with a return off a second serve.

The French Open champion led 5-3 and held four set points on Henman's serve. Henman eventually held with an ace and a double-fault then allowed Nadal to level at 5-5.

After a tiebreak in which Henman managed to earn just one point Nadal had to resist three break points at 1-1.

He then broke Henman to love with a forehand winner that grazed the sideline.

After holding to love, Nadal broke for 5-1 when Henman netted a forehand and Nadal closed out the match with his ninth ace.

Henman was able to draw several positives from his defeat, not least that his fragile back has given him no trouble this week.

"I think at the start of the match I was the one playing the better tennis and dictating the play, and when you get those opportunities you've got to try and take them," said Henman, who this week surrendered his British number ranking to Andy Murray.

"It's good and bad. I feel frustrated with the outcome, obviously, and somewhat disappointed with my performance.

"But in the context of playing the guy two in the world it's a good sign that I'm feeling that way about my game...

"I felt fine on the court and my back has been excellent, so it's been a very, very positive week.

Russia's Mikhail Youzhny reached his first semi-final of the year and a possible meeting with world number one Roger Federer when he overwhelmed Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-3 6-1.

03-02-2006, 02:37 PM
What a nerve-racking experience! I had to go to work when the score was 6-6 in the first set :eek: and couldn't check the result for an hour and a half! :mad: :lol:

Thank goodness Rafa got his act together in the end, because it was so frustrating to watch him lose the advantage in the first set. :o

Vamos Rafa in the semi-final! :bounce:

03-02-2006, 02:38 PM
Just one article I've found and I'm off to watch the rest of the match. :D

From inside-tennis.net (http://www.inside-tennis.net/index2.php?action=news&id=1351)
Rafa bludgeons Tim into submission

Rafael Nadal overcame a stern first set test to sweep aside the challenge of Tim Henman 7-6 6-1, and earn himself a place in the semi-finals. In an interesting match of contrasting styles, it was Nadal’s serve that came under pressure early on as Henman regularly put the Spaniard under the cosh with his net rushing tactics. Nadal saved three break points in his opening game with some strong serving, and then broke Henman at 2-2 with a backhand return pass down the line off the Brit’s second serve.

Nadal had four set points to take the opening set with Henman serving at 3-5, but lost them as the Brit upped his level as he had done against Radek Stepanek last night, to force the world number two to serve it out himself. With the aid of a couple of uncharacteristic unforced error from Nadal, Henman struck gold with a sublime back crosscourt pass on the run to set up two break points, which he converted when the Spaniard double faulted going for a big second serve.

At 6-6, Nadal moved up a gear, and there was no response from Henman who going for broke was just missing the lines. Nadal cruised to a one set lead taking the breaker 7-1 with an acute backhand crosscourt pass.

From there Nadal took control of the match, breaking Henman in the fourth game to love when his forehand drive found the line, and then again in the sixth game to go 5-1 ahead. He clinched the match with an ace down the centre, and will next face the winner of the all German encounter between Rainer Schuettler and Bjorn Phau.

“The first set was very tough”, Nadal said. “He played very aggressive; he’s a very good player. I had a chance at 3-5, 0-40, to win the set, but missed a passing shot on my backhand. He plays very flat, volleys very well, and covers the net very well. I won a difficult match against a very good player.” Despite having the luxury of a day off, Nadal was conscious that the Brit would be buoyed by his win last night; “Yes it was an advantage, but for him to win from 2-5 down last night would give him a lot of confidence, so don’t know which is better. I’m playing better now; I’m more comfortable on the court than in Marseilles.”

Henman was frustrated somewhat that he did not make more of his opportunities in the first set; “At the start of the match, I was the one playing the better tennis, dictating the play. You’ve got to take the opportunities when you get them; I’m frustrated by the outcome.” He was aware that he had the game to trouble the Spaniard;

“My game style is ideal to play against him, but if you give him mid-court balls he is as good as anyone in finishing the point.” He pointed out that fatigue was not a factor in the second set despite falling away so dramatically; “He won 13 points in a row at one stage, but I felt fine. My back is excellent. I’m very positive about the two matches I’ve won here, and I will keep on building and building on that.”

By Andre Jones (in Dubai)

03-02-2006, 04:11 PM
Well done, Rafa, too easy! Poor Tim must have been tired fr his marathon vs. Radek yesterday!

Next match s be even easier for Rafa!

03-02-2006, 04:47 PM
Next opponent for Rafa Rainer Schuettler who easily won Bjorn Phau 6-4 6-1

It will be a tough match but Rafa is fit this week !!!!!!!!

03-02-2006, 04:58 PM
I'm so glad Rafa is back playing and winning :) I just hope this time he can stay healthy. Also it is nice to hear his English is improving :) He has a nice sounding voice so I look forward to hearing him speak in English so I can understand him :cool:

03-02-2006, 05:04 PM

(i'm so patriotic!! poor ol' Timmy!)

03-02-2006, 06:12 PM
From yahoo (http://uk.sports.yahoo.com/02032006/3/nadal-moves-closer-federer-rematch.html):

Nadal moves closer to Federer rematch
Thu 02 Mar, 3:43 PM

DUBAI (AFP) - World number two Rafael Nadal moved closer to a probable rematch with world number one Roger Federer with a 7-6 (7/1), 6-1 victory over Tim Henman in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Open.

It is nine months since the 19-year-old French Open champion from Spain scored a famous victory over the Wimbledon champion from Switzerland, and one more win could see them meet again.

Nadal had to work hard for an hour to beat Henman. It was the first time they had met and the Briton used his unique style, full of mixed spins with his driving and ambushing rushes to the net to break up the heavy looped base-lining and brilliant court coverage of his opponent.

Henman also broke back from 3-5 to led 6-5 and briefly looked as though he might cause real trouble. But Nadal responded well to the challenge, serving a little more aggressively, and launching surprise counter-hits from the back.

Henman also had a chance to break serve early in the second set, and altogether in the match had eight break points he failed to convert, but once Nadal frustrated him to lead 2-1 he ran away with the match.

He was able to find more time to hit his topspins a little more heavily and once he did that the pressure he exerted was much greater.

"I had some problems in some games with my serve," Nadal acknowledged. "But I finished the match serving much better and yes, I am pleased with nine aces.

"Henman is a difficult opponent and a very, very good player. He hits the ball flat and comes to the net a lot and it was not easy to get used to him."

Nadal also confirmed that he feels much happier about the foot which kept him out of the game for four months. "I wasn't comfortable on the court in Marseille (two weeks ago)," he said. "But now I feel much better."

Nadal lifted his leg above the microphone table to illustrate his point, making the audience laugh.

"There I broke my shoes after one match," he said. "But look - I can play with the same shoes tomorrow!"

Nadal agreed that he would look forward to a possible encounter with Federer. "I want to play him," he said. "I enjoy playing against him. And I know if I am playing him it is going to be a final.

"He is a remarkable player and a remarkable person. He is so far ahead that he is possibly the best sportsman in the world. And yet he manages to be like a normal person. That is not easy."

In the other half of the draw Mikhail Youzhny, the man who clinched the 2002 Davis Cup for Russia with a famous comeback in the final in Paris, reached his first ATP Tour semi-final for 18 months, beating Olivier Rochus, the younger of the two Belgian tennis-playing brothers, 6-3, 6-1.

03-02-2006, 06:27 PM
Rafa is still down to earth it's nice to see that !!!!!!!
We really feel he is a different player from the one we saw in Marseille, he won a lot of confidence, he dares to play on baselines it's always a good thing. I really would like to see him play against Federer provided that he can win the tournament with his level .
It's cool that he laughed about his injury , it means that it deals with past now !!!!!

vamooooos rafa somos contigoooooooooo

03-02-2006, 06:30 PM
Well done Rafa. :yeah:

Thank for the articles.

From the pics that have been posted he looks good.

Hope we get a Rafa vs Roger final.

03-02-2006, 08:00 PM
:bigclap: well done Rafa

03-02-2006, 08:45 PM
Rafa vs Rogelio would be a GREAT final!!!!!!! :banana: :yippee: :dance:
On court Rafa also said the ankle was fine and the injury is all behind him and he is feeling 100% now. :D

03-02-2006, 10:04 PM
I'm even thinking of putting some vCash on Rafa. I don't want to jinx him, but he seems to be playing very well right now :cool:

03-03-2006, 05:40 AM
It's good to see Rafa doing so well so soon after returning to the tour!

03-03-2006, 08:41 AM
I have great news!!! I have just checked gdtv's sports channel schedule for today to sunday. Guess what??? They are showing Dubai after all.

The following schedule is as at 3.3.2006, 5.31pm (+GMT8). Please note that there may be changes to the schedule. I will check the schedule daily and update you guys.

11.30pm to 3.00am: Live telecast of Dubai Semi-Finals [A delayed live telecast, not sure which semi-finals match they will be showing though.]

2.25pm to 4.10pm: Repeat telecast of Dubai Semi-Finals.

1.53pm to 3.42pm: Delayed telecast of Dubai Final.

03-03-2006, 03:59 PM
rafa is into the final after winning today 6-4 6-2!!

c'mon rafa!! ..lets keep a positive h2h against fed please!!!!!;)

03-03-2006, 04:29 PM
Rafa's first final of the year!
Hopefully he can play consistently well tomorrow and then he might even win. ;)

VAMOS RAFA! You can do it! :bounce:

03-03-2006, 04:29 PM
rafa is into the final after winning today 6-4 6-2!!

c'mon rafa!! ..lets keep a positive h2h against fed please!!!!!;)
Congrats to Rafa :) I would love to have him beat Roger, but on this playing surface I have to give the edge to Roger :sad: I would be very happy to have Rafa prove me wrong ;) But lets just put it this way for this Match I'm keeping my vCash in my vPocket :angel:

03-03-2006, 04:31 PM
First articles already in:
Federer, Nadal will clash in blockbuster Dubai final

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Sports Network) - Three-time defending champion Roger Federer and Spanish sensation Rafael Nadal will battle in Saturday's blockbuster final at the $1 million Dubai Tennis Championships.

The top-seeded/world No. 1 Federer won his 19th straight match in Dubai by pasting Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3, while the second-seeded/world No. 2 Nadal reached the title bout with a 6-4, 6-2 thrashing of German Rainer Schuettler in Friday's semifinal action at Dubai Tennis Stadium.

Federer saved all eight break points he faced against Youzhny and fought back from 0-40 in his first two service games of the match. The super Swiss converted three of his own five break-point opportunities and is now 7-0 lifetime against Youzhny.

The amazing Federer has now won his last 56 matches on hardcourts, with his last loss on the surface coming against Marat Safin in the 2005 Australian Open semifinals.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion Federer, who currently holds the Aussie Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon titles, beat Croat Ivan Ljubicic in last year's Dubai finale. The sublime Swiss has won his last 29 matches in the Middle East.

This marks Federer's first action since he won a second Aussie Open title in January. He's now 16-0, including two hardcourt titles, this season.

Nadal is appearing in only his second event of 2006 after being sidelined for months with a foot injury. He's 6-1 for the year, with the loss coming against Frenchman Arnaud Clement in a semifinal in Marseille last month.

Federer and Nadal will meet for a fourth time, with the 19-year-old Spaniard holding a surprising 2-1 career advantage. Nadal beat the mighty Swiss in the 2005 French Open semifinals and also topped him in a third-round encounter in Miami in 2004, while Federer's lone win came in the final at Miami last year.

The 24-year-old Federer will appear in his ninth final in as many tournaments, dating back to last June, and will seek career title number 36 (35-9). Nadal owns 12 career titles in 14 finals. Federer and Nadal co-led the ATP with 11 titles apiece last season.

Saturday's winner will pocket $187,500.
03/03 12:19:59 ET

03-03-2006, 04:40 PM
Well done, Rafa, didn't take him long at all to reach a final!

Should be a good one vs. Rogi. Who knows who will win though?

Either player can win on this surface.

Altho I like Rafa, my loyalties lie w Rogi for tomorrow. ;) He'll need more support cos the pressure's ON!

03-03-2006, 04:42 PM
From inside-tennis.net:
Rafa beats Rainer to set up dream final in Dubai

The dream final between the top two players in the world will take place after Rafael Nadal beat Rainer Scheuttler in the second semi-final, 6-4 6-2. Poor Scheuttler who would have been labelled the party pooper had he dared deprive the tennis world of a Federer v Nadal final, found himself under pressure from the start when his Spanish opponent broke immediately when the German went long on his backhand. When Nadal missed an opportunity to get the double break in the seventh game where he had two break points, Scheuttler gained confidence to break the next Nadal serve when Spaniard under pressure sent his lob long. With the battle joined at 4-4, the Spaniard raised his game once again; pounding the ball to all corners, stretching the German to the limit, and in so doing got the break back with Scheuttler going wide on his attempted backhand pass down the line. Nadal served out successfully for the first set in 47 minutes when the German’s backhand sailed long. Things got better and better for Nadal in the second set as he began to relax a little more, opening his shoulders to unleash his powerful topspin groundstrokes that Scheuttler all too often could not deal with. Nadal broke the German’s opening serve when Scheuttler went long on his forehand, and then took complete control with a second break to go 3-0 ahead. Nadal was mixing up his play hitting aggressively, and advancing to the net to put away easy volleys. From there games went with serve, leaving Nadal serving for the match at 5-2, which he took on his second match point when Scheuttler went long on his return. “He played with a good rhythm, and I had a good feeling on the court. I began very well, very aggressive”, Nadal said. “My movement is 90%, and I feel good with the forehand. In Marseilles my backhand was very bad, here it is good. The serve is good; all shots are at a good level.” Looking ahead, did Nadal get a little nervous before this match thinking ahead about the Federer final? “For sure, it is a special match. He has won all his tournaments this year, and he is a specialist in finals. But then again, I have also won my last 10 finals! I will need to play unbelievable to beat him.”

Rainer reflected on the moment he broke to level at 4-4; "I felt better, but then I lost my service game very easy, too fast, otherwise the first set was okay. In the second set I was trying to play more aggressive, going for the winners and also making more mistakes. I had to change something and it didn't work out." The German explained that he was trying to expose the Nadal backhand side; "I was trying to go more for his backhand side, and probably he was trying to do the same on my side . But it's not easy because he is playing so high over the net, with so much spin you always have to hit the ball early,and sometimes you don't hit the ball in the centre of the racquet because there is so much spin there." Does he think Nadal has a chance against Federer? "Of course he has every chance. He is a lefty, he is difficult in the way he returns with his forehand, you never what's going to happen. He is a counter-puncher so very effective with the passing shots. Fderer is number 1, he is number 2, it's going to be a great final." By Andre Jones (in Dubai)

03-03-2006, 04:50 PM
Well done, Rafa, didn't take him long at all to reach a final!

Should be a good one vs. Rogi. Who knows who will win though?

Either player can win on this surface.

Altho I like Rafa, my loyalties lie w Rogi for tomorrow. ;) He'll need more support cos the pressure's ON!
Well the pressure is on Rafa as well ;) but I understand you. Needless to say I'll be rooting for Rafa in this one. :D


03-03-2006, 04:53 PM
Rafa thrives on pressure, the more the better! He's a born winner, that kid! ;)

03-03-2006, 04:59 PM
congratulations rafa, well return and in this surface.

in few hours, in videodownload, I post video highlights match rafa semi dubai

03-03-2006, 05:28 PM
Congratulation Rafa you have done good. :yeah:

Will be looking forward to your match with Roger. :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

03-03-2006, 05:49 PM
Hi Lopaka, nice to see you here! vr.com keeps crashing for me. :sad:

From the official website:
Rafael Nadal visits Dubai Duty Free
http://img467.imageshack.us/img467/3474/n47nadalddf34kl.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
Dubai, UAE, March 3rd, 2006: Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal has been shown the delights of Dubai Duty Free.

The world number two, who is competing in the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open, enjoyed visiting the shop floor where he met with Managing Director Colm McLoughlin and Dubai Tennis Championships Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.

Nadal looked in a range of shops, and particularly enjoyed checking out the watches and jewellery.

The Spaniard also took a liking to the Harley Davidson which was on display.

03-03-2006, 08:34 PM
Very nice article with lots of quotes from Khaleej Times Online. :D

I love playing Federer, says Nadal

By Cherian Thomas
3 March 2006

DUBAI — On court he looks every bit like a pirate, a nasty one at that. Off court, the 19-year-old Rafael Nadal is a normal, simple every day teenager.

In his mixture of Spanish and English, he comes across as a modest, straightforward and a very funny young man. A superb athlete, there's an underlying glow of steely determination in his body language and his eyes. His post-match briefing yesterday after his straight sets win over Britain's Tim Henman, was as hilarious as it could get. "First match I broke my shoe. Today — he lifts his shoe, looks at it — no. I can play with it tomorrow."

Nadal, who plays left-handed but writes with his right hand, has 11 titles to his name, including a French Open Grand Slam crown.

He's the first teenager to finish No.2 since Boris Becker in 1986 and has the highest year-end ranking ever by a Spaniard. Eight of his 11 titles have been on clay and he's now snapping at Roger Federer's heels for the No.1 spot. So, is he eyeing the top spot? "I'm far," he says. But do you think about it? "I'm very, very far," he stresses.

Is he looking forward to playing Federer? "I love to play Federer. If I play him (here) it means I'm in the final," says Nadal.

Nadal is the only player to have beaten the Swiss world No.1 twice in three meetings and Federer is on record stating he would love to gain some revenge. "For me it's another match against the world number one," said Nadal. What does he think of Federer? "He's the best sportsman in the world today. But he's also a normal person and that's not easy when you're the best tennis player in the world. I send him messages (of congratulations) when he wins in Wimbledon and other places."

The Dubai Open is Nadal's second tournament after a four-month break from the game with injury. What did he do during the enforced break?
"I got my driving license," said a Spaniard who won a Mercedes as a prize. So, is he going to drive that car soon?. "Oh no, I need more practice. I banged the car (a Kia, a sponsored car) boom, this side and boom that side and boom at the back against pillars while parking the car (after getting his license)."

Did he also get lessons in English during the break? "(Let me put it this way) I'm not ashamed (of speaking in English) any more. I make some mistakes."

For the second match in a row Nadal faced a tough first set. "The first set was tough. Henman played very aggressively. It's not easy to play against him. He hits the ball flat and covers the net well. “I played a good match against a very good player. By the time I finished the match, I was serving much better," added Nadal.

The Spaniard, who plays winner of the all-German quarter-final between Rainer Schuettler and Bjorn Phau in the semifinals, finished the match with Henman with an ace, his eighth of the match.

03-03-2006, 09:18 PM
His post-match briefing yesterday after his straight sets win over Britain's Tim Henman, was as hilarious as it could get. "First match I broke my shoe. Today — he lifts his shoe, looks at it — no. I can play with it tomorrow."

That's our Rafa!! :D

03-03-2006, 10:27 PM
source: marca.com 28/02/06

Usted volvió a la competición hace dos semanas en Marsella y apenas se notaron sus cuatro meses alejado de las pistas. ¿Le sorprendió llegar hasta las semifinales?/ You came back in the competition 2 weeks ago in Marseille and it was hard to see that you didn't played for 4 months. Were you surprised to reach the semis?

Fue una agradable sorpresa plantarme en las semifinales de Marsella. Yo simplemente quería probarme y todo salió mejor de lo esperado. Jugué a un nivel aceptable en el torneo francés y sólo me faltó el ritmo de fondo de pista. La chispa llegará poco a poco. /It was a surprise to reach the semi.I just wanted to test me and all was better than i expected.I played with a medium level in the french tournament and it just missed me rhytm to play from the baseline. The fitness will come little by litlle.

¿Dentro de una semana, en el primer TMS que aparece en el calendario ATP, se verá ya al mejor Nadal?/In one week the 1st TMS will appear on the agenda shall we see the best Nadal?

No creo que se vea al verdadero Nadal en Indian Wells, aunque sí estaré en condiciones de realizar un buen tenis./ I don't think that we'll see the real Nadal unless that the best conditions are here to play a good tennis.

En el cuadro de Dubai está una representación de los mejores jugadores del mundo encabezada por Roger Federer. Usted y el suizo sólo pueden cruzarse en la final al ser primer y segundo cabezas de serie. ¿Se imagina una final con el número uno?/The Dubai's draw is a good representation of the best player in the world, represented by Roger Federer. You could only meet Federer in the final because you are seeded number 1 and 2. Could you imagine a final against the numer one?

Ojalá sea así. Firmaría una final con Federer y perderla./ I wish that things goes that way. It wouldn't bother me to play final even if i loose.

Dubai le permitirá coincidir personalmente con Federer (no coinciden en un cuadro desde el US Open) después de que éste se llevara el Open de Australia. ¿Le dirá que sus lágrimas tras el triunfo en Melbourne llegaron a emocionarle?/ Dubai will allow you to play in the same tournament than Federer (they didn't play at the same time since US Open 05') after that he won the Australian Open. Will you say to him that you were moved by his tears?

En su momento, le mandé un mensaje a su móvil para felicitarle por su séptimo ‘Grand Slam’. Aunque, es verdad, que ahora tendré la oportunidad de darle la enhorabuena personalmente./I sent him a congratulations message for his 7th Grand slam. Now i 'll have the chance to congratulate him personnaly.

Mientras Nadal se plantó en las semifinales de Marsella, una leyenda de la raqueta como John McEnroe completó un regreso triunfal con su victoria en los dobles de San José. Por la admiración que le profesa ‘Big Mac’, no sería de extrañar que le pida próximamente ser su pareja en algún torneo./ While you were reaching the semi in Marseille, a tennis legend as John Mac Enroe succeeded in making a wonderful come back with his victory in double in San José. With the admiration you have for him, would you find it strange if he asks you to be his double partner in a tournament?

Le diría que sí, encantado, si me pide jugar un dobles. Sería muy bonito jugar con él. McEnroe ha sido uno de los mejores de todos los tiempos./ I would answer him that i delightly accept it. It would be very good to play with him.He had been one of the best player of all times.

Por lo visto en su estreno de Marsella, ¿se dio cuenta de que los rivales saltan a la pista con mucho respeto?On your come back in Marseille. Did you realized that your opponent were very respectfull with you?

No sé si me tienen mucho respeto, pero la realidad es que los tres jugadores que gané, estuvieron también a punto de ganarme a mí./ I don't know if they respect me a lot, but the three players i played were about to beat me.

¿Cuál es su objetivo en la presente campaña después de perderse el Open de Australia?/ What are your current goal after missing the australian open?

Afianzarme dentro de los diez mejores y, si puede ser, mantener mi actual posición como número dos. El primer puesto es para Federer, para mí el mejor jugador de la historia. / To Be beyond the 10 best and if it's possible,to stay 2nd. The 1st seat is for Federer who is for me , the best player in the history!

sorry for the english.......i'm just a poor little french :lol:

03-04-2006, 01:50 AM
Emirates Today ePaper
Nadal sets up a dream final with Federer
Ahmed Abbas Rizvi Sports Reporter
4 March 2006





Rafael Nadal believes his hopes in today’s Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open final will depend upon Roger Federer having a bad day.

If not, the Spaniard says he will have to play ‘unbelievable’ tennis to stop the Swiss star grabbing his fourth Dubai title win.

The 19-year-old Nadal, playing his second tournament since injuring his foot last October, reached the final with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Rainer Schuettler.
He has faced Federer three times, winning twice before. But he said: “I don’t think I have any edge. I think I played great tennis in those three matches.”

“But every match and every tournament is different, and if he is playing well, then it should be a great match.” Asked what would be the key for him in the final, Nadal replied: “Federer not playing very well! “If he plays very well, then I don’t know – I think I will have to play unbelievable. He has not lost any match this year. He has won two tournaments already [Doha and the Australian Open] and is playing his third final. He is also a specialist in finals. But I have won my last 10 finals too. It will be a difficult match, but I will try my best. If I can play at my best, I think I might have a chance.”

“This is just my second tournament and I am in the final against the world No 1, so I am very happy with that.” He added: “I will have to serve a lot better [against Federer] and I think I will have to be a little more aggressive. If you allow Federer to settle into a rhythm, it becomes very difficult because he is such a complete player.”

“But whatever the result, it will be a good match for me, for him and for tennis.’’ Federer is undefeated in 29 matches in the Middle East and is ready for tonight’s final, which starts at 7pm, even though he has not been at his best in Dubai.

“You don’t play at your best very often,” he said.

“You get a great performance only once in a while. I expect to play good and solid tennis and I think that can get the job done.”


‘Unknown’ is something to fear for Fed

Roger Federer believes Rafael Nadal still has an ‘unknown’ factor which gives the Spaniard a slight advantage over him.

The world’s two best players meet in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open today in a match that is unrivalled in the world of tennis – both in class and charisma. The duel, however, is still a bit of a novelty as the Swiss maestro and the Spanish dynamo have clashed just three times, with Nadal winning twice.

The rivalry is in its infancy, but has been the talk of the tennis world, with Federer being reminded of his record against Nadal at every occasion. And Dubai is no exception.

“I have not played him enough – we have met just three times,” explains Federer.

“So I think there is still an unknown factor to him.”

“He is young, a great athlete and plays fantastic tennis – that makes the combination very hard to play.” Nadal beat Federer in the 2005 French Open semi-final and in the third round at Miami in 2004.

The Swiss star beat him in the Miami final last year, battling back from two sets down to win 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-1.

“At the French Open he was sort of a favourite and then we had two matches [in Miami] where I was the favourite,” says Federer. “He won the first game and that was a bit of a surprise.”

“But I was sick going into the tournament, though I am not making any excuses.”

“We have had some close matches – we are No1 and No2 in the world and when we meet, it will usually be in the finals.”

“So I am looking forward to another exciting match.” Federer warmed up nicely for the match the tennis world has been waiting for since the French Open last year. After a slow start, Federer is reaching his lofty peaks and he gave glimpses of his imperious powers with a classy 6-2, 6-3 win over the tigerish MikhailYouzhny of Russia.

As has been the norm this year in Dubai, Federer made a shoddy start and was down 0-40 in his first two service games – but he did enough to survive.

Federer said: “It is hard when you start off like that.”

“I thought I maybe missed quite a few first serves early in the games that really allowed him to get his teeth into every service game in the beginning.”

“But I served my way out of trouble, and played my way out of trouble. In the second set I played great tennis and I thought overall it was an excellent match.” In the second set, he broke Youzhny in the second game with a memorable Federer winner – a backhand from the edge of the arena, with his back to the net.

“There are not many shots you can play from that position,” said a delighted Federer.

“I had few options and chose a risky one, and it came off even though it wasn’t supposed to. It came at a crucial point. It was a fantastic shot and not many in the game can play that.”

03-04-2006, 03:58 AM
An ATP International Series Gold Tournament
Day Six – March 4, 2006


• World No. 1 Roger Federer squares off against No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the final of The Dubai Tennis Championships Saturday.

• Federer, seeded first, ousted Mikhail Youzhny in the semifinals Friday, while Nadal defeated Rainer Schuettler. Federer hasn’t lost a semifinal match since Nadal beat him last May at Roland Garros. He is trying to win Dubai for the fourth straight year. Last year he beat Ivan Ljubicic in the final.

• Nadal and Federer have played three times, with Nadal leading the series 2-1. Their last match came in the semifinals of Roland Garros in Paris on the Spaniard’s 19th birthday June 3. He won that match in four sets. On hard courts, they are 1-1.

• This would be the first tournament Federer has won four times. The 24-year-old Swiss sensation boasts a perfect 16-0 record so far this year, taking home the trophy in Doha as well as Melbourne. He also sports an Open-Era record 56-match winning streak on hard courts and a 29-match winning streak in the Middle East.

• Dubai counts as the ninth straight tournament in which Federer has reached the final. He won seven of those previous eight finals, most recently at the Australian Open. His last defeat in a final was to David Nalbandian (in five sets) at the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai last November. That loss ended Federer’s 35-match winning streak (is 51-1 since ’05 Roland Garros SF). Federer’s overall record in finals is 35-9.

• The Spanish superstar enters with a record of 6-1 this year. He won his last 12 matches in 2005. He played this event once before, reaching the quarterfinals in 2004. Last year, he tied Federer with an ATP-best 11 titles. His career record in finals is 12-2, having won his last nine finals since losing to Federer in five sets in the NASDAQ-100 Open championship last April.

• Nadal has reached at least the semifinals in his last four ATP tournaments going back to last season. The last time he failed to reach the semifinals was at the 2005 US Open where he lost in the 3rd RD. The 19-year-old is back for only his second tournament since injuring his foot during his title run in Madrid last October. He reached the semifinals in Marseille last month, losing to eventual champion Arnaud Clement.


Federer is off to a career-best 16-0 start. Here is a look at his fastest starts (after 16 and 17 matches):
2006 – 16-0 ( ? )
2005 – 15-1 (16-1)
2004 – 15-1 (16-1)

Roger Federer (SUI) vs Rafael Nadal (ESP) Nadal Leads 2-1
04 Miami AMS (U.S.A.) Hard R32 Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-3
05 ATP Masters Series Miami (U.S.A.) Hard F Roger Federer 2-6 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 6-3 6-1
05 Roland Garros (France) Clay SF Rafael Nadal 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-3

Federer FastFacts:
2006 Highlights:
W: Doha (d Monfils); Australian Open (d Baghdatis);
YTD W-L: 16-0
YTD Titles: 2
Career Titles: 35
Date of Birth: August 8, 1981
INDESIT ATP Ranking: 1

Nadal FastFacts:
2006 Highlights:
SF: Marseille (l Clement)
YTD W-L: 6-1
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 12
Date of Birth: June 3, 1986
INDESIT ATP Ranking: 2

03-04-2006, 07:51 AM
Khaleej Times Online
Epic battle on the cards for Dubai trophy
By Cherian Thomas
4 March 2006

DUBAI — This is actually what you’d call a clash of Titans. In all respects they are the titans of tennis. They are ranked one and two in the world. Yet in today’s cut-throat world of professional sports, you couldn’t find two nicer, rather gentler, guys.

Strangely, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have a mutual admiration society going. The respect they have for each other as sportsmen and as human beings is one of those very rare things in the world of professional sport these days.

On Thursday, Nadal lauded Federer as a sportsman par supreme and a gentleman. Federer returned the compliment yesterday, calling the young Spaniard a great athlete and a nice young man.

“He’s (Nadal) a very good player. He’s come back strong (after an injury lay-off). I missed him,” said the Swiss champion. “We don’t have that many good lefties in the game.”

Off court all that makes for good copy. But once they get on court — for their title match in the $1 million Dubai Open on show court of the Dubai Tennis Stadium this evening — you can be sure they will be like two gladiators, thirsty for blood.

There’s more than the first prize cheque (of $187,500) at stake. For one thing they will be playing each other for just the fourth time. Interestingly, the Spanish conquistador has won two out of their previous three meetings.

Federer, chasing his fourth straight title here, is keen to even things out. The winner here will also take a sharper edge into their contests that are certain to come their way the rest of the season. That psychological edge can make a big difference. With both of them playing pretty good tennis, everything might boil down to serves; the percentage of first serves that get in right. “I’m missing quite a few of my first serves,” said Federer after his easy 6-2 6-3 win over Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in the semifinals yesterday.

Even though he’s been performing consistently Federer insisted that a great performance comes once in a while; “maybe once every year.” But he said he was confident going into the final.

The world number one ranking is not at stake here; Nadal is way down below in points. The Spaniard is certain to go for his shots, and for the kill as he has nothing to lose here. A win over Federer is always good on the CV.

“For me it’s just another match against the world number one,” insists Nadal. But you know that deep down inside, the 19-year-old Spaniard is itching to take over as the best tennis player on the third rock from the sun.

Two epic battles — the men’s singles and the men’s doubles — will bring the curtain down on the DDF championships. It’s been two weeks of fun and frolic, heartaches and happiness. But for sure it’s been two weeks of fascinating tennis. You couldn’t have asked for more.

03-04-2006, 09:19 AM
The Independent
Nadal's chance to test his theory of the Federer gap
By Paul Newman in Dubai
Published: 04 March 2006

Their rivalry has the potential to become the biggest draw in tennis, yet Rafael Nadal is the first to dismiss any suggestion that he might soon dislodge Roger Federer from his No 1 status. The world's two best players meet here tonight in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Open, but when the Spaniard was asked if he ever thought about overtaking Federer his response was short.

"No, I am far," Nadal said in his engaging broken English. "But you're only a few points behind Federer," the reporter continued. "No, I am far," Nadal repeated. "Do you think about it anyway?" his persistent questioner asked. "I am very far - if you look at the points I am very far," Nadal said. His interrogator wisely admitted defeat.

The Spanish teenager will at least have the chance tonight to close the gap on a player he regards as "the best sportsman in the world". Nadal enjoyed a comfortable 6-4, 6-2 win over the German Rainer Schüttler in yesterday's semi-finals, while Federer beat Russia's Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3 with a performance that contained some thrilling tennis after an erratic start.

Nadal, who was out for three months over the winter with a foot injury, is playing his second comeback tournament after reaching the semi-finals in Marseilles last month. He feels he has been improving with every match and Schüttler was certainly no match for him.

The German dropped his serve in the first game and although he broke back to level at 4-4, Nadal promptly broke again and served out the set. Schüttler rallied after Nadal took the first four games of the second set, but he was only delaying the inevitable.

However, a better player than Schüttler would surely have taken advantage of Nadal's frequent errors and the cautious half-court balls he often seemed content to play. The 19-year-old admits he will have to play differently against Federer. "I will try to play a bit more aggressively. If he feels comfortable it's very difficult because he has all the shots."

Federer has also been feeling his way back, having taken a month off after winning the Australian Open. He got into trouble in his first four service games, in which he trailed 0-40, 0-40, 0-30 and 0-30, but on each occasion he quickly recovered his poise. Federer broke in the second and eighth games to take the first set with something to spare. Moreover, there were signs in an excellent second set that the Swiss could soon be back to his best. Two shots were exquisite: a running backhand pass down the line and a high backhand lob volley after Youzhny had successfully chased down a drop shot.

Federer took mock offence when he was asked how deliberate the lob had been. "Come on, man, are you kidding me?" he said. "In practice I try it sometimes. But it's not so easy to play because it's hard to remember the dimensions of the court when you've got your back to your opponent and the net. It was a great play and I surprised myself."

The victory extended Federer's perfect record this year to 16 matches and his winning sequence on hard courts to 56. The world rankings support Nadal's claim of the No 1's overwhelming superiority - he has 4,445 points compared to Federer's 6,725 (the third-placed Andy Roddick has 2,685, an indication of the gap between the top two and the rest) - but the Spaniard has won two of their three matches.

Nadal drew first blood two years ago in Miami, Federer came back from two sets down to win at the same venue 12 months later and Nadal won in four sets in the French Open semi-finals last June. Federer knows Nadal is an opponent who deserves respect.

"There's still an unknown factor about him," the Swiss said. "We don't have many great lefties in the game. He's a great athlete and he plays fantastic tennis. That makes his combination very hard to play against."

03-04-2006, 10:01 AM
When does play start? i'm so far behind!

03-04-2006, 12:18 PM
they put 7pm on the schedule , so i think it will be 4pm for us !!!!!!!!

i can't wait no more........i need some pills to calm down :)

03-04-2006, 12:29 PM
4 pm :confused: but I thought that they are going to broadcast it 7 pm on eurosport

:eek: owh no that's not live :eek:

03-04-2006, 12:33 PM
they put 7pm on the schedule , so i think it will be 4pm for us !!!!!!!!

i can't wait no more........i need some pills to calm down :)
In Spain in Televisión española Canal 1 !!! :bounce:

Hola Nadalita wapísima!!! hi nadalita pretty girl!!!! :kiss:

¡¡¡Vamos Rafaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! :bounce:
Come on Rafaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! :bounce:

Good luck my little españolito!!!

03-04-2006, 12:49 PM
4 pm :confused: but I thought that they are going to broadcast it 7 pm on eurosport

:eek: owh no that's not live :eek:
At the moment the match is scheduled live on Eurosport 2 at 16.30 CET and an hour long replay on Eurosport International at 19.00 CET. But this could change, again. :rolleyes:

03-04-2006, 01:00 PM
Rafa, im begging you, win this and end federers dominance on hardcourts

03-04-2006, 01:14 PM
In Spain in Televisión española Canal 1 !!! :bounce:

Hola Nadalita wapísima!!! hi nadalita pretty girl!!!! :kiss:

¡¡¡Vamos Rafaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! :bounce:
Come on Rafaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! :bounce:

Good luck my little españolito!!!

television española canal 1 isn't the same one i get here in latin america is it?

03-04-2006, 01:14 PM
In Spain in Televisión española Canal 1 !!! :bounce:

Hola Nadalita wapísima!!! hi nadalita pretty girl!!!! :kiss:

¡¡¡Vamos Rafaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! :bounce:
Come on Rafaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! :bounce:

Good luck my little españolito!!!

:kiss: :kiss: hola flavia :wavey:

vamoooooooos Rafffffaaaaaaaaaa YOU CAN DO IT don't play short balls only long one on the baseline so that Federer won't be able to go to the net ;) :yeah:

03-04-2006, 04:18 PM
He won 2-6 6-4 6-4 :dance: :crazy: :woohoo: :yeah:

03-04-2006, 04:23 PM
:woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:

03-04-2006, 04:30 PM
ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

increeeeeeeeeeeeeeddddddddddddddddddddiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiibbbbbbbbbbllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeee

rafa eres el mejoooOOOOOOOOOoor !!!!!!!!!! you made me cry one more time :kiss:

03-04-2006, 04:32 PM
:woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:

:D :D :D

What drama! If Rafa keeps losing those first sets, I'm going to be a nervous wreck soon. :lol:

Rafi :worship: :worship: :worship:

Thank you for shutting up the critics. :p

03-04-2006, 04:33 PM

http://img400.imageshack.us/img400/3464/notworthy4qe.gifhttp://img400.imageshack.us/img400/3464/notworthy4qe.gifhttp://img400.imageshack.us/img400/3464/notworthy4qe.gif Rafa!!!!

Definitely catching the delayed telecast from gdtv tomolo!!!

03-04-2006, 04:41 PM
What heart! What mental strength! I'm in awe that he was able to do this! Great great win!

03-04-2006, 04:41 PM
:worship: :worship: :bounce: :bigclap: :clap2: :bowdown: :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo: :aparty: :aparty: :rolls: :crazy:

03-04-2006, 04:44 PM
http://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/yahoo.gif OH http://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/yahoo.gifMY http://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/yahoo.gifFUCKINGhttp://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/yahoo.gifNANDOhttp://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/yahoo.gif

well done :baby: http://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/icon_slide.gifhttp://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/winner_first_h4h.gif


03-04-2006, 04:47 PM
I just saw the result... OMFGN!!!! I never expected him to win, it was amazing just to see him in the final!!!! I mean, it's just great :lol:
I can't think straight anymore so I'm just going to celebrate with smileys :lol: :yippee: :woohoo: :D :D :aparty:

03-04-2006, 04:48 PM


03-04-2006, 04:48 PM
*should have put more than 500 vCash on Rafa* :o

03-04-2006, 04:50 PM
congratulations rafa, you are the BEST, no federer


03-04-2006, 04:51 PM
CONGRATS TO ALL YOU RAFA FANS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AMAZING!!!!!! INDREDIBLE!!!!!!!! :woohoo: :woohoo: :worship: :worship: :dance: :yippee: :banana: FELICITACIONES RAFAEL!!!!!!!!! FELICITACIONES A TODOS RAFA FANS. LOL, Spanish is not my stregth exactly. :o

03-04-2006, 04:52 PM
i'm sure he doesn"t believe himself that he won so do I :lol:

03-04-2006, 04:53 PM
thanks for the photos alexito36

03-04-2006, 04:55 PM
Everybody, come here! :D


:D :D :D

03-04-2006, 04:56 PM
Congrats to Rafa and all his fans for this amazing win :worship:

SIGUE ASI RAFA !!!! :bigclap: :woohoo: :bigclap: :woohoo:

03-04-2006, 04:59 PM
Everybody, come here! :D


:D :D :D
You know I cannot rep you, sorry .... :D :D :D http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/liebe/f050.gif

03-04-2006, 05:07 PM
Nadal hands Federer first defeat of year
Spaniard improves to 3-1 vs. world No. 1 after 3-set win in Dubai
Updated: 12:53 p.m. ET March 4, 2006

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Rafael Nadal lifted his first title of the year on Saturday when he beat Roger Federer 2-6 6-4 6-4 in the Dubai Open final between the world’s two players.

It was the Spanish teenager’s third win in four meetings with the Swiss world number one and followed his semi-final victory over Federer in the 2005 French Open semifinals after which Nadal went on to claim his first grand slam title.

Nadal, who earned his 13th career title, was playing only his second tournament this year after missing three months with a foot injury that kept him out of the Masters Cup in Shanghai and the Australian Open.

The defeat ended top seed Federer’s 16-match winning streak this year after he had claimed titles in Doha and at the Australian Open.

The 19-year-old Nadal was able to turn the match in his favour after Federer almost totally dominated the opening set.

Federer, seeking to win four titles at one event for the first time in his career, gave up only two points on serve as he broke to lead 2-0 with a forehand winner and won the final eight points of the set, closing it out with a spectacular over the shoulder backhand that forced an error from his opponent.

The Swiss was able to take control by mixing the pace well, often coming to the net and not letting Nadal settle.

In the second set, Federer led 1-0 and held 30-0 on Nadal’s serve, but the Spaniard pulled himself out of a potentially difficult situation.

And as Federer’s level inevitably dropped a little, Nadal became more aggressive and eventually managed to make an impact.

Nadal earned a break point to lead 3-2 but was too eager and netted his return, but his big forehand kept him in contention and he broke Federer to love to lead 5-4.

In the third set, Federer hit two aces but still dropped the opening service game when Nadal hit a powerful crosscourt forehand.

Although Federer levelled at 2-2 by hitting a forehand down the line to force a backhand error, Nadal once again broke when it counted most as Federer hit a forehand marginally wide to leave Nadal serving for victory.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

03-04-2006, 05:17 PM
You know I cannot rep you, sorry .... :D :D :D http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/liebe/f050.gif
Oh, I can't rep you either! :haha:

03-04-2006, 05:25 PM
Congrats to Rafa it was a great win

03-04-2006, 05:58 PM
Good win for Nadal, congratz!

03-04-2006, 06:08 PM
:worship: :bounce: Congrats Rafa !!! :bounce: :bowdown: :woohoo: :banana: :music: :rocker:

What a match :eek:

03-04-2006, 06:11 PM
oooh Rafa was crying into his towel afterwards aaaaaaw :hug:

03-04-2006, 06:13 PM
Oh my.... our baby crying into his towel!!!!!! :hearts: :inlove: Shows how much pressure both guys put on themselves! The pressure must really be immense. Too bad Eurosport didn't show the ceremony but at least they showed this touching moment. :hug:

03-04-2006, 06:16 PM
oooh Rafa was crying into his towel afterwards aaaaaaw :hug:

Yea I wasn't sure if he was crying or not :shrug:

03-04-2006, 06:17 PM
Congrats Rafa .... good play and deserves to win

03-04-2006, 06:19 PM
Yea I wasn't sure if he was crying or not :shrug:oh he was....;)

03-04-2006, 07:19 PM
juat...... wow..... no words..... stunned..... ecstatic... proud..... :bounce: :bounce: :bigclap: :bigclap: :banana: :banana: :banana: :music: :music: :aparty: :aparty:

03-04-2006, 07:20 PM
oooh Rafa was crying into his towel afterwards aaaaaaw :hug:

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww !!!

bagsy i give him the first hug... :devil: :angel: :devil: :angel:

awww bless the wee angel! :)

03-04-2006, 08:04 PM
i saved my first congratulatory message for rafa for this thread!!!

well done rafa!!! i cudnt watch the match live but i recorded it onl;y from the end of the first set tho so wen i sat down to watch it i wasn't too hopeful! but rafa came back like the true amazing fighter he is and gave it his all to win!!

i was soooo happy when he won...and when he started crying underneath his towl..it was such a lovely moment-i can't begin to imagine how much it means to him :hug:

vamos rafa!! now lets continue the form in indian wells! :bounce:

03-04-2006, 08:22 PM
Congrats everybody!!! :clap2: :bounce:
That was a great comeback of Nadal and hopefully there's more to come :)

03-04-2006, 08:26 PM
Whatta cry baby :rolleyes: Nice win though :yeah:

03-04-2006, 08:58 PM
A superb win for Rafa :) To not only beat Roger, but to beat him on a Hard Court is fantastic ;) I knew Rafa could beat Roger on Clay, but I must admit I didn't think he could beat him on a Hard Court. I'm very glad that Rafa proved me wrong :cool: Look out world here comes Rafa :D

03-04-2006, 09:28 PM
OK, some articles! :D

From Reuters:

Nadal beats Federer for Dubai title

Sat Mar 4, 2006 7:29 PM GMT

By Barry Wood

DUBAI, March 4 (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal lifted his first title of the year on Saturday when he beat Roger Federer 2-6 6-4 6-4 in the Dubai Open final between the world's two players.

It was the Spanish teenager's third win in four meetings with the Swiss world number one and followed his semi-final victory over Federer in the 2005 French Open semi-finals after which Nadal went on to claim his first grand slam title.

"It is unbelievable to me that I can win against the best player in the world, against one of the best in history," said Nadal, who was close to tears.

"It's very important and very special for me, especially because I was three months off the court."

Nadal, who earned his 13th career title, was playing only his second tournament this year after missing three months with a foot injury that kept him out of the Masters Cup in Shanghai and the Australian Open.

The defeat ended top seed Federer's 16-match winning streak this year after he had claimed titles in Doha and at the Australian Open.

"He deserved to win today," said Federer. "He was more consistent and I sprayed a little bit at the end. I didn't go for crazy but he really played better in the end."

The 19-year-old Nadal was able to turn the match in his favour after Federer almost totally dominated the opening set.


Federer, seeking to win four titles at one event for the first time in his career, gave up only two points on serve as he broke to lead 2-0 with a forehand winner and won the final eight points of the set, closing it out with a spectacular over the shoulder backhand that forced an error from his opponent.

The Swiss was able to take control by mixing the pace well, often coming to the net and not letting Nadal settle.

In the second set, Federer led 1-0 and was 30-0 up on Nadal's serve, but the Spaniard pulled himself out of a potentially difficult situation.

"He was playing very well, much better than me," Nadal told reporters.

"He was playing very comfortably. He was playing very aggressively with his forehand. I could do nothing because I was playing very short so for him it was very easy.

"Then he had 1-0 and 0-30 but I won the game, and when I won this game I thought I will try and win every time, and if I can get back to 3-3, 4-4, 5-5 for sure I was going to have my chance."

As Federer's level of play inevitably dropped a little, Nadal became more aggressive and he managed to make an impact.

Nadal earned a break point to lead 3-2 but was too eager and netted his return, but his big forehand kept him in contention and he broke Federer to love to lead 5-4.

"At 4-4 he made one miss and I played two good points and I got the break," said Nadal. "And when I won the second set the match changed, because he was going a little bit down and my level was going up.

"I began the third set well with a break and that gave me a lot of confidence, and although he made a break too at 2-1 I was still playing well. Then at 4-4 he had one important miss with his forehand on break point and I finished very well."

In the third set, Federer hit two aces but still dropped the opening service game when Nadal hit a powerful crosscourt forehand.

Although Federer levelled at 2-2 by hitting a forehand down the line to force a backhand error, Nadal once again broke when it counted most as Federer hit a forehand marginally wide to leave Nadal serving for victory.
http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=tennisNews&storyID=URI:urn:newsml:reuters.com:20060304:MTFH45 957_2006-03-04_19-30-21_L0478689:1

03-04-2006, 09:30 PM
From inside-tennis.net:
Nadal digs deep to beat Federer in Dubai final

Roger Federer was denied a fourth consecutive Dubai Tennis Championship title when his arch rival Rafael Nadal fought back from a set down to win 2-6 6-4 6-4, picking up a winners cheque for $187,500

In a match watched by a beyond capacity crowd of 7,000 cheering fans crammed into a stadium designed to seat 5,000, the most eagerly awaited match of the year was graced by five-time Wimbledon champion Bjorn Borg who was given the task of spinning the coin to determine who would serve first.

Nadal who with this victory has a 3-1 head-to-head lead over the world number 1, lay prostrate on the court after winning the final point to take the prestigious title in total elation, his joy complete.

Few would have predicted such an outcome after the first set which was dominated by Federer who bossed his Spanish opponent with his forehand and all court play. Nadal was struggling to keep a good length on his groundstrokes which allowed the Swiss maestro to dictate in the majority of the rallies. Federer broke the opening Nadal serve with a sublime off-forehand crosscourt winner and held to take a commanding 3-0 lead. He broke the Nadal serve again, this time to love to take the opening set at a canter in just 28 minutes, with an acutely angled backhand smash which Nadal at full stretch could not return.

At the start of the second set, the Spaniard decided to change his racquet because he was unhappy with the grip, and immediately began to play to a better length, hitting purposefully with heavy topspin. Despite falling behind 0-30 on his opening serve, he clung on and slowly from there the tide began to turn.

At 4-4 with Federer serving, the Spaniard earnt himself three break points which he converted at the first opportunity with a spectacular forehand crosscourt pass to roars of approval from his fans. He went on to serve out the set to 30 when Federer inexplicably went well long on his forehand. The Swiss serve which was so commanding in the first set with 6 aces and 67% first serve percentage, was fading fast with only a single ace in the second set and first serve percentage falling to 59%.

Nadal broke his Swiss opponent’s opening serve of the final set with a heavily whipped forehand crosscourt pass and held for a 2-0 advantage. Federer who had seemingly been in total control of the match until the last few games, found himself on the back foot. He responded as any player worthy of the world number 1 ranking would, breaking the Nadal serve in the fourth game with a huge forehand down the line, which beat Nadal for sheer pace. With both men now playing some of their best tennis at the same time, the carnival atmosphere was at a crescendo with the Nadal fans chanting, “Ole, ole, ole, ole.”

The turning point would come once again at 4-4 with Federer serving. The defending three-time champion suddenly could not find a first serve, and Nadal made the most of his opportunity sensing a weakening in the Swiss defences. He broke Federer to 30 when the Swiss rushing his forehand going for a winner sent it wide. Nadal served out a famous victory to love, taking the title when Federer’s attempted backhand pass went wide.

A disappointed Federer reflected on the match later; “Rafa was the better player on the day and deserved to win. He’s got a good record against me, but I enjoy playing him, he has a different style and I look forward to playing him again.” How he lost this match after such a commanding first set was something that gave the world number 1 food for thought; “We all knew that I was going to be the aggressive player, and him the consistent player. My serve came down a bit at the end, gave him too many second serves. He broke at just the right time. He was more consistent and played better in the end.”

For Nadal, to have won a tournament so soon after a three month lay-off, beating the world number 1 in the process was like a dream come true; “This is very important, very special for me after three months from the court.”

“In the first set, he’s playing very well, much better than me, very easy first set for him. In the second set I was down 0-30 but held my serve, and then I just concentrated on winning my serve every time to make it 3-3, then 4-4. Then he missed one shot, and I played two good points. His level in the third set was going down, and mine going up. When I broke him, it gave me a lot of confidence. Even when he broke back, I was still playing very well.”

Nadal still considers Federer not just to be the best tennis player in the world, but the best sportsman; “I admire him a lot, he is the best sportsman in the world. He is unbelievable.”

By Andre Jones (in Dubai)

03-04-2006, 09:33 PM
From BBC:
Federer undone by Nadal in Dubai

World number two Rafael Nadal recovered from a set down to repeat his 2005 French Open semi-final defeat of Roger Federer and win the Dubai Open title.
Federer, previously unbeaten in 2006, looked like easing home as he broke Nadal twice in winning the first set.

But the 19-year-old hit back against the world number one, gaining crucial breaks in the ninth game of each set to close out a 2-6 6-4 6-4 victory.

The win, in just under two hours, brought Nadal's 13th career title.

The Spaniard, playing in only his fifth match since returning from a long-term foot injury, appeared to be heading for a speedy defeat after a one-sided opening set.

Federer was in unstoppable form, dropping just six points on his serve as a mix of backcourt winners and volleys at the net saw him ease to a one-set lead.

However, from a game and 0-30 down in the second, Nadal finally found his form, firing a string of winners to break the Swiss to love at 5-4 before serving out to level the tie.

The pair exchanged breaks at the start of the third set but, with Federer wilting, Nadal once again broke when it counted most to help him to his third win in four matches against the 26-year-old.

An emotional Nadal said: "To beat Roger is special, I am so happy.

"I was crying a little bit but that was because it has been difficult in the last three months. This comeback is special for me."

But he modestly ruled himself out of the running to supercede Federer at the top of the rankings.

"No way! I don't have a chance. For me he's unbelievable. I will continue with my comeback and I am just happy with that."

But Federer, whose defeat ended a 56-match unbeaten streak on hard courts, predicted a long rivalry between the pair.

"We knew I would be the aggressive player and he would be the consistent player," he said.

"I made some mistakes but I am still pleased with my game, it's just that Rafa was better on the day. It was a great effort by him and I think we are going to have a fantastic rivalry."

03-04-2006, 09:34 PM
From ESPN.com:
Forget A-Rod, Nadal looms as Federer's great nemesis
By Whit Sheppard
Special to ESPN.com

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- In the latest installment of a budding rivalry that just might reach Sampras-Agassi or Borg-McEnroe proportions one day, teenage phenom Rafael Nadal of Spain extended his mastery over world No. 1 Roger Federer, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, Saturday in the finals of the Dubai Duty Free Men's Open.

Nadal, 19, now holds a 3-1 career advantage over the seven-time Grand Slam winner, who's widely touted to eventually surpass Pete Sampras' 14 career Grand Slams. Nadal fired an important first salvo in the battle for supremacy between the pair in 2006 in front of a crowd that included 11-time Grand Slam winner Borg.

Nadal is one of two players with a winning record against Federer.
The world No. 2, winner of last year's French Open among his 11 titles in 2005, was playing in just his second tournament since injuring his left foot last October at the Madrid Masters Series tournament.

"To be out for three months with the injury and then to beat Roger is a very special thing," said Nadal. "It's unbelieveable for me."

In the process, Nadal snapped Federer's 56-match winning streak on hard-courts, handing him his first loss on the surface since he lost a semifinal match to Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open.

Men's tennis has been without a compelling rivalry since Sampras laid down his racket after his 2002 U.S. Open win over Agassi, bringing to an end a storied, 13-year rivalry with his compatriot in which Sampras finished with a 20-14 lifetime edge.

And while many in and around the game had hoped that Andy Roddick would be able to provide Federer with a worthy foil, that hoped-for rivalry has failed to take off. As Roddick said after one of his two consecutive losses to Federer in the 2004 and 2005 Wimbledon finals, "Rivalry? I've got to win one of these to make it a rivalry." Federer holds a 10-1 lifetime advantage over Roddick.

But whenever Nadal's looming on the other side of the draw from the otherwise incomparable Swiss, Federer's path to tennis immortality faces a formidable roadblock.

For his part, Nadal says all the right things in his limited but improving English. He's seemingly content to play Avis to Federer's Hertz and showered his opponent with praise after the match.

"He's the best sportsman, I think, in the world" said Nadal. "He has a lot of humble."

When asked if his thoughts were on supplanting Federer at No. 1, Nadal said he was only looking ahead to the coming week's Masters Series tournament in Indian Wells, and quite content for the moment to be No. 2 to the "unbelievable" Federer.

But it's evident that Nadal has the weaponry to disrupt the immensely talented Swiss, and a competitive will that few players exhibit so nakedly or to such advantage.

Along with his trademark shouts of "Vamos!" and his his leaping fist-pump after big points, Nadal's body language at the outset of the match spoke volumes.

After the players met at the net for the coin flip that would determine who served first, Nadal sprinted back to the baseline, doing a bob-and-weave that conjured images of players sprinting through the tunnel when introduced at the Super Bowl, while Federer coolly strolled to his baseline.

For his part, Federer seemed unfazed by the loss, his first in 2006 after 16 consecutive wins.

"Rafa was just better today. I gave him too many chances on second serves in the last two sets and he broke me at the right time [to go up 5-4 in each of the last two sets].

"I think he deserved to win, he was more consistent and played better in the end."

Asked what Nadal is able to do to him that other players are not, Federer paused for a moment before answering.

"He's a good player, I've never denied it. He's such a good lefty and that doesn't make it any easier on the serve and with the cross-court forehand."

The only other player who sports a winning record (two matches or more) against the Swiss is Argentina's David Nalbandian, who holds a 6-4 lifetime advantage against Federer, greatly helped by winning their first five matches.

The win here in Dubai is sure to provide a big boost to the Spaniard's confidence heading into the two Masters Series tournaments this month in Indian Wells and in Miami.

With his foot injury apparently healed and specially made orthopedic shoes on the way from Nike, Nadal looks to be in good shape to provide men's tennis with the other half of the rivalry that it's been looking for. For the moment, on any surface other than Wimbledon's grass, he's clearly capable, all of his self-deprecation aside, of turning the tables on Federer and closing the gap that exists at the top of the men's game.

Whit Sheppard is a Paris-based sportswriter and writes for a variety of international publications.


03-04-2006, 09:38 PM
And I can't help myself, must do some more dancing. ;)

:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:

03-04-2006, 10:11 PM
:worship: Well done Rafa :bigclap: such a great win :D very happy for him

thanks for the articles :hug:

03-04-2006, 10:14 PM
OOOOOMG i just came home and wowow i am really really happy to see this. i saw him lose the first set and i was ready to accept his loss if it were to happen but YAY this boy never ceases to amaze me :D :D

:banana: :banana: :banana:

03-04-2006, 10:15 PM
oh and nice to be back. i dont think anyone missed me but yes i am back :lol:

03-04-2006, 10:17 PM

:aparty: :aparty: :banana: :crazy: :crazy: :woohoo: :woohoo: :bounce: :bounce: :smash: :smash:

03-04-2006, 10:19 PM
oh and nice to be back. i dont think anyone missed me but yes i am back :lol:
Welcome back! :hug: :D

03-04-2006, 10:24 PM
:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

:clap2: :clap2: :clap2: :clap2: :clap2:

:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:


isn't he just amazing i still can't belive,but it's true he beat Federer,ohhh my sweet chico


03-04-2006, 10:53 PM
rafa was down 2-6 1-2 on the live score before i went to sleep (the stupid cable never showed this tournamemnt on tv..grrr!!!)... i had already came with excuses for rafa's probable loss (it's just rafa's 2nd tournament after coming back from injury lay-off, and roger is possibly a player from another planet ;)...

but when i woke up this morning, the headlines says 'nadal snaps federer's streak'.


can this sunday gets any better?? (well if only martina hingis managed to get to doha final and win there... but anyway, you can't have everything lol)

good day everyone!


03-04-2006, 11:14 PM
:clap2: Congratulations Rafa on a significant win--first win over Rogi in a final and on hardcourt too!

:awww: I would have loved to see Rafa crying--shows how much this win meant to him after his long layoff with injury. :)

Rafa = Fed Killa
03-05-2006, 12:45 AM
You did it Rafa.
Huge hardcourt victory. :worship:

03-05-2006, 02:12 AM
:bounce: :yeah:

03-05-2006, 03:37 AM
RAFAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

FINALLY someone beats Federer...rock on!!!

03-05-2006, 06:59 AM
read that he actually cried after the match? any photos??? hehe...

after having career threatening injury lay off, i guess it's easy to feel overwhelmed now that he's back on high level..

03-05-2006, 07:16 AM
:clap2: Congratulations Rafa on a significant win--first win over Rogi in a final and on hardcourt too!

:awww: I would have loved to see Rafa crying--shows how much this win meant to him after his long layoff with injury. :)

Like your new avatar, RogiFan88!!

03-05-2006, 07:33 AM
Emirates Today ePaper
5 March 2006
Ahmed Abbas Rizvi Sports Reporter

All rise for King Rafael




Rafael Nadal is no longer just a pretender to the throne, nor is he the prince-in-waiting anymore. He is ready to be crowned king – so sound the trumpets and call a feast, and pay your homage to the “El Nino Fenomenal”.

He deserves it. What mere mortal could have come back from the heavenly tennis that Roger Federer played in the first set? The 19-year-old Spaniard did, winning the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

It was Nadal’s third win in four matches over Federer and it stopped the world No 1’s bid for a fourth successive Dubai crown. It also ended Federer’s 29-match winning streak in the Middle East and stopped his Open-era record hardcourt winning streak at 56.

But the match was not about statistics – it was a match that you will rave about for long; remember the genius of the two men on court, their flair and finesse, their incredible artistry and splendid skills. But more than the match itself, you will remember the moments at the end as an emotional Nadal rolled over the court, clutching his fist in ecstasy. We’ll remember his red eyes, desperately holding back tears.

The emotions were understandable. For few in the packed stands would have given him even a fleeting chance as Federer romped through the first set.

The Swiss ace, determined to silence the doubters, dished out a feast that should gag them for eternity. He put the best shots from his arsenal on display and even weapons that few could imagine existed.The destruction they caused was simply numbing, and definitely humbling for the second-best player in the world. But there was beauty in the plunder and art amid the ruins.

The 24-year-old ace hit every shot imaginable and from angles that defied imagination. If the heavens ever needed a game of tennis, few could lay a bigger claim than this. To put it simply, Federer was spellbinding, beautiful and faultless.

The Swiss maestro was expressionless, but impregnable in spirit and mind and Nadal’s monstrous groundstrokes could hardly find their way past him. His forehands came at will, accurate and incredibly beautiful despite the venom they carried and the destruction they wreaked.

The serves whizzed past the Spaniard, and the chips and charge at the net were, with due apologies to cricket’s Michael Holding, “whispering death” – lethal but inviting, a lot like the “honey traps” of the Allies.

So cruel was Federer’s excessive mastery that you almost felt pity for Nadal. The Spaniard is no novice – he has been phenomenal in the past year, winning 11 titles and 79 of his 89 matches in 2005. But such was Federer’s venom that the first set was over even before the fans had settled into their seats – just 27 minutes.

But after the storm came the lull. Or perhaps, as Federer was creating his masterpiece – or mayhem – Nadal was taking notes from the master.

The Spanish dynamo showed that he is the real “prince-in-waiting” and not just a pretender for the No 1 crown, recovering from the wreckage of the first set to win the second.

From the thumping that few could have returned, Nadal rose like the Phoenix, his armourplated confidence intact. He broke the Swiss in the ninth game with a whipping forehand that matched in excellence the many Federer had played earlier. He then served out for the set, surviving a terse examination from Federer.

A magical backhand from the back that streamed past a lunging Federer, gave Nadal a break in the first game of the third set. But the Swiss levelled scores at 2-2, breaking Nadal with a classy forehand that the Spaniard could only push into the net.

As the set progressed, Federer increasingly seemed like the storm clouds that have just dumped their load. There was the occasional lightning that gave a frightening reminder of the brilliance of the man. But he wasn’t ominous anymore… the terror had disappeared.

A relentless Nadal, who beat Federer in the French Open semifinal on his 19th birthday (June 30), continued to put pressure on Federer, hounding the Australian Open champion.

It was finally rewarded as the Swiss hit a forehand wide at 4-4, 30-40 to give Nadal the matchwinning break. He then served out for the match, elated after clinching it…. rolling on the court in delight… holding back his tears… Dubai has certainly seen one of the greatest matches of all time, or maybe, the change of the baton as well.

Federer salutes Nadal as teen claims his title

Roger Federer concedes the better player won the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open after going down to Rafael Nadal in a classic final.

The world No 1 made a brilliant start, winning the first set 6-2 in just 27 minutes, but was upset as the Spaniard fought back to win the next two sets 6-4, 6-4.

A humbled Federer, who failed to make it four wins on the trot in the Dubai event, said: “He was the better player on the day and deserved to win.”

“I think I was playing really well for one-and-a-half sets, but unfortunately my serve slipped a little bit towards the end.”

“I gave him too many chances on my second serve – it is a pity that it happened both times at 4-4. If you are broken in the first, second or third game, you always have a chance to break back. He broke me just at the right time and that just killed it for me.”

“I believe that if I had held that game, things would have been very difficult for him.” Nadal’s win ended Federer’s 29-match winning streak in the Middle East and was the Swiss star’s first defeat in 2006.

Federer added: “Obviously I cannot play at the same level all through the match – he was just consistent all the way through.”

“I didn’t go for crazy but he really played better in the end.”

Nadal was delighted with the victory, ranking it amongst his most memorable.

“It was an unbelievable match,” said the 19-year-old.

“I won against the best player in the world and one of the greatest of all time.” This was Nadal’s third victory over Federer in four matches, including victory in the semifinal of last year’s French Open.

But the world No 2, who was tearful at the end, says this was the best. He was playing only his second event after injury and added: “This one was different than the last two wins because I have been away for three months.

“It is a very special moment for me. When I won the second set, the match changed.”

“His level was going down and my level was going up. At no time did I think I was going to lose.”

03-05-2006, 07:39 AM


Nadal Upsets Federer in Dubai Tennis Championships Final


World No. 2 Rafael Nadal upset No. 1 Roger Federer 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships Saturday, running the 19-year-old Spaniard's record to 3-1 against his 24-year-old Swiss rival.

Nadal won the match despite winning less points: 71 to Federer's 78. They each broke serve three times, but Nadal won the points that mattered.

Nadal evened his record in finals against Federer at 1-1, avenging Federer's five-set win in Miami last April. Nadal's other wins against Federer came in the semifinals of the French Open last year and in the third round at Miami two years ago.

Nadal improved his overall record in finals to 13-2 and has won his last 10. The last final he lost was in Miami to Federer. The victory ties Nadal with Mats Wilander for second place among teen titles winners with 13, trailing Bjorn Borg's record 16. Nadal turns 20 June 3.

This was only the second tournament back for Nadal after injuring his foot during his title run in Madrid last October. In February, Nadal reached the semifinals of Marseille, losing to tournament champion Arnaud Clement.

The win Saturday improved Nadal's record for the year to 7-1. He had played in Dubai once before, reaching the quarterfinals in 2004, when he lost to Mikhail Youzhny.

Federer was seeking his fourth straight title in Dubai. A win would have made this the only tournament that the Swiss sensation has won four times. Federer was playing in his ninth straight final. The only other crown he failed to capture among those nine was the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai last November, where he lost in five sets to David Nalbandian. That was his last loss until Saturday.

The defeat left Federer with a mark of 16-1 for the year. It broke his 56-match, Open-era record winning streak on hard courts. Federer also had won 29 matches in a row in the Middle East. In addition, the loss snapped Federer's string of 22 hard-court finals victories. He last lost a hard court final in 2002 at Miami to Andre Agassi.


Rafa's first audio file in English!!!! http://wm.atptennis-global.speedera.net/wm.atptennis-global/nadal_dubai6.WMA

Rafa's audio file in Spanish: http://wm.atptennis-global.speedera.net/wm.atptennis-global/nadal_dubai6.1.WMA

Nadal: “It’s an unbelievable tournament for me. This match is unbelievable, because he began very well, winning the first set easily. I came back playing better, and he started to miss some shots. My level went up a bit, while his went down, so the level was equal after the first two games of the second set.”

“I was trying to win my service games all the time. I knew if I could hold serve, going 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, for sure I would get my chances. At 4-4 in the second set, he had one miss, and I played two good points and could break. After I won the second set, the match changed.”

“This victory is very special for me. I couldn’t imagine this when I came here. I am very happy, especially after having been away from the court for three months. It’s unbelievable and unforgettable for me.”

On Federer: “We have a good relationship. He is an unbelievable person. For me he is the best sportsman in the world, I admire him a lot.”

“That I can win against the best player in the world, against one of the best players in history, is important and very special to me.”

On shedding a few tears after the victory: “I was crying a little bit. But that’s normal. I had some difficult moments in the last three months. I was crying a lot of times in the last three months. This win is very special for me, and I’m very happy. You can’t control your emotions.”

Federer: “I thought I played pretty well tonight actually. Unfortunately, I couldn’t play better when it mattered the most, at 4-4 in the second and third sets, where I got broken both times. It was tricky because I thought I played extremely well in the first one and a half sets.”

“Unfortunately, he really got into the match at the end of the second set. I came back well in the beginning of the third and thought I was in control of the match again, but sometimes I maybe just went for too much on the forehand. He makes it hard, counterpunching so well.”

“It was a very open match, it could have gone either way. Unfortunately for me, the more consistent guy won tonight. I was hoping to be able to come through with an aggressive game plan. It was very, very close, but he was better on the day.”

“Losing in finals is the worst. I prefer to lose in the first round to be honest. I’ve won so many finals, and probably I’ve had my luck in the last couple of years. Dubai has been great to me. I’ve won here three times in a row. It could have been a fourth, but I’m not too disappointed after all. I’m pretty much pleased with my performance, and I now look forward to the hard courts in America.“

03-05-2006, 08:23 AM
Kansas City Star

Federer finally falls, and a healed Nadal is the reason

Rafael Nadal of Spain (above) needed less than two hours to end Roger Federer’s 56-match win streak.

Rafael Nadal, playing only his second tournament in four months, beat top-ranked Roger Federer Saturday in the final of the Dubai Open.

Federer had won the event the last three years. The Swiss star had captured his two other tournaments in 2006 — the Australian Open and Doha Open.

Nadal, seeded and ranked second, ended Federer’s 56-match hardcourt winning streak. The Spaniard won 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in less than two hours.

“I think it is unbelievable to win against the best player in the world — perhaps the best in history of the game,” said Nadal, who broke down in tears on court. “It was also special because I was out of the game for more than three months. I cried because I was happy.”

The 19-year-old Nadal, the 2005 French Open champion, recently recovered from a foot injury that kept him out of most tournaments the last four months. He made his return in Marseille two weeks ago, where he reached the semifinals.

Completely outplayed in the first set, Nadal changed his tactics in the second set.

“He was playing too well in the first set, very aggressive. I could do nothing,” Nadal said. “In the second, I told myself just to hold my serve, and try and be aggressive on his serve and hopefully get a break.

“I also applied more topspin on my forehand. Once I won the second game after being 0-30 down, my confidence also went up.”

03-05-2006, 09:00 AM
Thanks, veyonce! :hug:

From the Independent:

Nadal finds fight to break Federer stride

Spanish teenager ends world No 1's winning streak

By Paul Newman in Dubai
Published: 05 March 2006

http://img224.imageshack.us/img224/9000/nadal050306105223b3ez.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Nadal beat world No 1 Roger Federer 2-6 6-4 6-4 in Dubai

He is vulnerable after all. Roger Federer's run of 16 unbeaten matches this year, which included victory in the Australian Open, came to a remarkable end here last night when he was beaten in three exhilarating sets by Rafael Nadal in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Open.

In a contest worthy of a meeting between the world's two best players, Nadal turned his fortunes around after being comprehensively outplayed in the first set to record his third victory in his four matches against the world No 1. The Spaniard's 2-6 6-4 6-4 victory ended Federer's 56-match winning sequence on hard courts.

Yet for a set and a half it had been a case of man against boy as the 24-year-old gave the 19-year-old a demonstration of the art of hard court tennis. Nadal, standing 10 feet behind the baseline, hit far too many half-court balls which Federer gleefully punished. If the Swiss did not hit an immediate winner he was usually on hand to finish the point with a volley.

The opening three games looked ominous for Nadal. Federer won the first with two volleys and two aces, the second with a fine combination of backhand and forehand drives and the third with two more aces. Nadal hung on to his next two service games but Federer broke again, to love, to take the set.

The Spaniard, however, is nothing if not a fighter and as the second set developed he began hitting the ball harder and finding a better length. Federer had had to save only one break point before the match suddenly turned when Nadal broke to lead 5-4. Federer played a poor game, charging recklessly into the net behind approach shots which lacked penetration, and Nadal duly served out to take the set.

Nadal immediately broke again in the final set, rounding off the first game with a booming forehand cross-court winner, but Federer levelled at 2-2 to set up a thrilling finale. There were no further breaks until Nadal went 5-4 ahead when Federer, almost unbelievably, hit three dreadful forehands.

The Spaniard did not show a trace of nerves as he served out to love to win the match and celebrated his victory by falling flat on his back and clutching his head in his hands.

"Rafa was better on the day," Federer said afterwards. An emotional Nadal found himself short of words. "To beat Roger is special," he said. "I'm very happy."


03-05-2006, 10:37 AM

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR WIN...!! It is such a great effort making it to the final, let alone winning the title and defeating Federer...

VAMOS.... :worship:

03-05-2006, 03:30 PM
great win :bigclap: congrats Rafa :)

03-05-2006, 05:47 PM
Congrats Rafa!!! :worship:

03-05-2006, 06:41 PM
awwwwwwww our wee boy is all growing up and speaking english!!!! how cute was he in the english audio??!! i just want to scoop him up (would be quite difficult seeing as i'm only 5ft 3) and take him home and.... do..... naughty things....

tee hee

ahem. anyway CONRATS RAFA!! You did us so so proud

03-06-2006, 01:48 AM
RAFAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

FINALLY someone beats Federer...rock on!!!

I guess you missed TMC Shanghai05 then... :p

03-06-2006, 02:00 AM
Emirates Today ePaper
Nadal’s tears of joy reveals the passion of a born winner
6 March 2006
Ahmed Abbas Rizvi Sports Reporter


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Tears often carry the same weight of speech.

Remember Jana Novotna losing at Wimbledon in 1998? Or Gabriel Batistuta at the 2002 World Cup after Argentina’s first round exit? Or Roger Federer last month at the Australian Open?

Those misty red eyes said more than a thousand words, just like Rafael Nadal’s after his amazing win over Roger Federer in the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open on Saturday night.

The Spaniard struggled to express himself in English, but those pearly drops trickling down his cheeks touched your heart more than any words could have if he was a Wordsworth or Shakespeare incarnate.

“I was crying a little bit, but that is normal,” said the 19-year ld after his third win over the “invincible” Federer in four matches. “It was a very emotional moment for me. Emotional because I had just beaten the greatest player in the history of tennis and the greatest sportsman of our generation. This win was very special for me and when you are so happy sometimes you cannot control your tears.” It wasn’t the first time in recent months that Nadal had found himself crying. There have been many days and night, when the Mallorcan was turned to tears in his solitude as he nursed a foot injury, picked up on his way to the title in Madrid Masters last October.

“I have cried a lot of times in the last three months,” he revealed. “Tennis is the most important thing in my life and I missed the competition.” Tears also welled up when Nadal watched an emotional Federer on television after his Australian Open triumph. The emotions were mixed – he was happy for Federer, but depressed not to be in Melbourne himself.

After a phenomenal year that saw him leap from world No 51 to No 2 and win 11 titles, Nadal was forced to miss the Tennis Masters Cup in November and skip the Australian Open because of the foot injury.

“It was a very difficult decision [to skip Australian Open],” said Nadal, who had celebrated his 19th birthday on June 3 last year with a stunning win over Federer in the French Open semi-final.

“I felt really bad to miss the Australian Open.”

“I was injured for three months and I think if I had decided to go to Melbourne, I would not have been at 100 per cent. And worse, I could have aggravated my injury.”

“So it was a tough choice for me and I had to make a decision on what was best for my injury and not go by my heart.”

“It is the first Grand Slam of the year and I think I would have had a good chance on the Melbourne hard courts.The weather would have suited me too.”

Confident as he is about his prospects on hard courts, the French Open champion does not believe he is the best on the surface.

“I don’t think I am as good as Federer,” said Nadal, who has now won his last 10 finals.

“I have beaten him three times [twice on hard courts] and he has beaten me just once, but he is still the best.”

“I admire him a lot – for me he is the best sportsman in the world. He is an unbelievable person and a very humble man, which is not easy when you are such a big star.” Such is Nadal’s reverence of Federer that he can’t imagine dethroning the Swiss from the top of men’s tennis, even though the world is getting ready to crown him.

“I am far, far away from the No 1,” he said. “I am not even thinking about it – I am just thinking about the tournaments in Miami and Indian Wells.”

“I just want to keep playing and make sure I remain injury free. Improving my game over the next few years is more important to me. I need to improve my serve and my volley a lot. I need to learn to play a little bit more aggressively at times, especially on hard courts and grass. Most importantly, I need to improve my mentality on grass courts.”

Nadal’s victory in Dubai ended Federer’s 29-match winning streak in the Middle East and stopped his Open-era record hard court winning streak at 56. The loss was also the Swiss’ first defeat of 2006 in 17 matches. It was also Federer’s 10th loss in 45 finals and it left the Swiss searching for answers as the Spaniard made him look like a mortal.

“He is a totally different player – left-handed – and I don’t play them often. So that’s the thing, I think,” said the 24-year-old sensation, whose last defeat in a final was to David Nalbandian at the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai last November.

“If there were a lot more lefties in the game, I would look a lot more mortal too.”

“He is a good player and I have always said it. No one denies that. He’s going to keep it up I am sure.”

“I have been close every time I have played him, except the first time when I was sick.”

“The more I play him, the more I will figure out his game too. Because he is a lefty, and such a good lefty, it makes it really hard. It doesn’t make it easier with the serve and the forehand crosscourt, which comes on my backhand side. It is just a case of getting used to that.” Denied a fourth successive crown in Dubai, Federer has now set his sights on defending his No1 ranking and challenging Nadal on the Roland Garros clay.

“To protect the No 1 ranking is a big priority for me as is winning Wimbledon, even if not more,” he said. “Everybody is well aware of what the French Open means to me, not just for this year but for the rest of my life so long as I don’t win it.”

“I had some fantastic results on hard courts last year and I hope I can keep that up. I hope I can always defend titles or win titles I haven’t won yet. I just hope for a good season and win many matches… I enjoy that.”

03-06-2006, 04:42 AM
Published: 03/06/2006 12:00 AM (UAE)

Nadal puts his troubles behind
By Alaric Gomes, Staff Reporter


Dubai: Rafael Nadal is pretty relieved after putting his career back on track with a victory over reigning champion Roger Federer in the final on Saturday night.

"It has been a difficult moment for me personally after having to spend three months with the injury," said the Spaniard at a press conference.

The importance of the victory was underlined from the fact that he paused a brief moment to soak in the occasion while answering questions from David Mercer after winning the title.

And it was even more special as he rallied from a set down to defeat his much illustrious rival to clinch the Dubai Duty Free Open crown.

"I was crying a bit. It has been a very difficult time for me in the recent past, and today everything was just coming together and I was winning in only my second tournament this year," Nadal stated.

The 19-year-old from Mallorca made his comeback at Marseille, where he lost in the semifinals.

"I got a bit emotional, but that happens to me sometimes," Nadal shrugged.

Three-time Dubai Open champion Federer, though losing out to the second best player in the world, was gracious in defeat.

"I think all knew that I was the more aggressive player and he was the more consistent one," Federer said.

"My serve dipped in the second set and he made use of the chances that came his way."

Nadal is proving to be Federer's nemesis and the Spaniard once again live up to the reputation that he is the successor to the Swiss world No 1's throne.

Their meeting in Dubai was the fourth and Nadal presently holds a 3-1 advantage.

Nadal had taken a 1-0 lead following his third round win against Federer in Miami in 2004. But Federer came right back to notch up his lone win against the Spaniard in the Miami final in April last year.

However, a month later the Spaniard had avenged his defeat in an epic semifinals at Roland Garros. "He (Nadal) is a totally different player. To start with, he's a left-hander, and we don't have too many good left-handers on the Tour," Federer said.

"We don't play much too often against each other, and any time we've done so, it has been very close."

And the world No 1 player also holds his teenage opponent in high esteem.

"I've always maintained that Nadal is a great player," Federer said.

"And the more I play him, the more I'll be in a position to figure out his game."

Federer also indicated that he was prepared for future battles against the Spaniard, possibly starting with the ATP Masters Series in Indian Wells, which begins today.

"At the moment I am just happy getting off to such a great start."

I hope there will be more such meetings between us, and that would account for some very good tennis for the spectators," he said.

03-06-2006, 01:40 PM
nou.amic of vr.com translated another article with lots of quotes from Rafa. :worship:
Nadal says that being number one is still far off

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Rafael Nadal on his arrival Sunday midday at Palma's Son San Juan Airport.

PALMA, Sunday, 05 March 2006.- Rafael Nadal is back home. On his arrival in Palma from the Arab Emirates after defeating Roger Federer in the Dubai tournament (2-6; 6-4; 6-4) to win his first title of the year, the Mallorcan world number two stated that his chances of shortly dethroning the Swiss player are slim: "I don't have much chance of being number one this year."

Speaking on his arrival at Son San Juan Airport, Nadal said that his aims for 2006 are to make a 100% recovery from his injury, qualify for the Masters, and end the year in the top eight.

"It would be a big mistake to start celebrating because I've beaten the world number one. It was just one match and he (Roger Federer) has already won the Australian Open, Doha, and was finalist in Dubai. That's a lot of points of difference," he pointed out.

Nadal told EFE: "I was delighted to be in the Dubai final, and to defeat the number one, too, because winning a tournament like this after being four months out with an injury means that I'm back at a good level."

He added that he had been surprised to get to the final in Dubai and that beating Federer boosted his confidence for the next tournaments in the United States. "It has also given me important ranking points," he said.

Nadal also explained why he wept after defeating Federer. "When you spend such a long time without being able to compete because of injury, you really have a bad time and, because of that, when I won, I remembered how much I had suffered and I started to cry. That was the only reason."

He also recalled some of the details of his victory over the Swiss player, who before that had collected 56 wins in a row.

"It was in the third set when I thought 'there's a chance here', because you always play the decisive games with more confidence and morale after unexpectedly winning the second set," Nadal declared.

He also said that he has a good relationship with Federer, whom he has now beaten twice on fast surfaces (Dubai and Miami 2004). "On the bench before the prize giving ceremony, we talked a little about the season ahead of us," he explained.

When asked about his goal of being number one, he insisted that it was "further away than last year", because "beating Federer in this match means only that I'm well on the way to recovery."

He is confident about the next tournaments, beginning with Indian Wells, although he says "You never know what's going to happen, because each one is a different story. But, here in Dubai I've felt like a player again, which didn't happen in Marseille, although I played better than I expected. I found it difficult to move there. Here it was very different, and that will be a great help to me."
Spanish article:

03-06-2006, 02:41 PM
From The Khaleej Times:

Nothing can stop Nadal

By Cherian Thomas
6 March 2006

DUBAI — Some of those shots were simply amazing. At times everything looked like an orchestrated optical illusion. Right from the time Swedish legend Bjorn Borg walked on court for the toss till fireworks illuminated the clear skies above Dubai, there was never a moment that did not please the soul. It was an evening of surreal images and feelings.

Roger Federer's three-year reign here finally ended. In the process, a man-boy from Manacor on the island of Mallorca, off the coast of Spain, showed 400 million viewers around the world — and the 7,000 packed into a 5,000 capacity centre court — what the future of men's tennis looks like.

On a day when spectators wanted something to remember and the press needed something to write about, Rafael Nadal and all of 19, provided all the drama that was necessary.

Nadal's grit and gumption, his dare and determination combined with speed, balance and power in a display of intense athleticism should keep the UAE tennis fraternity and the Press corps here content for yet another year.

On rewinding the men's final in the mind's eye the match, like a good script, had three parts. The first part of 28 minutes saw Federer assert his superiority with a quick 6-2 romp.

Then comes the meat of the story. The next 83 minutes saw the contest swing first one way and then the other. Nadal huffed and puffed to stay alive. His two-fisted backhand returns were fierce despite all its basic simplicity.

But Federer who made the crowd hold their breadth and gasp with the audacity of his shots. The acuteness of the angle of some of his shots dazzled the eye. Did the ball fall in or did it go out? Luckily the linesmen had sharp vision.

The rallies between two of the best players on the plant today and two good baseline players was at times hypnotic. The second set was an exhibition of combative brilliance with Nadal eventually stepping up a gear or "upped my level of play" as he said to get on par; 6-4 to Nadal and we were in for a match on our hands.

The last chapter, of 42 minutes, was almost all Nadal. With his sleeveless tops and hair tied in piratical style, Nadal's steely demeanour makes him look positively menacing. The kind of guy you'd want to avoid in a dark alley.

Nadal's look did not make Federer miss a heart-beat. But Nadal's will to hang in there and trade shot for shot did. It was probably the raw courage and the fearlessness of his youth that turned the tide in Nadal's favour.

In the end when a Federer shot sailed wide, Nadal fell backwards on court, raised his arms in triumph and, very Federer-like, shed a few tears. Of course, there was operatic grief from the Swiss army of fans while the Spanish Armada roared in delight.

This was Nadal's third win in four meetings. Federer later admitted his only win was quite a fluke. "I got lucky that time," said Federer.

Despite the win the Spaniard refused to consider himself ready for the top spot. "I may have beaten him (Federer) three times. But he's still the best. He's an unbelievable person, very humble and I admire him a lot," said Nadal.

Federer said he needed to face Nadal more often. "The more I play him the more I'll figure out how to play him. He's a lefty and a good lefty (at that) and I don't get to face many lefties," said the Swiss ace.

"My serve came down a bit and he broke me at the right times. He was more consistent today and deserved to win," added Federer.

One thing is for sure, with their impeccable manners and splendid images, Nadal and Federer added a new chapter to the tennis folklore here. With both promising to return, this is just the beginning.

03-06-2006, 02:47 PM
And another one from Khaleej Times Online, summing up the tournament. I skipped the part about the WTA tournament.

Two weeks to remember
By A Corrrespondent

6 March 2006
DUBAI — A tournament cannot ask for any more than to have the world number one and two players fighting it out in the final, and that is what happened at the Dubai Open tennis championships, bringing a spectacular two weeks of action to a fitting climax as Rafael Nadal claimed a stunning 2-6 6-4 6-4 victory over defending champion Roger Federer.

A record 125,000 people attended and not one of them would have gone away disappointed after witnessing many of the world's top stars playing at the highest level. All the corporate seating was snapped up within days of going on sale, and the semi-finals and final of both the women's and men's events were also sold out well in advance, as well as many evening sessions. Tickets were even hard to come by from the very first day of competition, as there was frenzied interest in a first round match in the women's event.

[part about the women's tournament]

The men's week also drew huge crowds, and the story of the first round was Marat Safin, who was playing his first match since August because of a knee injury. He didn't expect much of himself and he was just interested to see how his knee held up, but he surprised himself by upsetting third seed and world number five Nikolay Davydenko 4-6 6-2 6-2.

“I didn't expect to win,” said Safin. “I couldn't really think I would make even a set. I was coming out to play a few games and make sure I was moving okay and get back the rhythm.”

Fifth seed David Ferrer and sixth seed Dominik Hrbaty also failed to reach the second round, and there were two more upsets in the second round, as Tim Henman recovered from 2-5 in the final set to beat seventh seed Radak Stepanek, and little-known German Bjorn Phau upset Andre Agassi 7-5 7-5.

Although he won 7-6 6-4, Roger Federer had a difficult time in reaching the quarter-finals, as he was challenged well by Kuwait's Mohammed Al Ghareeb. By the quarter-finals, only top seeds Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were left, and they progressed smoothly with Federer beating Robin Vik, playing only his 28th match on the tour, and Nadal overcoming a strong first set challenge to beat Henman 7-6 6-1.

The semifinals were also straight-forward for the top two, with Federer taking less than an hour to beat Mikhail Youzhny 6-2 6-3, and Nadal defeating Rainer Schuettler 6-4 6-2. And so to the final everyone was hoping for.

It looked at first as if it would be quick, and Federer would win four titles at the same event for the first time in his career. But after Federer dominated the first set Nadal raised his game as Federer inevitably let down a little with his, and a crucial break at 4-4 in both the second and third sets earned the Spanish teenager his 13th career title.

“It is unbelievable to me that I can win against the best player in the world, against one of the best in history,” said Nadal. “It's very important and very special for me, especially because I was three months out of the court with my foot injury.”

Federer made no excuses and said that his opponent had been the better player on the day. “He deserved to win today. He was more consistent and I sprayed the ball a little bit at the end. I didn't go for crazy, but he really played better in the end.”

As Rafael Nadal flew away to his next tournament he also was full of praise for an event he considers one of the best on the tour. “The public was unbelievable with me,” said the Spanish teenager. “Every day the court was full when I played and they supported me a lot and I want to say thank you very much to everybody.

“I already had good memories of Dubai from the last time I was here, and I love it. It's one of my favourite tournaments. It's a special place, a city built in the desert. In a few years, if not already, it will be one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world.”

03-06-2006, 02:56 PM
From www.7days.ae:
Hard to find fault with matchless tennis
Monday, 06 March 2006

Last year we had Mirza-Mania, this year we went nutty over Nadal. The Dubai Tennis Championships served up an ace again writes Claire Sharrock. The Dubai Tennis Championships surpassed itself again this year - and this is my fifth, so that’s not just PR guff.

When the line-up for the 2006 tournament was announced, I have to admit to some serious scepticism over just how many of the big names would actually turn up.

Don’t get me wrong, the tournament always attract a strong field, but the player list sent out in late January read like a who’s who of the current game and with so many injuries plaguing the men and women’s circuit, it seemed like wishful thinking to bank on Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal, Justine Henin-Hardenne and several others to all make it here.

Now as I recover from another action-packed two weeks of backhands, break-points and brollies (yes it rained again), I say hats off to all involved - not least the players’ physios who seemed to get everyone in shape just at the right time for us here in Dubai.

In the end, the Williams sisters were the only really big names to pull out and - sorry Venus and Serena - we really didn’t miss them at all.

I honestly don’t think the last fortnight could have been much better in terms of on-court action and stars on show and, as you well know, the last thing we at 7DAYS would do is ‘toady’ up to the powers that be and say a Dubai event is great just to keep them happy.

If there was something that needed criticising, I’d say so. But, other than a typically inadequate parking set-up, I really can’t find fault with a tournament that brought us Henin-Hardenne vs Maria Sharapova in the ladies final, the return to the Emirate of a resurgent Martina Hingis and that howitzer of a men’s final between the world’s top two players.

Credit where credit is due. This is a Dubai event which, like golf’s Dubai Desert Classic just weeks before, deserves the hype and the superlatives - and that’s still a rarity in this town.

For one thing, there are very few tournaments that attract so many top ten players outside of the grand slams themselves.

Both finals - Henin-Hardenne v Sharapova and Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal - were worthy of grand slam deciders, not just because of the stature of the players contesting them, but also because of the standard of tennis produced by those players.

But the Dubai Tennis Championships gets it right on more than just a sporting level. It also manages to capture the imagination of the Dubai public.

The stadium was more than sold out night after night - in fact on both finals nights it was full to bursting, causing me to ponder that in some countries, safety regulations would not allow for all the people standing behind the seats and sitting on the stairs.

The men’s final couldn’t have provided a better climax - the No.1 and No.2 in the world thrashing out three sets and the Dubai Tennis Stadium ‘massive’ sounding more like a football crowd than a tennis one.

It also provided us girls with a thrill as our new champion Rafael Nadal whipped his shirt off, revealing his naked torso, while the loquacious Colm McLoughlin - MD of Dubai Duty Free - was making his lengthy thank yous.
Can’t you get arrested for that? Now that would have given me something to write about.


1. New men’s champion Rafael Nadal literally sobbing into his towel after defeating three-time defending champion Roger Federer in the final on Saturday night. Well he is only 19 - bless ’im.
2. Martina Hingis taking on the best and matching them. She may have gone out in the quarter-finals to Maria Sharapova but Dubai’s first ever women’s champion showed us that her return to the game is not to be written off.
3. Tim Henman actually looking competitive again and not needing to call a physio.
4. Amelie Mauresmo keeping the crowd entertained while it rained on ladies quarter-final day. The tennis always seems to have one washout day - increasing the sale of beer and pies ten-fold - and this year it extended into two days making it a real push to finish the Women’s Open on time.
5. Roger Federer fans giving it large with a cow-bell at every changeover during the final. Oh the wacky Swiss!
6. Ball-kids galore drying off the court with towels - they got through nearly 2000 apparently.
7. The announcement that next year’s event will be worth increased prize money of $3m - that’s $1.5 for the men and the same for the women, keeping Dubai as one of just a handful of tournaments that pay the men and women equally.



Rafael Nadal picked up a winner’s cheque of $187,500 last night, but the game of tennis won a much more valuable award.

By defeating Roger Federer in such spectacular fashion, Nadal not only broke the Swiss star’s grip on the Dubai crown, he sent surge of energy through the men’s game.

Without a peer able to live with him, the joy of watching Federer becomes a refined, even sedate, affair. He seduces you like a Handel recital, rather than rocking your world like a Hendrix riff.

In the first set, Federer was the matador to Nadal’s charging bull. Those who turned up wanting to see a battle royal seemed destined to be disappointed as his astonishing skills left Nadal floundering.

It was an exceptional set of Federer tennis, full of beauty, verve and inspiration. It was close to perfect at times, but however good, the next two were something altogether more satisfying.

That’s because gut-wrenching tension always keeps us hooked more than jaw-dropping beauty, a point reinforced by the attendance of Bjorn Borg. Borg, who tossed the coin at the start of the match, is remembered today for his fire and ice rivalry with John McEnroe.

That he won five straight Wimbledon titles is less important, because this is sport, not art, and we ultimately want battles more than we want beauty. Men’s tennis now has two rivals who will do battle over the next few years.
Federer said at the end how much he is looking forward to that prospect. He’s not the only one.


03-08-2006, 12:31 AM
In the end, the Williams sisters were the only really big names to pull out and - sorry Venus and Serena - we really didn’t miss them at all.


03-11-2006, 02:51 PM
Extract from The Wrap By Steve Tignor of tennis.com

Dueling in the Desert
Posted 3/6/2006 @ 2:48 PM

By Saturday it was a relief to see that two familiar, and very big, names—Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, no less—were doing battle in the world’s other exploding desert tourist trap, Dubai. The Tennis Channel was classy enough to upstage its own event by broadcasting the first showdown of 2006 between the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world. The match proved to be worthy of that billing, and worth talking about before we return to Vegas.

Federer spent the first set teaching No. 2 just what it means to be No. 1. He was “in full flight”, as they say, rifling forehands all over the court and finishing points at net, as he should against Nadal. No. 2 looked overmatched and one-dimensional, and was broken twice. But Nadal had a lesson of his own to give, the same one we’ve been taught for two years: Never underestimate him. He focused on holding serve and began to turn the tide midway through the second set by revving up his own forehand, which was once again the difference between them. How many times do you see Federer lunge, off-balance, to retrieve a ball? Nadal had him doing it consistently with his lefty forehand, which hooks away from Fed’s one-handed backhand. Federer looked almost fooled by the shot at times, as if he underestimated just how far the ball would end up from him.

Nadal broke early in the third but Federer broke back with a spectacular down-the-line counter-punch forehand. Federer then went up 4-3 with a four-winner game. As he walked to the sideline he held his racquet up and shot Nadal a look, as if to say, “I’ll take it from here.” The announcers certainly believed him, predicting that Federer would elevate his game and run out the match. Federer duly won the first point on Nadal’s serve. But then a funny thing happened—the world No. 1 started to press. He shanked a midcourt forehand, a shot you never see him miss, and quickly lost that game. At 4-4, 15-15, he overcooked an easy forehand approach, hitting it just beyond the baseline. Both times it appeared that Federer, knowing who was on the other side of the net, tried to make his shots just a bit too good.

But at 4-4, 30-30, it was all Nadal. For what I believe was the first time in the match, he moved inside the baseline to return a serve. Federer obliged with a short second delivery and Nadal made no mistake, guiding an inside-out forehand for a winner to set up break point. The rest was pretty routine, with Nadal serving out the match at love. His return at 30-all reminded me of no one so much as Jimmy Connors. The American had an instinct for surprise. He was famous for hitting his only ace of a match at the most crucial juncture, or pulling a ball around a net post to stave off certain doom. Nadal has the same uncanny ability to do just what you think he can’t.

Such as beat Federer. Nadal’s now 3-1 against him, and after the match Federer said that his one win, a five-setter in Key Biscayne last year, was “lucky”. Nadal went even further in the poor-mouth department, denying any talk of a rivalry between him and the “best player in the world, one of the best players in history.” But it is indeed a rivalry, because Nadal poses special problems for Federer.

(1) The Spanish clay-courter stands far back to return serve, denying Federer many of the free points he typically gets with his excellent placement. Nadal’s returns can be short, but to take advantage of that Federer would have to serve and volley, not his normal game.

(2) When Federer hits his patented short crosscourt backhand slice, which typically forces his opponents to hit up on a backhand of their own (and leaves them out of position), Nadal can get there to rip a forehand.

(3) To fully break Nadal down in a rally, Federer needs to finish a lot of them at net. Again, it’s not his normal style. He’s more comfortable flowing around the baseline and putting together ground stroke combinations. Even on a hard court, Nadal successfully countered them with his strength and speed.