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Discussion Starter #1
I mean really, did you people see that match. That's the WORST I've seen him play in months. He's buying propery 8 yards behind the baseline, and if he's not he should because that's where he spent his time.

His serve was *awful*. And I know he can serve better because he got it up over 130 consistently at Wimbledon. His serves today were powderpuff; they showed his return positions, which were back and forth, but more clay returns (waaaaaay behind the baseline) than grass-style returns.

His backhand was powderpuff, and it's almost like he was intentionally hitting the ball short.

I don't understand. I've seen him play some masterful tennis on hardcourts and grass; this wasn't it.

It looks as if he purposefully was hitting the ball short and soft, and it just doesn't make sense to me.

Do talented players intimidate Nadal on hardcourts? I don't know. I've seen him play better and lose against the infamous trio (Blake, Berdych, Youzny). At least they had to beat him, but if Safin had been 50% today, he might've walked away in straight sets (the winner!).

Why is it that Nadal can change to an aggressive-style play so effectively on grass, and not even come close to doing so on hardcourts???

Please, enlighten me.
 

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His biggest problem was timing, it was totally off and so he was consistently late on his forehand. Ofcourse safin was crushing his own cross-court backhand as usual and this pushed nadal even further back. His athleticism and hands saved him today.

The key for the beast from majorca in this hard court season will be the DTL forehand. His cross-court forehand will always sit up on the hard courts for guys like berdych and safin to pound on. I don't really think this will change....ever and it shouldn't because it will get him at least 2-3 more French opens. THe best Nadal can hope to do with the cross-court forehand on hard courts against guys like this is to open up the court with angles so as to engage them in rallies on the move; to finish off some points at the net. Fortunately he's got the hands to both open up the court and to put volleys away.

I wouldn't say that even if safin was at 50% he would have won. Safin's forehand breaks down on the fast surfaces and that happened today as well. Overall a mediocre effort for sure but NOT a terrible one for Nadal's first match in several weeks!

Vamos,

PeterParker
 

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Maybe he chose to play defensively because he knew Safin would self destruct (which he did). Honestly, what is with all of these Rafatards complaining about a win? There was even a bagel in there!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Maybe he chose to play defensively because he knew Safin would self destruct (which he did). Honestly, what is with all of these Rafatards complaining about a win? There was even a bagel in there!
Because of his poor record on hardcourts and the great grass showing he displayed this year. We have high hopes for the close of the year, and they don't start with Nadal playing like this.
 

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It's his first real match on hardcourts this summer. Wait a few rounds before you judge on how he'll do for the rest of the year.
 

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He was aggressive very early on, but his timing wasn't there. His favorite shot, the CC Fh, was going into Safin's BH which he was ripping CC the entire first set. That's the only BH I've ever seen really neutralize the Nadal Fh.

Another thing that made Nadal tentative was that his two favorite serves, the one out wide on the AD side and the slider up the T on the deuce court were going into the Safin BH so he tried to mix things up with the serve. He doesn't hit the other serves outside of those two with the same consistency so he you saw the % drop.

Nadal changed up his game and played very defensively because he knew eventually Safin would miss since he saw that Safin could not finish points with his FH which he hasn't done all year. Good tactics from Nadal.

I agree with the earlier poster in this thread: the key to real success will be Nadal's FH DTL and the inside out FH, both of which have worked really well this year, especially the one DTL.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
He was aggressive very early on, but his timing wasn't there. His favorite shot, the CC Fh, was going into Safin's BH which he was ripping CC the entire first set. That's the only BH I've ever seen really neutralize the Nadal Fh.

Another thing that made Nadal tentative was that his two favorite serves, the one out wide on the AD side and the slider up the T on the deuce court were going into the Safin BH so he tried to mix things up with the serve. He doesn't hit the other serves outside of those two with the same consistency so he you saw the % drop.

Nadal changed up his game and played very defensively because he knew eventually Safin would miss since he saw that Safin could not finish points with his FH which he hasn't done all year. Good tactics from Nadal.

I agree with the earlier poster in this thread: the key to real success will be Nadal's FH DTL and the inside out FH, both of which have worked really well this year, especially the one DTL.
Yes, his forehand down the line has had legendary periods this year, ie. Indian Wells. If he can hit that, he'll be able to win matches.

Today, though, there didn't seem to be any pop *at all* on his shots. He did play sort of aggressively for the first couple of games, which gave him a lead. But, then he retreated back and proceeded to let the set get interesting.

I guess if he thought Safin would lose the match for him that's cool, but I saw nothing encouraging about this.

He won more easily when he was aggressive than he did otherwise. Just seemed like he was confused out there. No real purpose for finishing shots. He played a similar game in his loss to Djokovic in Miami.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
He was aggressive very early on, but his timing wasn't there. His favorite shot, the CC Fh, was going into Safin's BH which he was ripping CC the entire first set. That's the only BH I've ever seen really neutralize the Nadal Fh.

Another thing that made Nadal tentative was that his two favorite serves, the one out wide on the AD side and the slider up the T on the deuce court were going into the Safin BH so he tried to mix things up with the serve. He doesn't hit the other serves outside of those two with the same consistency so he you saw the % drop.

Nadal changed up his game and played very defensively because he knew eventually Safin would miss since he saw that Safin could not finish points with his FH which he hasn't done all year. Good tactics from Nadal.

I agree with the earlier poster in this thread: the key to real success will be Nadal's FH DTL and the inside out FH, both of which have worked really well this year, especially the one DTL.
Yes, his forehand down the line has had legendary periods this year, ie. Indian Wells. If he can hit that, he'll be able to win matches.

Today, though, there didn't seem to be any pop *at all* on his shots. He did play sort of aggressively for the first couple of games, which gave him a lead. But, then he retreated back and proceeded to let the set get interesting.

I guess if he thought Safin would lose the match for him that's cool, but I saw nothing encouraging about this.

He won more easily when he was aggressive than he did otherwise. Just seemed like he was confused out there. No real purpose for finishing shots. He played a similar game in his loss to Djokovic in Miami.
 

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It's his first real match on hardcourts this summer. Wait a few rounds before you judge on how he'll do for the rest of the year.
Exactly!! He's often a little off his game in the first match of a tournament as he adjusts to the conditions and finds his rhythm - he just happened to draw Safin as well!! If he's still playing like this in a couple of days, then I'll start being concerned - I doubt he will be though!
 

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He probably played more passive than usual just because it was Safin. He ended up with a comfortable SS win because Safin had a brain meltdown again, good tactics if you ask me. Fed did the same at Wimbers, very passive and just allowed Safin to self destruct.
 

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He probably played more passive than usual just because it was Safin. He ended up with a comfortable SS win because Safin had a brain meltdown again, good tactics if you ask me. Fed did the same at Wimbers, very passive and just allowed Safin to self destruct.
My idea exactly. Why put in more effort than needed? Smart playing, Raf. :D

And come on folks - it was only Rafa's first match on HC. No need to start panicking about his playing when 1) it was a straight set win including a bagel, 2) the opponent's name was :timebomb: Safin.
 

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It was his first match on HC. Nadal didn't play great on grass at Queens either this year or last year, still he made the finals of Wimbledon both years. Let him adjust.
 

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We're not worrying my dear! :hearts: :inlove: :kiss:
Seeing how some of your fellow Rafatards are worried after a straight set win (including a bagel) is quite pathetic...

They're concerned about the way Nadal moonballs :shrug:, has Nadal ever be able to play different style of tennis ? :confused: :eek:
 

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Those complaining are not true Spartans perhaps because true Spartans never complain. :rocker: VAMOS! :banana: :yippee:
99% of Nadal fans are innocent teenies who act like so-called Spartans, so funny... :lol: at least you keep MTF entertaining :cool:
 

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anyone here play poker? as any master of the game will tell you, he who wins the hand is not necessarily he who gathers in the chips.

nadal played as he did because safin was clearly the better player. unfortunately for safin he set the bar too high, allowing nadal to push the ball back and win by default.

still a win is a win, i concede
 
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