Monday, March 22, 2010

Rafa at Indian Wells: Hey, a Title is a Title!

(on the left: Rafa wins a tournament wearing a not-crazy pair of shorts for the first time in ages. on the right Rafa and Marc Lopez share the trophy. They are both delighted by their success and so am I.)

This weekend, Rafa Nadal and Marc Lopez went from being just a Spanish wild card doubles team, to being the Doubles Champions at the Indian Wells Masters Series. They claimed the title after beating the No.1 seeds, Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic,7-6(8), 6-3 in the finals. Congrats, guys!

Rafa had two big matches on Saturday. The first was the singles semifinals against Ivan Ljubicic which Rafa rather surprisingly lost 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (1). Rather hilariously, Rafa claimed he'd lost that match only "accidentally." The rest of his totally charming explanation went like this: "That's my feeling, because I was playing (well) enough to win the tournament. It was an important accident, and I have to learn to try to play more aggressive next time, try to convert the opportunities. But for the rest, nothing to say, no? I was feeling I was playing better than probably ever on this court. This tournament I was playing very good, having very good victories, beating a very difficult opponent like Isner, and later against a very good Berdych. So I happy about how I did here. I am playing at my best level. I know that. But just not today." It should be noted Ljubicic played the tournament of his life, taking the title over Andy Roddick in the Championship match on Sunday,

If the afternoon gave Nadal troubles, they didn't stick in his head long, because by the team the doubles final rolled around in the evening, Rafa shrugged off the disappoint of the earlier loss and went to work winning the final, which not-so-surprisingly, made him very happy.

"For Marc and me, it was an amazing week and a dream to win the title here. After losing an important singles [match], the victory in doubles makes me happy. Always is nice to win the tournament, no?"

Always is nice indeed, Rafa. Nadal now heads down to Miami to play at the Miami Masters Series Tournament. Rafa drops to #4 in the world this week, because this was his first tournament back since the Aussie Open, and because he didn't reach the same result he did last year in Indian Wells when he won. Rafa has lost a bunch of bonus points to add to his ranking by not playing the past few weeks. He made it farther this tournament than current world's No. 1 and No. 2, Roger Federer and Novak Djokivic did. Plus after Miami, we're into the clay season which is always Rafa's bread and butter. So expect more success! Vamos Rafa!

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