Monday, January 24, 2011

RAFA SLAM: Aussie Open Round of 16 - Another Victory, No Sweat

(I think this pic is kinda awesome. Rafa running down shots all over Melbourne!)

Rafael Nadal is into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with a not-t00-difficult 6-2 6-4 6-3 win over Marin Cilic in the round of 16. The match was shown at an ungodly EST hour, and even a die hard like me couldn't handle waking up that early on a Monday morning for Rafa-viewing. It's a pleasant way to start the day knowing he's through to the next round.

I thought Cilic would present more of a challenge to Rafa, but he really didn't. The flu symptoms that were affecting him physically last week continue to subside, as he wasn't such a sweaty mess during this match. The last few matches he was uncharacteristically dripping with sweat, and it has been unusually cool throughout the tournament despite it being summer Down Under, so his physical condition was a little odd. Regardless, Nadal is still going strong and hasn't dropped a set yet this tournament. Can't say the same for his nemesis, Robin Soderling whose eight-match winning streak ended with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 loss to Alexandr Dolgopolov. Soderling's game was all over the place against the unseeded Dolgopolov. Since Soderling is known as something of a giant killer for his wins over Nadal and Federer at the last two French Opens, I took a certain amount of glee from watching him get a taste of his own medicine last night.

Nadal now faces his friend and compatriot, No. 7 David Ferrer for a place in the semifinals where, if Our Hero makes it through, he'll probably meet up with No. 5 Andy Murray. Murray's been playing so strong this tournament. I wouldn't mind if Dolgopolov did a number on him in the quarters. Just sayin'.

Not another Rafa match until Wednesday... which maybe is actually Tuesday our time? Time zones make my head hurt. The match will probably start at 3:30am my time anyway and I'll miss it again. Vamos Rafa!

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