Tuesday, August 30, 2011

United States of Rafa 2011 - Round 1

(Rafa's facing an uphill battle this year at the Open, but I still believe in his chances!)

The US Open has begun! It's already the last Major of the year. 2011 has just been flying along. It's Rafa's first match as defending champ. Remember how exciting last year was? I sure do. Those were good times!!

This year, Rafa is having some issues. They all seem to be mental which is kinda staggering. He just seems to have lost his confidence. Uncle Toni thinks so too. Maybe it comes from having already won everything. The only real motivator for Nadal now is to... win it all again? Win just the most important ones again? I dunno. With the great year that Novak is having, Rafa seems just to be having a hard time finding that extra gear to get him over the top. He really doesn't have anything left to prove. Anyway, I still love him no matter how this tournament goes, but I hope he finds a way out of his funk.

This 1st round match was a nearly-three-hour struggle before he beat 98th-ranked Andrey Golubev from Kazakhstan in three sets: 6-3, 7-6 (1), 7-5. It was not a pretty straight set win. Nadal trailed several times. He was down 3-2 in the first set, then 5-2 in the second AND third set. He fought his way back each time, but he easily could have lost either or both of those sets. Golubev had his chances, serving for the second set at 5-3, and for the third set at 5-2 AND 5-4. Nadal broke him each time. With all that experience winning, Nadal found a way to grind through. That's how you gotta do it sometimes.

Next up is is Nicolas Mahut in the second round. He can have an unbelievable serve. Let's hope Our Hero finds more of his dominant form and has an easier match through to the third round. Vamos!!

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