Rafael Nadal started 2014 off with a bang, by defeating German Tobias Kamke in R16 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha on the first day in January. An exuberant Rafa fist pumped his way into the victory, which hopefully signifies a taste of things to come in the rest of the year. This was the first meeting of the two players. Rafa broke early to gain a 3-0 lead in the first set in under 10 minutes, after which was a fairly routine set. The second set saw Rafa off to a slow start, down 1-4. In true Rafa style, he managed to come back and force a tie breaker, but Kamke took the set and took the match to three. Rafa came on stronger in the third set, winning the set and the match 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.
Besides the usual support from Rafa’s team and his fans in Doha, among the audience was also his good friend Raul, a former Real Madrid player. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and other players form Paris Saint-Germain’s soccer team were also there. Rafa will play Latvian Ernests Gulbis next. That promises to be an exciting match. Happy new year, and Vamos Rafa!
UPDATED: After his single match, Rafael Nadal returned to the court for doubles action in Doha. Rafa, partnering fellow Spaniard Francisco Roig, lost to third seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 6-4, 7-6(1). (via ATP World Tour)
Quote of the Day:
“Shit! I thought Craig Tiley was a friend of mine” — RAFAEL NADAL’s reaction to Australian Open courts looking to be extremely fast this year (via @Barry_FlatmanST)
Photos: AP Photo/Osama Faisal, REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah, EFE/Ali Haider