PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal struggles to win Hamburg opener

Rafael Nadal won his first match in Hamburg today, defeating Fernando Verdasco 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in his first match since his second-round loss at Wimbledon. Our champ broke twice in the second and three times in the third set to reach the next round in Hamburg, where he will meet the winner of Jiri Vesely – Andreas Haider-Maurer match.

After the match, Rafa said: “It’s a very important victory. For my mentality, it is important to finish the match better than how I started. To be able to make that change during the match was a very positive thing to me. I’m just happy (with) the way I came back.” (via ATP World Tour)

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25 thoughts on “PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal struggles to win Hamburg opener

  1. I am so GLAD you won, Rafa!! I wasn’t able to watch your match today because of house guests; otherwise I would have seen it!!! Keep it going, Rafa!!! We believe in you, and hope you believe in yourself! VAMOS, RAFA!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  2. Chandra Ramdass

    Happy for Rafa ! I didn’t see the match not sure if it’s being covered here in Toronto but I wish it was showing ! congrats Rafa ! Good Luck in the second rounds !

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    1. Move In Rafa Or Move On

      Rafa had 16 winners versus 21 unforced errors against Verdasco. That’s a very poor ratio and one that has become all too common for him over the past 21 months. This stat reveals the root cause of his long-running slump, which I’ve explained numerous times before: he has become far too passive, tentative, and cautious with his forehand, which limits his winners and increases his unforced errors. Anyone who has played tennis seriously knows that when you try not to miss your shots – instead of going for them – that’s when you miss the most.

      Rafa will never get out of his slump until he comes to grips with the fact that he must be MORE CONSISTENTLY AGGRESSIVE with his court positioning(closer to the baseline), his balance(leaning forward, not backward, upon striking the ball), and his racquet follow through(more drive, less topspin).

      When Rafa says that he has “no confidence in his game”, he’s essentially admitting that he has no confidence in his tactics and technique. That’s why he so desperately needs a new coach – a REAL coach – who can recognize his tactical and technical problems and explain how to fix them. With Uncle Toni, it’s the blind leading the blind. Just because a particular coach worked before doesn’t mean that coach will always work. Everything changes over time – racquets, strings, balls, court surfaces, tactics, technique, opponents, coaches, the list goes on. John McEnroe said it best a few weeks ago: “Rafa has clearly reached a point in his career where he needs to hire a NEW DAMN COACH!!!”

      VAMOS!!!

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  3. Tine

    Congrats dear Rafa 😘😊 This is so great. Very happy for you. Good luck in your next matches, you can do it champ. VAMOOOS! 🎾😃💕

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  4. ci….ci…..ci…..AND ci…… CONGRATULATIONS DEAR Rafa!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was a beautiful match !!!!! : ) You played great with solid shots, solid defense & solid serve and solid 6/6 net points….& solid movement & solid endurance on and on and on………a couple of aces….- amazing, God bless you!!!!!! very happy for you!!!! : )
    Your victory in Singles so decisive & sweet !!!! : ) Loved watching your focus and light spirited & positive body moving so well ….. Nice NIKE outfit by the way…. : ) The doubles match was nevertheless fun to watch….. the two of you were having good time on the court, having bright moments of great shinning shots etc….& best players attitude ever!!!! : ) : ) Considering you never played together that was a nice first match w some real good star tennis….. your partner was full of right ingredients and amazing VOLLEYS : ) He is a successful tennis player!!! : ) VAMOS!!!! You dear Rafa did great trying to communicate w him and getting some nice shots in…… I especially loved your volley & amazing net shot on the run…… : ) Sometimes results means nothing ….. and good you got some more doubles time on court. Again, big congratulations on your steadfast win!!!!!: ) God bless you & have nice time celebrating w your family & awesome team!!!!! : ) When you came on the court I could tell you were going to win today!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : )

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  5. Shirley Taya

    Great news Rafa. I did not see the match, but I am thrilled n so happy for you. God bless you. Vamos Rafa. 😊😊🎈🎈

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  6. Well done, Rafa! To see your smile againg warms up the heart & soul of all us Rafans!!! Keep it up, my CAAAMPEOOONNN !!! VAAAMOOOSSS …VAAAMOOOSSS … VAAAMOOOSSS …!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. luckystar

    Good win by Rafa. Not starting well but finished very well. I hope he gains some confidence out of this win, one step or one match at a time though.

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  8. Karthik

    Calling this match a struggle is not accurate. Rafa actually played v well in the 2nd and 3rd sets (I did not watch the first.. maybe he struggled in the 1st). I think he did to Verdasco what all have been doing to Rafa. Hit out to the Verdasco FH side, drag him out and finish on his BH side. Worked well as long as Rafa had depth in his shots. Nice improvement from Miami when he lost to Verdasco. Loved the tactic. If only he can improve his second serve return positioning, reduce running around his BH as much and go for the down the line shots more, esp on his BH (he did twice .. one FH and one BH in succession in the 5-1 game in set 3 but missed both), i think he will start giving his opponents different looks with the down the line shots. At the moment he exclusively deals with BH cross courts.
    The monkey is off the back after losing to Verdasco twice in a row and in style I should add. 6-1 6-1 was a drubbing though he did face many break points. He played the BIG points awesome. I did not see any nerves. Now Rafa should win Hamburg. I am quietly confident. Ok maybe not quietly :).

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  9. Luisa Sichero

    I agree with Elizabeth! The word “struggle” is not the word to define this very good match.

    Wonderful Rafa!! you did fantastically well !!!! Vamooos!! So happy for you and for all of us! Your nephews that were watching the match are soooo cute! When you won the second set one of them put a lovely face of relief!!

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  10. Elizabeth Howard

    Could the word Struggle be left out please. Okay he didn’t do well in the first set but found his game in the second and closed out the third impressively. I am very pleased at his display. Onwards Rafael

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    1. Also the first game (when Rafa served) in 2nd set lasted 12 minutes. For us it wasn’t an easy victory at all.

      We are all happy he found the way to beat Fer, but during the first half of the match we were very worried that he might lose.

      Always with Rafa!

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