- On Fumes, Wawrinka no Match for Nadal (Tennis Now)
The Swiss tossed in 35 unforced errors and was broken four times in 15 opportunities.
But take no credit from Nadal, who was engaged from start to finish and who displayed quite a bit of punch from the baseline when it was demanded of him. The Spaniard finished with a tidy statline: 18 winners against only 12 unforced and swept aside two of the three break points he faced.
- London Calling: Nadal Triumphs (ATP World Tour)
“I think I played a solid match,” said Nadal, who registered 18 winners to 12 unforced errors. “I had one bad game, the first one of the match. But then immediately I was playing well. I played the way that I wanted to play. I played aggressive. I played with not many mistakes.”
Doubts obviously remain as to whether Nadal can get back anywhere close to the form that previously took him to the No.1 spot in the world. Wednesday’s clash against Andy Murray should provide further evidence.
“Is an opportunity for me to compete against the No.2 of the world, a player who had a great season, a fantastic player in every surface, but especially in this one he likes to play,” said Nadal. “I’m excited to play that match. I only take that match like an opportunity to play against him, to try to play a good match. I going to try.”
- Pros to the End (tennis.com)
It’s true that Wawrinka blasted himself off the court, but Rafa was hitting the ball well, too. He timed Stan’s first serve, he powered his forehand to both corners with confidence, he made just 12 errors, and he came up with a stroke of improvised brilliance that I had never seen from him before: Down break point, Nadal caught up to an angled Wawrinka volley and lifted an underspin crosscourt forehand lob over Stan’s head for a winner.
When it was over, Rafa, who was recovering from an appendectomy at this time last year, said this to the crowd:
“I have no doubt that I missed you more than you missed me.”
I do have my doubts about that, Rafa.
The Spaniard was able to clearly frustrate Wawrinka, who rushed between points, and could not put together a clear game plan to counter Nadal’s key patterns. Wawrinka was often out of sorts, and Nadal must get most of the credit for that.
The rebuilding stage for Nadal is now in full flight. Key patterns are being correctly executed, and confidence is building.
“I go day by day, that’s all,” Nadal said in his post-match interview, clearly happy with his performance. That’s how a champion is made in our great game.