Rafael Nadal loses to Grigor Dimitrov in Beijing quarterfinals

(AFP) Rafael Nadal was sent packing in the last eight at the China Open by world number 20 Grigor Dimitrov on Friday.

Despite two breaks in the first set, the fourteen-time Grand Slam champion was unable to keep his serve and Dimitrov kept the pressure on for a 6-2, 6-4 victory — his first over the Spaniard in eight attempts.

After the match, Rafa said:

It’s obvious that Grigor played much better than me and he deserved to win. Losing five serve games is something you can’t do to win a match like this.

I fought until the last ball, but was going against psychologically bad feelings because I was suffering with my serve. When that happens, you have to go to the next tournament because you don’t deserve to win like this.

The loss in the Chinese capital puts Rafa’s qualification for an 11th consecutive ATP Final — which brings together the season’s top eight players — in doubt.

Source: AFP


  1. I have never seen Dimitrov play better. He was awesome and you have to say it was ‘his day”. Vamos, Rafa! We love you! There are a lot of young players coming along to take the place. Also, what Lendl has done to Murray is amazing! No f-bombs from Andy and he’s a nicer boy! I don’t just turn off the TV when Andy’s playing like I used to. Hang in! There’s always tomorrow!

  2. The more i look at the results of the last three years, the more i realize rafa might retire soon.

    • Rafa won’t give up that easily because of two very tough and “bad” (in relation!) years – I’m pretty sure of that. But most important is that he will be even more able to enjoy the rest of his tennis – career. So will we.

      In my dreams, Roger and Rafa are going to playing one last epic Wimbledon-Final in 2017, 2018 or 2019. But this is only a dream that makes me cry sentimental tears of joy.

    • I don’t think so. He’s a hyperactive man that needs sport. He will play one way or the other even if it’s doubles only. Personally I’d be happy with that.

  3. Bad day at the office. On form this would have been a walk in the park for Rafa. I am a lot slower, but I felt Rafa was a bit slower than usual.
    Onwards and upwards!

  4. I do wonder what is happening with Rafa in recent matches. Plays brilliantly for a couple of rounds and then suddenly he deteriorates and gets beaten. At first I thought wrist problems but he has not pulled out of the doubles and still intends to play at Shanghai so he can’t be suffering with that.
    He said in interview he had bad feelings psychologically. Is it a repeat of his confidence as for 2015? I certainly hope not. Or is it a deep down feeling / fear that his tennis days are drawing to a close? I hate to think of that . Or is it tiredness due to over-practice which I have had concerns about for some time?
    I am no expert in these matters. I am just trying to find an answer as to why he can start a tournament off so well and then half way through suddenly become so vulnerable.
    Whatever the reason I don’t blame his team. It is something within Rafa himself in my opinion.
    But whatever the future I will be a Rafa fan forever and will always admire him for the wonderful person he is and for the excitement his game has given us over many years.
    Which ever way his current problems are resolved I only hope they are to Rafa’s satisfaction even if they may not be to ours.
    In the meantime may Shanghai give him better results and he can return to family and Maria for a little bit of relaxation and NOT excessive practicing.

    • It’s perplexing Beverley as he said recently he is not suffering the same mental problems as in 2015 but it doesn’t look that way on court. I didn’t watch the match (I knew what was going to happen). My sister told me he has advanced to towelling off using the same ritual as his serve. I keep coming back to this issue and I have thought this for a long time, that these rituals are controlling him and are not a means of control. He is playing better when he has a compatriot on court who seem to channel his nerves. 2006 RG interview Rafa loss the first set 6-1. At the end of the match he said ‘I couldn’t move’ because of nerves and there were a few instances like this stemming throughout his career. Reporters are tentative when they ask him about nerves and seem doubtful and perplexed when he says his nerves are OK. Commentators are not mentioning his on court behaviour although I noticed a rapid camera switch in China from his less savoury sat down ritual. The injuries and recovery are an obvious problem but I’m having problems seeing this any other way other than mental.

  5. I believe Gregor played very well,
    so we need to take into account what shots Rafa needed to get back to Gregor.

    All the best for Shanghai Rafa,
    and hey you have played so well over all these years it is as one of your fans siad,”icing on the cake” for all of us that he is still playing.
    I will be in Melbourne to see him there,Love you Rafa,

    Love and prayers,


  6. Ola dear Rafa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) Hope you are enjoying everything and having a nice time looking forward to Shanghai. Lets appreciate all your great points and your beautiful nature as a runner up….. you always so graceful and generous when you win or loose, it is fantastic to see because it is rare and so special !!!!! : ) The two victories you had were solid and you play strong and aggressive and such your wins are AS IMPORTANT. No need to over think but appreciate your efforts and top abilities and skills. Must admit the good news is that you are just as handsome and gorgeous looking in your post match interview…..love the photos with the gray zipped up jersey…. : ) have a nice few days and know that you are a gift to TENNIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Lots of love & happiness sweetheart and all best wishes to you & your team!!!!!!! : )

  7. So sad !!!!
    Such a relief to see some hope, positive messages !
    Love him, still the best <3
    Did someone know what do he have to do to be in the WTA ?

  8. Was too sad to comment but maybe it’s purgative to share😥😔😕. I expected it after Mannerino. Genius one minute then kaput! I’m no tennis expert but something doesn’t add up. Pain? Mental problems? Whatever it is, it’s taking hold of Rafa when it wants. It’s not his ability to play well.

    • I agree wholeheartedly with you Teresa.
      As I said in my earlier post something is not right with Rafa. It’s not just that he’s having a bad day or that his opponent was playing well. There’s something else there. I don’t know whether Rara himself knows what it is.
      But this fantastic play one day followed by the exact opposite the next has happened too often in recent matches.
      I hope he can sort it out before too long.

  9. It is the story of Rafa’s worst season since 2004. He wins two and then loses the next. He’s doing wonderful, but good ol’ j beer and just a handful of others here have long observed differently.

  10. One positive thing we can all take from this loss is his backhand was much better today. In previous matches it was not that superb. I am not sure why he served so poorly today but serving recently has always caused trouble for him. I hope he moves on, finishes the doubles as well as he can, and regroups for Shanghai. I just hope this loss was all due to poor performance instead of some mysterious injuries he is still hiding from everyone.

    For me as long as he still plays I am happy… Win or loss does not matter. But I am sure it still matters so much to him so he must be really sad. Was he crying in a couple of those pics? That breaks my heart. Don’t cry Rafa. You will eventually come back although this time it might take even longer than the last time.

    Vamos Rafa in Shanghai! Btw I overslept so missed your first set this morning. Next time I will wake up early and follow and I am sure you will win! 🙂

  11. Didn’t watch the match as it wasn’t televised here i DK. The pics says it all though 😔😥

    It’s ok sweet Rafa. Just wasn’t your day – you’ll be back 😘❤️

    All the best of luck in Shanghai and please take good care of yourself 🍀💖

    Win or lose – always with Rafa 😍😊

    VAMOS! 🎾💪

  12. my only worry is after today loss rafa should not even think of changing his style what he adopted in last three matches

    we will see great results from rafa soon

    • I admire your optimism Ashish but it’s hard to share right now. Playing unbelievable one match and a half. Is this erratic play really normal in tennis? Something else must be wrong other than technique😒

  13. after long time he started playing like this which is great,
    taking the ball early and hitting with great intensity
    the unforced errors will surely come but great things to come

    vamos rafa i am with u
    played all out there

  14. after long time i am not sad after rafa loss in this match because i have seen his previous match and this one too

    the great thing was he found out what was missing from his game

    the energetic power swing in his hands is back while hitting cross court or down the line forehands
    his shots having a zip again and he is not hesitating to use his forehands

    this match he cannot hold serve that’s it and after loosing 1 set the opponent always have upper hand and grigor played great in 2 nd set
    the best thing rafa didn’t change his plans and played with same attitude

    nothing to worry rafa

    if rafa continue to play like this soon we will dsee him lifting 2 to 3 grand slams and masters for sure

    best luck rafa and have a great health….take care

    vamos rafa great attitude
    u looked so refreshed and was so pleasing to see u play

  15. sad to see Rafa serve that poorly but i think the unforced arrows was mostly the reason for his loss,sure hope this does not cause him to not be able to play in the WTA..

  16. I don’t remember when Rafa offered an excuse for losing. Maybe he means he was not serving well.
    I am happy about his attitude, to go on to the next tournament and, I presume, put this loss behind him.


    • Margo I don’t think it was an excuse but rather an honest assessment as to how he played. Bad day at the office. He looked so out of form. The positive aspect is that he fought to the end. Hoping that he will not lose confidence but stay positive and relax a little.
      All support for a great champion, Rafael Nadal





  18. I don’t know what to say since Rafa served so poorly. It was even worse than his serve during the second set yesterday. I do not understand the comment about the WTF, since Rafa actually moved up to 7. He passed Thiem who lost early. Rafa is still scheduled for the doubles tomorrow. Is there a chance that he cancels?

    • More reason for Rafa to play the doubles tomorrow since he lost today. It’ll be a great match against the Bryan Brothers (sorry Bob/Mike, I have to root against you this time.:-)). Not sure it’ll be on Tennis Channel in the US (even Tennis TV only has live stream for the main court).

      To me, any match Rafa plays for now on is icing on the cake. As long as he stays healthy, and enjoys the competition, win or lose, I’ll be there with him. I was fortunate enough to watch his semi-final match in Shanghai Master last year in person. Good luck next week!

      In today’s match, I wish Rafa could have fixed it up a bit with slicing and volleying, since Dimitrov seemed to have an upper hand on a lot of the long rallies. But I’m sure that Rafa knows best! 🙂

      Forever your fan.

      • I agree that the TC and TennisTV may not show the match, but there is a chance. He will be playing a US team. They have shown matches from the Lotus Court including one today. it will be a tough match, but a win would raise his spirits as will playing well.

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