Top seed and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal is back in action on Thursday at the China Open and will face world No. 42 Karen Khachanov.
This is their second meeting on the tour. The 21-year-old Russian was beaten by our champ earlier this year at Wimbledon, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(3).
Date: 5 October 2017
Match time: Rafa is third match on National Tennis Stadium. Not before 4.30 PM local time / 4.30 AM EDT – New York, Montreal / 9.30 AM BST – United Kingdom / 10.30 AM CEST – Spain, France, Germany, Italy / 7.30 PM AEDT – Melbourne. To convert to your local time, use this website.
Rafa is 57-9 this year with Grand Slam titles at the French Open and US Open.
Our champ has won 74 career titles including 16 Slams and 30 Masters 1000 titles. He also has 863 Tour level wins. Khachanov, in contrast, has only one title, having won the Chengdu Open last year.
GOOD LUCK & VAMOS RAFA!
Great match from Rafa today. Much better than yesterday. It was great to watch.
As usual Rafa started nervous and Khachanov wasted no time to firing bombs off everything. In a flash Rafa found himself down love-40. No big deal. The match hadn’t even started. Rafa saved them all, pushed Khach to 30 on his serve, cruised through his next service game and broke Khach in his next with inspiring play and a sense of hurry that you couldn’t help but feeling very optimistic.
From then Rafa pressed even harder and had BPs in every Khach’s service game. But he followed his trend of the year, missing them all then servebotted his way to close out the set, FH, BH all clicking and dealing with Khach’s ball bashing intelligently. Sublime half volley and touch at the net as usual as well.
Not so fast.
Second set, the young gun pulled himself together and once again Rafa found himself facing 2BPs in his 1st service game, then another one.
But once again Clutchdal appeared and displayed some impressive tennis, brushing them all off and breaking the Khach in the very next game aggressively. Great to watch.
From then on nonClutchdal came back and failed to covert 3BPs in the lengthy 7th game where Khach made 4DFs (!). But no big deal. He keeped serving well, playing some fantastic PSs and FHDTLs and broke Khach in style in the 9th game to close out the match at 63 63.
Khach had the right gameplan for his style of play but Rafa on his day never has to bash the ball back to deal with those bombs. The youngster still has potential as long as he learns how to control his power and add some more variety to his game. Still, overall tennis IQ is not a very promient feature in the “young” tennis, I have to admit.
All in all despite facing a total 6BPs (in only 2 games though) and some pretty weird misses, Rafa played more impressive than expected though I was sure he was gonna play better today.
– No more passive play and too much scrambling like Monday.
– Iron BHCC and neat DLT. Sliced Khach to death as well. :p
– Confident FHDLT and serving; though his 1st % could have been better.
– Improved 2nd serve and no DF! (It was 7 in the Pouille match.)
– Sublime volley. More willing to come to the net compared to Monday.
– Excellent anticipation and speed. Rafa was simply everywhere. Consequently Khach was spraying errors left and right.
– Better court position; more aggressive on 2nd return. Much better return overall.
– Super clutch when facing BPs.
Next, a quick rematch with Isner. He’s been cruising through his matches so far, bagelling Mayer in today match, but mostly because he was super clutch (3/4 and 4/4 on BP compared to Rafa 1/4 and 3/10) and these super fast courts are of course very much to his liking.
The key for Rafa no doubt is ROS. I’m sure he will be studying Isner’s serve carefully and won’t let himself play on backfoot again.
Will be a very good preparation for Shanghai, Paris and WTF. Only I hope he won’t waste too much energy, take the ball earlier and be more careful with his movement.
What an awesome analysis. Fun to read. Hope you do more.
I watched the match and reading your analysis…SPOT ON on everything.
Many thanks, Gianna ☺️. I was actually messing up the time all the time. The day before yesterday => yesterday. Tuesday => Monday. Sorry about that. Guess I was a bit too excited. :p
Thanks for your thoughts Rainier, I could only follow scores today and it’s good to see descriptions of the numbers I was looking at. The first game was worrying, but Rafa held and it sounds like he did well from then on. A straight sets win with no tie-breaks is always good 🙂
“I’m sure he will be studying Isner’s serve carefully and won’t let himself play on backfoot again” -Of course there was the Laver Cup match, where interestingly Rafa returned some of the time much closer to the baseline, against Isner, of all people – but I believe Rafa has also practised with John in Beijing. Better the devil you know…
Hi jas. I’m glad it was of some help. It was a great match for Rafa for sure. Khachanov was actually playing well. It’s just he clearly doesn’t matchup well with Rafa, while Pouille is a different story.
Still, it doesn’t change that Rafa must have gained more and more confidence with each match and is starting to find his best form again. 🙂
Re Isner, I have no doubt it was Rafa who invited him to practise. The problem with him in the LC was he couldn’t have a decent read on Isner’s serve, it made me believe Mac must have shown him a thing or two. He was extremely good at his serve and disguising it himself.
If current Rafa is as good this Asian swing/indoor season as he was in 2015, which he definitely should be, if not better, he should come through Isner with not many troubles. Not easily, never has been. But I believe he can avoid unecessary complications if he hold his nerves well.
One more thing. He used to have a special treatment to big servers on faster courts. He’s not doing it this year except the Raonic match at the AO. But I really hope to see that self of his back this season. Don’t want to watch him blown off court by any big server/hitter anymore.
P.S. Remember his match against Karlovic at Shanghai 2015? Especially those famous triple 1st serve return winners? 😀
have a great match Rafa XXX
have to say love your yaught!!!vamossxx
All the best Rafa for your next game,
and do remember to get some rest and relaxation.
Love and prayers,
Good luck Rafael. God bless you. Vamos Rafa. Your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley. x🐂🏆👑⛵️⛹🏿🏌😀😊
Good luck Champ Rafa 🍀❤️
Rafa good luck vamosssssssssssssssssss champ all the way.🎾🎾🎾🎾👍👍👍👍🇺🇸❤️
Karen is very talented, but I think he still makes too many UFEs. If Rafa is feeling welll, he should win. Two out of three is always tricky and I hear the fast court is not favorable to Rafa’s game.
Good luck and Vamos Rafa <3