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Rafa-Nole Semi Puts Verdasco Into WTFs

Posted by gauloises1 on November 13, 2009

The London World Tour Finals is set, courtesy of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who defeated the remaining contenders Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Robin Soderling in the Paris quarterfinals this afternoon.

robin soderling

jo-wilfried tsonga

Nadal-Tsonga was by far the better match, it must be said. Soderling was wound visibly tight and Djokovic appeared exhausted, especially during the second set which he dropped 16, but in the end too many unforced errors cost Soderling. It was a ground-out win rather than domination by Djokovic, but a win all the same. Good stuff.

Nadal was probably the surprise of the day. Tsonga was picked as the favourite coming in by more than a few pundits, but really Rafa was unrecognisable as the same person who played Almagro and Robredo. I thought he was serving brilliantly and hitting his forehand really well to stave off five break points in the early stages of the match, and from then on he didn’t look like losing. As for Tsonga, he wasn’t playing badly but terrible shot-selection cost him at the biggest moments. It’s Nadal’s first win over a top 10 player since Madrid and would seem to signal a welcome return to form.

novak djokovicrafael nadal

The elimination of Tsonga and Soderling gives Fernando Verdasco a lock on the no. 8 spot in the race, meaning we’ll be seeing him in the 02. I would have really liked to see Soderling qualify, just because for me his achievements and the way he’s played this year have been stunning, but Verdasco’s had the best year of his career too – no question. So congratulations to him.

fernando verdasco

Soderling and Tsonga will presumably be lined up as first and second alternates for London – if they chose to play. It’ll be interesting to see how that pans out.

It’s also worth noting that Nadal, Nole and JMDP all have opportunities to gain big points here and close the gap on those ahead of them in the rankings – although in JMDP’s case that may be a pipe dream. Still, there’s a lot of potential for ranking changes as a result of the last few matches of the year,* which I think is cool. Keeps things interesting.

*May not be true, I’m just repeating what I hear because I hate looking at the numbers.

8 Responses to “Rafa-Nole Semi Puts Verdasco Into WTFs”

  1. mina said

    Rafa’s pic looks like he’s um, in the process of elimination. hehe

    • neil in toronto said

      ROFL Mina, i wish i hadn’t read that so soon after dinner, but thanx for the laugh. Well done to Rafa and Nole, saw their matches on t.v.. I wasn’t as bowled over by Rafa’s play as some, but he did amazingly well at the end of each set. Hopefully Novak isn’t so exhausted that tomorrow’s match isn’t competitive. Also hope that if it IS super competitive, it doesn’t lead to the dual carnage like their Madrid semi.

      • Aleksa said

        I am still recovering from that heart-shattering demise in Madrid.

        • gauloises1 said

          I don’t know if I can cope with another match like Madrid.

          • FortuneCookie said

            At this stage of the season I don’t think they could either 😉
            Nice to see the WTF players official though,am totally excited for it,for the selfish reason that it meants 2 huge events in the UK each year instead of just 1 😛
            Am trying hard not to be jealous of a friend who has semifinal tickets though!

          • neil in toronto said

            i had been wondering why it was so hard for me to get into watching Rafa’s matches the past couple of times, then i realized Rafa+Indoor hc usually = frazzle and defensive play.

  2. bento said

    WTF?

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