A Rough Day for Rafa

Yesterday Rafa did something rare. He lost a three setter after winning the first set. The opposition was the brilliant rising star at #4 in the world, Daniil Medvedev.

In the first set the changes over time in Rafa’s game were evident, a more penetrating serve and an ability to pick off the low volley. But these were acquired not natural skills done again with the opposite hand. Rafa does everything else right handed.

Under the pressure of serving for set two, the serve broke down. Under the heat of set three his net play weakened.

Medvedev’s game strengthened. Medvedev lacked a history of a failure to win this indoor tournament numerous times. In those days it was a lack of Rafa”s imposing topspin deadened by indoor courts. Now the problems were compounded under maximum pressure.

But, Rafa will be winning Roland Garros at 60.