Thursday 28 June 2012

David vs Goliath (Rosol def. Nadal) at Wimbledon 2012

Walking onto the Court today, Rafael Nadal had his sights set on a routine win, while Rosol had an unsurmountable mountain in front of him. Rosol was bidding to reach to reach the 3rd round here and equal his best Grand Slam performance (3rd round appearance at RG 2011).

Rosol currently sitting at a ranking of 100, in his past 5 visits at Wimbledon had never made it out of the 1st round of QUALIFIERS, but defeated 64 36 76 75 Dodig in the 1st round on his Wimbledon debut. Having beaten Dodig must have given him the confidence to beat the reigning Roland Garros champion, since Dodig was one of the last few guys to have beaten Nadal, when he beat him last year in the second round of Montreal Canada.

Nadal had never lost in the second round of Wimbledon during his past 7 visits to Wimbledon but once, back in 2005 and during his past 5 visits he had made it to the finals here, winning on two ocassions in 2008 and 2010. Rosol on the other hand had won a total of 3 matches in the 5 Grand Slams he had played before Wimbledon this year, all the 3 wins coming on clay. Rosol was 0-3 against top 10 this year and 1-4 against the elite in his small career, where he has won just 18 (11 of these wins have come this year) matches and lost 32 matches.

But it all changed for Rosol today. Having played flawlessly in the first set and still lost it, I thought he is done for good, but he rebounded to take the next two sets and played flawless in the 5th set to clinch the BIGGEST VICTORY of his career and cause one of the BIGGEST UPSETS of the WIMBLEDON HISTORY.

Rosol's lone victory over a top 10 had come over Melzer, then world no.8 at the second round of the Roland Garros, when he came back from two sets to one down to clinch the match.

Rosol had won back to back matches on grass for the first time this year in his 3rd round showing at Queen’s (l. Marin Cilic) – his first-ever Tour-level grass court event. He attempted to qualify for 2012 Eastbourne, but fell in the 3rd round of qualifying. So there was little if any in Rosol's favour today but he had a few things in his favour today, having won 3 of his last 4 matches against the left-handers (if that counts :) )

There was a lot of talk about which of the BIG 4 will loose earliest, and most of the people ended up with Murray's name, since he was in the toughest quarter, who could have predicted Nadal going down to Rosol in the 2nd round??? Nadal with this defeat has become the first of BIG 4 to fall, and with the 2nd seed out ,the possibility of the top 2 seeds making it to the final has ended.

Let us have a look at how Nadal lost in numbers:

Description     Nadal             Rosol
Aces       19           22
Double faults         2            3
1st serves in       67 %                  67 %         
1st serve points won       78 %           83 %
2nd serve points won       63 %           58 %
Net points won       67 %           79 %
Break points won       75 %           50 %
Receiving points won       26 %           27 %
Winners       41           65
Unforced errors       16          29
Total points won       137        139

The match was close, no doubt, Rosol had 3 more aces than Nadal, the most important being the one on the match point of-course, but he aslo hit one more double fault than Nadal.

Nadal and Rosol both served at 67% but Rosol won a whooping 83%, 5% more than Nadal, of his first serves. Nadal, however bettered Rosol on 2nd serves, winning 63%, 5% more than Rosol, but that was not enough, not at least today to get Nadal past Rosol.

There was a moment in the 3rd set when Nadal argued with the chair umpire during a changeover when he went down a break in the 3rd set, apparently irritated by something of Rosol, and just after two games Nadal actually deliberately brushed past his opponent, and did not acknowledge the contact.

I had written Rosol off when Nadal won the first set, but he had other plans. He went on to win the next two sets. Most of us had written him off again, as Nadal stormed back to win the 4th set and level the match at 2 sets a piece but Rosol played like a David against Goliath. He went for his own from the very start of the 5th set. Nadal served to open the set and Rosol raced out into a 30-0 lead thanks to the bravest of drive-volley passes. Nadal's serve got him back in the game at 30-30. But Rosol sent a raking forehand into the corner for break point, a passing shot on the break point and BANG!!!!!!!! The final strike was made.

Serving for the match, he never let nerves get to him, an ace to open, then a forehand pinged into the corner for a clean winner, again an Ace and he had three match points. ACE on match point and HE HAD DONE IT! and with that Rosol fell to the floor to celebrate, to make him believe he had done it. Nadal walked to the net and kicked the net in frustration, before the pair shared a fairly cold handshake probably (reading too much into the hand-shake may be).

"It's like a miracle for me. I never expected this. It's just so many emotions I don't know what to say. I'm very sorry for him I played unbelievable today. I hope I can play one more match like this" Rosol in on-court interview!

Nadal moves on with his grass season over (O YES! Olympics remain, where Nadal is the defending gold medalist) on just the 4th day of the Wimbledon, for the first time since 2005 and Rosol moves on to celebrate the BIGGEST WIN of his career on the BIGGEST COURT and the BIGGEST STAGE.

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