Happy birthday, Rafa! He turns 25 today, and my, he has grown into a fine young man right before my eyes 🙂
But I think there is no time for celebration yet. At least for today. An hour from now Rafael Nadal is to face the British Andy Murray in the fight for a place in the finals at the Roland Garros, 2pm Paris time, 7pm Phnom Penh time.
Prior to this, last Wednesday I watched his QFs match against Robin Soderling – and my – I was jumping up and down watching a different Rafa on the court! It looked exactly like Rafael Nadal – and so nice to see him back to his old self again! The cocky Soderling was overpowered – with every ounce of tennis mojo squeezed out of him – by Rafa, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7). But in last Wednesday’s match, Robin made a lot of mistakes and that’s because Rafa was hammering him right from the beginning of the first set. As someone pointed out in an online forum – Rafa was forcing the unforced errors on Robin! Well, that’s what exactly happened. Robin left the court hastily after the match and you could see utter disbelief and disappointment in his face. Soderling is known to be the only man to have beaten the obviously ailing Rafa in 2009. Seriously, did he think he’s going to beat him again? No siree… Remember, Roland Garros is Rafa’s “home”.
So tonight, it’s going to be an exciting match. The last time the two met was in the semis in Monte Carlo with Rafa winning the match. Andy Murray can be (overly) dramatic at times (there was a one hour injury delay even before the match started because Murray had to take an injury time out) and he is certainly a pain to some players because of his grit and determination (injury – what injury?) . And this year, he is playing really GREAT tennis here at RG despite his ankle-injury. Again, there was definitely no sign of that injury as he was running and chasing the ball on the court like a dog chases a ball. Oh well. This is the first time that I’ve seen someone with an injury play so well and winning matches 😛
My thoughts? Well I am absolutely sure that I will be chewing my fingernails again and there will be lots of “walking away from the television set” moments tonight. LOL. Sure, Rafa’s games are always like this – designed to make his fans to be always on the edge; watching him play is always an exhilarating, rollercoaster experience. But that’s what I love about him – his ability to keep playing and find ways to make that extra shot no matter how daunting or impossible it may seem.
Gotta go now… the match will start in about 15minutes.
Vamos, Rafa. Go get yourself a birthday present… courtesy of Andy.
By the way, Francesca “Frankie” Schiavone. RG champion in 2010 and this year’s finalist, says she believes Rafa will win the match. Magdilang-anghel ka sana, Frankie!
In other news, I’m very happy for Li Na’s win over MaSha, that’s Maria Sharapova, guys. She’s the first Chinese (and perhaps the first Asian, too) to reach the Roland Garros finals, and it’s her second Grand Slam finals appearance. Way to go!!
Photo Credit:Roland Garros Photo Gallery.