An epic match!

Yes, it was every bit an epic match!

An ailing Rafael Nadal survives his second round match play against Tim Smyczek in a thrilling five-setter at the Rod Laver Arena. Yes, it was a grueling five-set match.

I don’t know about you but I would not be able to watch and sit still all that painful five-sets. Wouln’t you?
Luckily, I only caught the last set, otherwise, I would be biting-my-nails-again and clutching-my-chest-hoping-my-heart-wouldn’t-burst-out. In fact, I was too terrified to watch and see him lose in the end. I had to shoo my dogs away, especially the smallest one, because he was nibbling my ankle as if he was nibbling a tenor saxophone mouthpiece while I sat there, wriggling in my seat, watching a sweat-drenched Rafa scraping and grinding to stay in the match. He vomited at the sidelines as Rafa was feeling ill. He could’ve stopped (retired) but he didn’t.  Poor boy. I don’t know why I get so emotional every time Rafa is playing but anyone can not deny that this is what the tennis world missed when he got injured last year!

Rafa reacting on his win against Smee at the 2nd round AO15
Rafa on his knees after delivering his winning shot against Smee in the second round match at the AO2015.

To be fair to Rafa’s opponent, Tim Smyczek, who the media and Rafans baptised as Smee, he was a gentleman and his sportsmanship should be commended. And he’s got a new fan in me – what a great guy he is! Smee has a very likable attitude on court – he smiles at every point won or lost and applauds Rafa’s efforts, too. Now there are only a few players like him on ATP and I hope other players emulate him (I’m looking at you, Lukas Rosol!).

The tennis gods must be pleased with Rafa’s determination and grit. He survived – albeit barely – and lived to play another day at the Australian Open 2015. His fighting spirit is incredible, he grinds like it was his last.  And, he celebrates as if he’s already won the title when it is only the second round. How can you not admire this guy? Truly remarkable, that Rafa. This is one match I will definitely remember for a long time.

Here’s the highlights of the #smadal match last night.

To know more about the on-court drama, hear it straight from Rafa. Here’s the transcript of his post-match presser. And here’s Smee’s presser.

Australian Open 2015 now on!

Yes it is the first round today in sunny Melbourne!

Rafael Nadal vs Mikhail Youzhny AO 2015 first round
Rafael Nadal, on his first round match against Mikhail Youzhny. Photo by Rafaholics FB page. Please click the photo to take you to Rafaholics page.

Ladies and gentlemen of tennis are beginning their campaign today. And since it is summer Down Under, one can feel the heat, the sweat, and oh, this is the best time for deodorant – petal pushers or any deodorant that does its job.

And my boy, Rafael Nadal, played earlier today against the Russian Mikhail Youzhny. He is simply fab in his pink and short-shorts, which he prefers as he is comfortable in it. Oh, did I mention there is also a sparkly pink stripe on his shorts?

I was only able to watch the match intermittently but I’m very pleased with Rafa and his game. I’ll watch the full match later tonight, hopefully someone’s able to post it on youtube.

Not in the mood

Two days since the Australian men’s finals and I haven’t written a thing. I said I was going to write a tennis post but since my boy, Rafael Nadal, got injured unexpectedly during the match and lost, I sort of lost my enthusiasm, too. I allowed myself to be idle, my mind wandering and wondering about what happened.

I tried to distract myself by browsing through online shops. Fortunately, I forgot about this not so pleasant news and got hooked with mother rings,  click here to find out what it is 🙂 It’s a ring that has birthstones for each of the children of the moms. I think it is a brilliant gift idea, for birthday or Mother’s Day. I’ll keep this in mind.

I think I’ll write again about Rafa’s loss next time. It’s just I’m not really up to it right now.

Li Na, Australian Open 2014 Women’s Champion

Congratulations. I don’t follow women’s tennis much but I know this year is Li Na’s third bid for the trophy. She lost last year and the year before that. This year, she is third time lucky!

She beat the diminutive player from Slovakia, Dominika Cibulkova, in straight sets, 7-6, 6-0. Both are a joy to watch. Cibulkova impressively beat many seeded players to reach the finals. And Li Na… oh, how can I forget her? After last year’s final against Victoria Azarenka, where she fell twice on the hard court, she came back stronger and more determined to finally lift her first Australian Open trophy. Well done.

I was also looking forward to her speech. And, as always, she was her usual amusing self. The crowd loved her! I was trying to listen to her speech but when she stepped close to the microphone, some parts of her speech came out garbled – the AO people should use audio-technica microphones instead for better sound. So I looked in YouTube to find a video, and I wasn’t disappointed.

She’s really funny. Here’s a sample:

“Now husband. Famous in China. Gave up everything to travel with me. Fix racquet, fix drink. Thanks a lot you nice guy. Also you so lucky.”

Hahaha. I agree, Lina. Husband so lucky.

Here’s the complete video of Li Na’s speech:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-uVsj2pJDo&feature=share&list=PL2RR–XMozwWg0zMOdQFJxQHD8KLT1KqY[/youtube]

Don’t you just love her? Hope to see you accepting more trophies this year.

Okay, enough. Tomorrow, I’ll be a nervous wreck again. It’s my boy, Rafael Nadal, against another Swiss guy – no, not Roger Federer – this time it’s Stan Wawrinka who defeated HelmetBoi (aka Novak Djokovic) in the QFs. How good is that?

So, expect again another tennis post in the coming days 🙂

Random blabbers

A friend of mine is planning to sell her old desktop pc so she could get a brand new one with higher specs. I went to her house and found her saving all her files and preparing to do a hard drive wipe before putting the PC up for sale. A hard drive wipe, I learned, ensures that all your files are erased so that no one can get their hands on the files that could not be wiped out by merely deleting and formatting. That is so good to know! I never heard of it before and it’s such a relief to know that there’s a double-tap to ensure everything is completely gone from my computer drive if and when I decided to sell my PC.

So while we were going through her files, I saw this recent photo of Rafael Nadal, aka, Rafa, who recently won his 8th Roland Garros title. It’s the most titles all-time achieved by any man in any single grand slam!

 Rafael Nadal King of Clay Roland Garros
Rafa on the cover of Australian Tennis Magazine. Oh, so adorkable Rafa!

Darn it. I really want to have a copy of this. He looks so goooood in this cover. I wish I could alert someone in Australia! Lol.

It’s been two weeks since he lifted that trophy and the Rafa-fever hasn’t died down yet. Now that the green, green grass of Wimbledon is around the corner, tongues are wagging about Rafa’s chances. Some tennis “experts” give their opinions putting a lot of weight on the this year’s draw at the Wimbledon (Rafa is seeded 5th and he is in the same draw as Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga,Lleyton Hewitt, Stan Wawrinka, et. al) But I don’t really care. Rafa has already proven that he can deal with the tough draws. Case in point, the just concluded Roland Garros tournament. Anyways, win or lose, he is still my champion!

 

A house guest and Rafael Nadal

Hi. Just a quick update from my side of the world.

The wind of change has come to our direction and there have been lots of changes in the homefront. All I can say is that they are all good.

A few weeks ago I received a word from a university roommate that she is coming to visit Cambodia and expressed her intent in staying at my house instead of a hotel. While I welcome the idea, I was hesitant because I have to ask my husband, who I shall call MisterDilis, if it is okay with him.

We have had guests in the past, including my former school pals and those who are from the Warmshowers.org, so it was a go. And in preparation for the arrival of our guest, we launched a spring cleaning of sorts, hahaha. Since it is still summer here and there are construction sites around us, we’re almost covered in dust. The frequent power cuts aren’t helping, too, as we have no power during the day. It’s a good thing MisterDilis lent a hand, a big help indeed, especially when it comes to repairing/replacing items at home. Good thing he owns a few pieces of cmm fixturing tools so it was not a big problem.

We are now 90% done with the preps. All we need are fresh beddings and I think we’re buying new ones early next week. We’re sort of in need of new ones, anyway.

In other news, my boy Rafael Nadal is through to another finals appearance at the Roland Garros. It’s Rafa’s 9th finals appearance and he is aiming for his 8th Roland Garros title.

Rafas winning moment by Rafaholics
Rafa’s winning moment. Photo by Rafaholics.com

He defeated Novak Djokovic, aka, HelmetBoi, in an incredibly testosterone-laden five set semi-finals last night. It’s so intense, with unbelievable shot-making tricks between the two, that one tennis analyst announced that it was the de-facto finals, hahaha.

The fifth set almost gave me a heart-attack! On the deciding (5th) set, each player with two set wins, and Rafa, down at 4-1, made an incredulous comeback from behind victory. I almost forgot that there was no tiebreaks on the fifth set; the first one to break the other wins the match. And Rafa, the tenacious, unrelenting, problem-solving matador from Spain, came out victorious at 9-7. Gosh, what an epic battle it was. You’d easily forget it was a semi finals match as both players fight tooth-and-nail against each other. It will go down as one of the most memorable semi final match in tennis history! This is the second time that Rafa denied HelmetBoi a shot at a Roland Garros title. Last year, these two met in the finals and, by now, you already know about last night’s match.

So tomorrow, Sunday, will be the real finals at the Roland Garros.  It’s going to be an all-Spanish final, with Rafa playing against compatriot David Ferrer. Coincidentally, this is David Ferrer’s first finals appearance after five tries, if I am not mistaken. I am pretty confident about Rafa’s chances against David. If you look at the H2H stats between the two, Rafa has a 19-4 win-loss record against David. But, I don’t trust figures that much. It’s only #InRafaWeTrust!
Well, should David win, it will be his first ever major title and, at 31 years old, he’ll be the oldest player to win so (next to Andre Agassi who, if memory serves me right, won the Australian Open in the early 2003 when he was 32). Besides, I welcome the sight of David lifting the RG trophy more than seeing HelmetBoi doing so.

It is no secret that I would love Rafa to bite and lift his 8th RG trophy. It gives him the lead in terms of the number of titles won in one major (ahead of Roger Federer and Pete Sampras who both have seven each of the Wimbledon titles to their names).

Rafael Nadal vs Grigor Dimitrov: A Narrow Escape

Wow! As in double WoW!

Rafael Nadal has survived the Baby Fed, aka Grigor Dimitrov, test.

It was a hard-fought match and either of the players deserved to win. Dimitrov’s performance impressed me. He has indeed improved and now I’ve seen why he’s called the Baby Fed.

921428_563100547044951_1380160379_o
Vamos, Rafa!

The first set was routine, with Rafa breezing through Dimitrov at 6-2.  My friend Ana and I were bantering about how we love a straightforward Rafa match no matter how boring it might be. Then the unthinkable happened… the second set happened. OMG. Ana and I were at the edge of our seats. We saw Rafa committing error after error, especially on the net. He was sluggish and his serve got broken, too. Twice.

To be honest, in this frightful moments, Ana and I often get anxious. So to avoid further distraught, we agreed to walk away from our computers for awhile hoping that the unlucky streak would disappear.  I was peeking from time to time -I could not resist – but mi amiga was firm. She was tracking via online score.When I thought that the coast was cleared of the bad vibes, I took another peek. Boy, I was wrong.  Worse, the unimaginable happened. Rafa lost the second set. Rafa lost a set! In Monte Carlo. Aaarrgggghhh.

It was a frightening realisation because we never ever entertained the thought of Dimitrov causing that much of a threat to Rafa – on a clay court – and forcing a third set  🙁  We resumed watching in the third set just as Rafa was serving and about to even the score (4-3, Dimitrov). There it was, a nagging thought of the possibility that Dimitrov would hand Rafa his first loss here in Monte Carlo since 2003. Much more, with a taped back, the nagging thought became a booming voice in my head. Was Rafa in a lot of pain? Ana and I wondered. I do not want to steal thunder from Dimitrov  (because he was at his best today) but the taped back must have contributed to Rafa’s troubles. (Also you cannot discount the fact that the weather condition {it was chilly, according to the commentators, so the ball was slower and didn’t get the bounce  as it would on a sunny weather } did not favour Rafa. So essentially Rafa was having a bad day today!) In the end, the mental toughness mattered. And Rafa prevailed, much to our great relief. I had to contain myself from screaming lest my husband kick me out of the living room. It was hard not to squeal in delight, considering the circumstances, lol.

When I think about this scary moment,  I must say that this kind of match is good for Rafa. Part of me disagrees though because I can not watch one more nail-biting match;  but another part of me thinks matches like this make him work hard against tough opponents. So yeah, even if  Dimitrov made him work more than we had anticipated, in a way it  resulted positively  in Rafa’s favour. Agree?

Tomorrow, Rafa is set to play against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. I don’t know about Rafa but I fear for him. Tsonga is a tricky player, and I just hope and pray that Rafa is not in a lot of pain!

Here’s Rafa’s postmatch interview.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/ZrgpWVihBj4[/youtube]

Rafa has only praises for Dimitrov and mentions that he needs matches like this to be able to get back to his form.
For the full match, it’s already on YouTube.

Nadal vs Dimitrov , Masters MONTE CARLO 2013 (QF): Part 1, Full Match
Nadal vs Dimitrov , Masters MONTE CARLO 2013 (QF): Part 2, Full Match

P.S. I just have to say this – Dimitrov looks like a younger version of Hugh Jackman, aka, Wolverine. Did you  notice it, too?

Photo Credit: GettyImages via Rafaholics Facebook Page

Rafael Nadal’s clay court action begins…

… yes, for Rafael Nadal, my boy, it begins today. Exciting!

His campaign for a 9th Monte Carlo title will begin after today’s first match. See this sked:

Screenshot from 2013-04-17 16:08:29
For full order of play, click the photo . Source: Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters Site.

As you can see, he is set to play Marinko Matosevic from Australia. This is going to be their first meeting. Hence, I do not know much about this guy.  Interesting to note that these two have never played each other at an ATP World Tour, Grand Slam or Davis Cup main draw event, which makes me anticipate the match even more. Rafa has this habit of getting nervous and playing slow when playing against someone for the first time.

Here’s more from the H2H stats from the ATP Monte Carlo site:

Screenshot from 2013-04-17 16:08:13

I do not know Matosevic much apart from info on his bio provided at the ATP Monte Carlo website. And I am too lazy to look him up. However, I’ve read the observations of some Rafa fans, particularly of QueridoRafa, that Matosevic is a right-hander with good backhands, can serve big (when it’s in), a hard-hitter and tends to go for high-risk winners.

So am going with QueridoRafa’s conclusion… that the match could potentially be very difficult, or, relatively easy for Rafa. Whatever. Lel. I am hoping it’s the latter 😉

In a few more minutes, after the first 10.30am (Monaco time) match, I am tuning in to my favourite online streaming site. Can’t wait to see Rafa walk on the clay court and play his first match of the season.

Vamos, a campeon!

And when Rafa is taking a bath…

… the whole world is watching! Lol.

This was actually a photo Rafa posted on his Facebook account just after he won the Indian Wells Tournament.

892836_10151416000801026_1079305006_o
Eres el mejor, Rafa! Photo Source: Rafa Nadal’s Facebook Page

Two thumbs up and a cheeky grin from our campeon! Vamos!