Friday, March 20, 2009

Video: Did Nalbandian choke or does Rafa have supernatural mental abilities?

Some of us didn't catch the entire Rafa-Nalbandian match last night because of how late it started, and in my case, with the whole 9-hour time difference and all, I woke up right before the second set tie-break started and watched the rest of the match, or what was left of it anyways, which given the 3-6, 7-6, 6-0 result, wasn't a whole lot.

I watched a lot of highlights from the match to try and figure out how Rafa saved 5 match points against a rival, who had practically destroyed him the only 2 times they played before, and then snatch the final set 6-0, just like that??!?!

Everyone is saying Nalbandian choked... Why the heck would he choke against Nadal, whom he beat 6-4, 6-0 in Paris and 6-1, 6-2 in Madrid, less than 2 years ago?? If anything, Rafa was the one who wasn't confident and was totally dominated in the first set and a half.

Am guessing it's a little bit of both, cuz we all know how strong Rafa is mentally and he probably pulled some mental strength from a reserve somewhere just when he needed it, while Nalbandian must have been overwhelmed by Rafa's sudden elevated performance at 3-5 down in the second set. After losing the tiebreak, Nalbandian just ran out of gas completely in the 3rd set, where he was probably replaying those 5 match points he couldn't convert over and over in his mind.

What Rafa said after the match:

"I think today [I] was lucky. Anyway, well, I am not happy. I'm not very happy about myself and the first two sets. I think I had from the memory, a lot the last two matches. He played well, yes, but I… was a little bit scared about his backhand. I didn't go to the match with the best mentality."

"I think I didn't go to the match with [a] clear idea how to play the match… I didn't have exactly the tactic or the things I had to do to win this match. Probably because I lost very easy in the last two matches against him."

Next up for Rafa is Nalbandian's compatriot and doubles partner this week, Juan Martin Del Potro. I think after Wednesday's match, Nadal will step on court for the quarterfinal with a totally different mindset than the one he had against Nalbandian. Nadal is never easy on himself and he will approach Friday's match with a much stronger attitude and will try to redeem himself. In other words... I believe Del Potro is up for a drubbing.

1 comment:

Craig Hickman said...

It's almost always both.