Monday, September 9, 2013


What does the future hold at the men's final US Open 2013 for world number 1 tennis player, Novak Djokovic, and world number 2, Rafael (Rafa) Nadal?

They walk onto court with bags slung over their shoulders, business as usual in these tense times.

SET 1~

Novak wins the coin toss and wins the first game handily.  No surprises here. Both players are on serve, then Rafa breaks Novak, so now Novak is behind 3-4.  Oh no! Rafa breaks Novak again, we are already 36 minutes into the match, Novak broken twice, and 8 straight points go to Rafa. The score is now 5-2, Rafa. Novak in his bright red tennis shirt and matching sneakers forces a winner, 0-15. Rafa works his buggy whip forehand, and wins almost every time. 15-15.  15-30. Novak tries to grab momentum, even if to move him into the next set.  Windy day. 30-30. Nadal hits another winner to the corner, 40-30. Let ball.  Now Novak hits long, 42 minutes, Rafa takes the first set 6-2.

SET 2~

Okay, let's just start over here. Novak opens the set. 15-0. 15-15.  Novak is moving before Rafa makes his shot, so Rafa hits to the open area, as described by John M.  30-15.  Novak takes teh first game, again, and now Rafa is up to serve. He is just a powerhouse. Novak is leading teh gam eat 15-40.  Fault.  Novak hits out. 40-30.  Just too good, Rafa hits a fabulous passing shot while Novak at net.  DEUCE.  Rafa has Novak on his knees, Rafa ready to take his game now. Novak shanks wide, 1-1 now.  That was a long game.  Some rallies, now Rafa shanks a ball after a long point.  No one is perfect here.  Novak now hits a sharp short volley at net, tough shot, bravo Novak.  Game to Novak, 2-1. A 23 shot rally, Rafa cuts it sharp for a winner.  So much spin, light frame helps for racquet head speed says John M.  2-2 now.  

Novak serving, hits a winner, 15-0.  Rafa hits down the line for a winner.  A rally, 40-15 Novak.  ACE!  His third in the match, 3-2 now.Super long rallies, these two players are so evenly matched. Such grace and athleticism.  Break point for Novak, Rafa serves.  Whoa, a standing ovation, a   54 shot rally such power and strength, we are all breathless, Novak gets the break, 4-2.  Nadal has not been broken in 89 times till now.

Novak serves, but down 0-30. Hits out now, 3 quick points.  As if nothing happened before.  Novak reaches to get a volley, 15-40.  30-40 now.Novak hits long, back on serve, 4-3 Novak.

 Novak screams into his towel at the changeover. A first for me to see that!  0-15.   It's beginning to get dark out now.  15-30, Rafa serves.   30-30, Novak hits long.  rallies, 40-30.  Rafa is going for bigger serves to help him get this lead.  DEUCE! Novak hits a corner shot, inside.  90 miles per hour winner.  Novak shanks a ball, AD in.  Novak wins on a corner again, wind makes the play tricky today, as yesterday in the women's finals.  Rafa's serve is just too good.  AD in.  Wow, Rally and Novak hits a wicked overhead to win the point and level the playing field back to DEUCE.  Novak misses a serve from Rafa.  Wow, Novak hits for a winner again, DEUCE!  8 minutes into this game. Novak returns out. AD in. Wide ball, DEUCE.  Rafa nets the ball, AD out. Novak gets a chance to break Rafa here.  Oh my goodness, 5-3!  Long rally, crowd on its feet, shots so fast, then Novak gets to net and goes in for the winner.

Novak serving for the set.  15-15 now. 15-30 now. 30-30.  Rafa playing against the wind.  The strength of these men is incredible.  40-30.  They are one to one in power.  Novak hits a down the line winner. Takes the set!  

SET 3~

A set apiece now.  Both men are now playing their best, this could now be a very long night!  Rafa serves, 0-40 now.  Hits out, an early break for Novak!  0-1, Rafa.  Novak has clear eyes, he is focused. Rafa seems slightly weary, Novak reaches for a sharp net shot again, Novak has the wind behind him, making possible a double lead break.  30-15 now. Here we go, 40-15 now.  40-30.  Can't be careless now.  Novak errors at net, DEUCE.  Rafa hits wide after another many shot rally, AD Novak.  ACE! To the middle T line, Novak holds,  2-0.

Rafa serves, 15-0. Novak is being moved around, points dictated by Novak.  Momentum has clearly changed. 15-15, now 15-30.  Rafa is in a hole now, he gets to net to gain a point. 30-30.  Novak hits out, 40-30.  Wow, just too good, fast crosscourt shot from Novak for a winner, DEUCE.  Another break possibility. AD out.  Novak hits long, DEUCE. Rafa serves wide.  Okay, power shots, then Rafa slices a drop shot!  Moves his grip around for that winner.  At the two hour mark now.  We are seeing their every shot now.  AD Rafa, now Novak hits long. game Rafa 1-2.  We are in for a long night :)

This is such an important set, both men are battling for the take.  Novak serves, misses a drop shot at the net.  Now he gets it.  15-15 now.  Now 30-15 with a volley winner from Novak.  Rafa hits long. 40-15. I just love the score of 40-15, but be careful!  Has Rafa on his knees now, ACE! 3-1, Novak.

Rafa serves, but it is Novak who is moving him around.  0-15. 30-15 now.  Wow, great serve from Rafa, easy hold at 40-15.  No aces, no double faults from Rafa tonight.  Game Rafa, 2-3.

Novak serves. Every seat is taken at this Arthur Ashe stadium.  Vertigo plus in those high seats!  0-15, Novak nets his angle shot.  15-15, Rafa moves out of range for Novak's winner. Hmmmm.  Novak hits long now.  15-30.  Too good, Novak has Rafa on his knees now.  30-30. oh my, Rafa shanks a ball and miss hits his back hand. 40-30. Fault.  Novak shanks out now.  DEUCE. Novak hits long, break point for Rafa, AD out.  Fault.  Ugh oh.  Rafa breaks back Novak!  3-3 now.  Huge opportunity for Rafa.

Rafa serves.  Novak has to protect his momentum, but he nets.  Rafa smells blood and is really going for his shots.  30-0.  Fault.  Fast play, but Novak misses wide form the net, 40-0.  Fault.  Double fault.  40-15.  Novak hits long.  Game Rafa, 4-3, back on serve.

Novak serves, Rafa hits long, 15-0.  ACE! Number 6 for this match.  30-0.  30-15.   40-15. "He has Nadal reacting, instead of creating," says Mary Carillo. Game Novak, up at net and drop shots the ball. 4-4 now!

Rafa serves.  perfect lob and incredible touch from Novak, a slice, a drop shot, a lob all in noe from Novak.  0=15.  great shot from Novak!  Rafa slips and falls, have to proftect those feet and legs!  0-30.  0-40.  Triple break point for Novak.  15-40.  Big rally and variety of shots, Novak nets.  30-40.  ACE!  First ace of teh match for Rafa!  DEUCE!  A BIG moment here now.  Notice the word moment is in the word momentum. AD in! DEUCE!  AD in!  Game Rafa, standing ovation for Rafa's come back in teh game, plus the superb quality of play!

Novak serves.  Some back and forth, 30-0, then a great play of all the shots each had, Rafa gets the point, 30-15.  Now 30-30.  Rafa knows how to grab momentum. Novak nets a ball. 30-40, set point for Rafa! Rafa has Novak on his knees, Rafa leads 2 sets to 1! I have never witnessed such power playing in my life, these two warriors are more, they are artists in every sense of the word.  Tennis artists.

SET 4~

Rafa serves.  15-15 now. 15-30. Some back and forth, DEUCE.  Novak on his knees, AD in on a low volley at the net. A tough ball to handle, as John M. says.  A big overhead, Rafa gets the point and service game, at 1-0.

Novak serves now. Very fast points, 0-40. Ouch!  15-40 now.  Fault.  The ball hits teh net and drops in, point to Novak!  30-40.  Hold that momentum!  Oh my, just too good, Rafa hit s a corner down the line winner.  Game Rafa.  Novak at 0-2, broken in the early third set. But, tennis can be forgiving, will Novak break Rafa back?

Rafa serves now. Too good. Game Rafa, 3-0.

Novak serves now.   0-15.  Can Novak turn the tide? He's slowing himself down to gather a piece of that momentum. Good, 15-15 now.  30-15.  Rafa has earned 12 titles so far. 40-15. Yes!  Rafa hits wide, game Novak.  1-3.

Novak's job is to break Rafa now.  Rafa serves.  0-15, hold onto that momentum, Novak! I am breathless, just too good!  Rafa gets the point, uses his right hand to his advantage in a two handed back hand cross court winner.  15-15.  Rafa has Novak on the run, 30-15.  Novak had no answer to that, says Jim C. I like Rafa's pink Nike logos on his shirt!  40-15!  49 unforced errors of Novak this match.  Novak hits long, 4-1.

Novak serves.  15-0 now.  Nice over the shoulder drop shot, Novak!  30-0.  Novak nets. 30-15.  Novak hits long.  30-30.  Novak hits wide.  Break point for a 5 to 1 lead.  30-40.  Pressure.  Novak hits a passing shot long and wide.  1-5. Game Rafa.

Rafa serves for the championship. Novak returns well. 0-15.  Anything can happen, let us see.  Great serve and volley, Rafa, moved forward to cut the ball off.  15-15.  Rafa has broken 7 times, Novak only three.  30-15. One ball at a time.  Novak cannot return the serve.  40-15!  match point is here!  The crowd is loud!  Request for quiet.  Novak nets after a few shots. Rafa wins!!! 

4 sets, 3 hours and 20 minutes. 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

CONGRATULATIONS, RAFA!   His second major title at the US Open!!

New York Times chronology

Out of 256 total tennis players competing at the US Open 2013, men and women, the finals boil down to a mere four players.  In these men's finals, Novak Djokovic, you played valiantly, with grace, creativity, resolve. You are a force, and no easy win for Rafael Nadal, you are to be applauded, as witnessed tonight.

photo credit by David Goldman click here for the official US Open site

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