Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Here we are, at the close of another Men's Final at the French Open at Roland Garros.
Enjoy the play by play, in the moment commentary of what exactly happened when!

Official French Open site with all the news!

We have Stan Wawrinka versus tennis clay court expert Rafa Nadal.  Rafa wins the coin toss, and will serve first. 


Nadal dominates on his first service game, has Stan on the run and takes the first set at 40-0.  Does this action portend a winning match for Rafa? We shall see!

Stan opens for his first service game, even the sounds of these guys playing is to be beholden to their prowess and expertise.  Rafa wins the first point at 0-15, then hits long for 15-15.  Ace!  Stan the Man knows what to do, when. 30-15 here.  Rafa nets the ball, 40-15, love this score.  Stan serves wide and out, second serve.  Stan corners Rafa deep in the backhand court, jams Rafa, and takes his first service game. On serve, 1-1.

Thirty minutes in to the match, no surprise, both players are on serve, at 2-2. Most games have gone to deuce, and both players are strong enough to face adversity, then obliterate it to hold. Rafa serving now, 40-30, and aces his second serve to hold. 3-2, Rafa.  

Here is the break for Nadal, and he gets it.  

That is what tennis is all about, breaking serve of thy opponent. Now. Rafa Nadal serving at 4-2, just what Stan Wawrinka does not want.  30-15 now. 40-15 now.  Nadal is dictating the points. Fault. Lefties love serving from the deuce court.  Nadal is no exception. We have a nice, powerful open body stance that gives us instant power and an angle our minds understand. Nadal wins the point easily; after his angled serve he runs to his backhand court and angles a winner to Wawrinka's backhand court.  5-2, Nadal.

Stan is serving to stay in the set. He can come back, but will he? Or, conserve his energy for the second set. Let us see!  A miss hit by Wawrinka, but now 15-15. Fault, nerves.  Ball in play, and Nadal out hits him at 15-30 now.  Fabulous serve, Nadal nets the ball, 30-30.  A chance!  Ball in play, all go to Nadal's bludgeoning forehand, at 30-40 now.  Stan Wawrinka is now hitting to Nadal's backhand, not much room in the court, and hits long. 

First Set goes to Rafa Nadal, 6-2.


 Rafa Nadal opens the set.  30-30 now. Stan is playing smart.  Drop shot keeps him competitive.  Nadal is not to be denied, dominates at 40-30, now wins the opening Set 2 game. 1-0.

Nadal breaks Wawrinka for a second time, 2-0 now, and Nadal is serving. 30-0. Stan Wawrinka can get back in to the match. One point at a time.  Passing shot, 40-0.  Fault.  Okay, Stan gets the point, 40-15. Here comes that side of the court we  lefties like.  Heavy serve, Stan returns and Nadal puts it back at Wawrinka's feet at the baseline for a winner.  Game Nadal, 3-0 now.

Stan is serving. Keep the mind in check and just play the game.  Stan runs to the net and gets the point!  15-0. Stan now angles the point! 30-0 now.  Here is a player not to be denied.  40-0 now!  Love Stan Wawrinka.  Come in on your serve, change it up says John MacEnroe.  40-15 now.  Fault.  Let.  Stan hits to Nadal's backhand a few times, then pulls Nadal wide in AD court then Nadal hits a wide forehand. Game Wawrinka! 3-1 now.

Nadal is serving now.  30-30 now.  Fault.  Wawrinka hits wide, 40-30 now. Fault.  A rally and Nadal out hits Wawrinka who hits the ball long.  This has happened before,  Stan's chance is to shorten the points.  believe me, I have been there.  if you are losing and another player is out hitting you, the match will not change and you will lose big time.  As a defender against this playing tactic, you have to put your ego aside and find a way to avoid the long rallies that a player like Nadal feed off.  Game Nadal, 4-1.

An hour in to the match now.

Wawrinka is serving, what will he do?  30-0 now. Big serves, go Wawrinka!  Nets the ball, 30-15.  Nadal hits out, 40-15.  Nadal is moving Stan side to side but Stan is going for the slide, angles a shot to backhand of Nadal at 99 miles an hour, return from Nadal and Nadal hits a winner to the sideline, 40-30.  Stan fights for the next point and gets it. Beware the fabulous shot because you have a high probability to miss the next one, even the great champions play in to this life folly as well. Sois sage. Be wise. Game Wawrinka! 4-2, advantage to take the set is still to Nadal.

Nadal is serving. Tight rally, Nadal is really moving Wawrinka around the court, 15-0. Now 30-0 with a winning volley. Stan hits a drop shot, Nadal runs up and hits the ball straight in front of him, easily passing Wawrinka to get the point.  40-0. Nadal gets the game now! 5-2.

Wawrinka serves.  Nadal is dominating, running Wawrinka back and forth on the baseline.  0-15.  15-30.  30-30, Nadal hits out. No real winners from Wawrinka, but an ace here, 40-30. Returns to Nadal's backhand a few times, then hits deep to AD corner and comes in to put away the weaker ball, game Wawrinka!  5-3 now. A chance.

Nadal is serving for the set, out-playing Wawrinka. A tough spot to be in for Stan. The crowd wants a match!  Cheering! Now Stan is moving Nadal around, but then nets the ball trying for an angle. 15-0.  Stan moves Nadal around and Nadal hits long.15-15, a chance for Wawrinka now.  Another long rally, Wawrinka hits long, 30-15 now.  Long rallies are not the friend of Stan Wawrinka today. Tactic: Nadal is now all over the net and gets the point. 40-15 now.  This is a crucial moment. Hold on now, Stan destroys his racquet, throwing it to the ground!  It is bent at its throat. Hmm, perhaps a bit too prescient that Stan has been choking during this match. The Chair Umpire gives Stan Wawrinka a 'warning' for 'racquet abuse.' Okay, Nadal dominates some more at 40-15. Ace! There is no peace for Stan thus far. 

Set to Nadal! 6-3.


About 90 minutes in to the match now.  Interesting, as compared to the women's match where Halep was up in the second set at 3-0 and we all intuitively thought she would win (and ultimately she did lose the match as we know), there is none of that sentiment or feeling here on the part of Nadal who is leading in won sets here. He is just playing the match, and the crowd wants a match.  They are getting some, but no conjecture here that Nadal is the 'winner,' he is simply playing tennis. Nadal has the momentum winning two sets thus far and we do not care, we just want tennis, and I would bet he wants tennis too.  

It is not about the 'winning,' the effort here is about the tennis. You have to let go, and simply- play the game as it is meant to be played. When the game likes you, it will reward you. Food for thought for our own matches.

Stan Wawrinka opens the set serving, 0-15. A rally, Nadal dominates at 0-30.  Wawrinka cannot out- hit him.  He has been trying these 90 minutes to not much avail.  0-40.  For our information, a commentator states that Nadal has only played a 5th set twice here at Roland Garros.  A tough statistic to pole vault over for Wawrinka.  Tactic: Nadal has Stan on bended knee and hitting backwards from the baseline, Stan gets back an okay return only to have Nadal return an inside out forehand for an angled winner to the deuce service box.  Game Nadal, 1-0.

Nadal is serving. 15-0. Nadal is playing. Nadal shows his stuff- he corners Stan in the deuce court then comes in and drop shots to the AD court for a winner.  Soft hands. 30-0.  Nadal comes in again for a second time, 40-0.  Another long rally albeit a fast one and Nadal shows more of his talents by hitting a down the line winner to the deuce court.  Tennis rewards Nadal on playing the game as it should. Game Nadal 2-0. There is no holding back here on the part of Rafa Nadal, he loves this game and it shows.

Wawrinka is serving. We want Stan's great tennis! 15-0. Both are at net, Nadal shows his stuff with another down the line passing shot. 15-15 now.  Wawrinka gets a winner! That is it, shorten the point against Nadal. 30-15.  Not to be denied, Nadal gets the next point, 30-30 now.  Stan is serving and volleying, risky but a good choice considering the tempo of this match. He gets the point, 40-30. Comes to the service box again and gets the point! Game to Wawrinka! Come in again! 2-1 is the game score now. Anyone's match!

Nadal is serving. Routine shot making. 30-15 now. Stan moved all around the court to get that point, keep the point short instead!  Okay, we are at 30-30 now, even hitting from the baseline and Nadal misses.This tactic is risky for Stan even though it worked this time for him.  Nadal gets the next point, hitting early to the corners. 40-30. Tactic: Nadal is not taking any chances on how to play his game, and running Stan has worked quite well so far. Stan cannot keep up this pace of running from one side to the other, even though his slide on clay is good. Nice down the line shot from Stan! Shorter point here again. 40-40. Learn from this. Deuce!!  Advantage Nadal now. This is where it all happens, at Deuce. Wide serve, Wawrinka hits the ball back to Nadal (try not to put the ball back on your opponent's racquet) and an even wider Nadal return swings Wawrinka to the opposite AD corner and Wawrinka hits long, having time stolen from him. This game is about stealing time and who can steal it first, 3-1, Nadal.

Wawrinka is serving now. He is down 1-3 games. Not too bad, he can catch up. Belief. Play the game. Fault.  Stan moves Nadal to opposite corners of the court and in two seconds wins the point. This is how Stan must play to beat an impossible baseline player like Nadal. Keep the points short. Not so easy to do. 15-0. Another 2 seconds, 'Stan goes big early and connects,' says Commentator Mary Carillo and wins the point. At 30-0 now. Tactic: Nadal stands so far back in the court from the baseline so that he can use his inside out forehand. Stan is so good he gets the inside out forehand shot, but not good enough. Nadal next comes to net for a winner, 30-15. Really review this strategy. Nadal set up the difficulty to his opponent with the inside out forehand, then as his opponent struggles to return this difficult shot, Nadal positions himself at net to put the ball away. 

Let's continue now. This will prove to be a crucial game. Stan is serving at 15-30. He is down 2 games, early in the 3rd set. Fault. In this next point Stan dominates at the net but Nadal passes him off the forehand wing!! 30-30. Ace! Just what Stan needs right now. 40-30. An advantage, a chance for Stan to close the game, a window of opportunity. In this next point Stan nets the ball off a slice backhand (this shot will prove his un-doing). 

Back to Deuce, the wild card here, anyone has an equal chance of winning the game. The long rally, Nadal dominates and corners Stan, but Stan gets lucky and Nadal nets the ball from the service area. 'Luck is part of the game,' as I say.  Advantage Stan Wawrinka. Now Nadal hits a winner down the line, he is fighting hard to get this game. Back to Deuce!  Stan comes up to net and takes a chance on a serve and volley at Deuce! It pays off to get the shot! AD Stan Wawrinka!  Fault.  Nerves, pressure, and even though we all know this human side of the game, it is there, it will never go away, for anyone!. Now Stan misses after another 4 ball rally (no more long points!). Deuce.  Fault.  Tactic: okay, this is fun~ Rafa coming up to net, Stan coming up at the same time, cat and mouse! Stan gets the better angle and wins the point! This strategy is what Stan needs to do more often. The crowd cheers! We all love Stan and understand how tough it is out there. And then we get the fun theatrics, smart crowd here at the French Open! Advantage goes to Stan! Pressure still. There is even pressure in winning a point, and managing the aftermath of a point won. Fault. On his second serve, Wawrinka has Nadal on the run but nets a tight overhead.This crucially missed shot will again be a negative in this game for Stan. Tennis is very hard, especially at these levels. You cannot afford mistakes. Your opponent will jump on that opportunity. Back to Deuce. Fault.  Another second serve and a 4 ball rally where Wawrinka hits long.  Advantage goes to Nadal.  On this next point, rather uneventful (be careful of the lull here, folks) Stan hits long, and this crucial game, which will prove that Rafa has indeed broken Stan in the gladiator ring here, goes to Rafa Nadal, 4-1.

Nadal is serving. He loves the game. The clay court. 15-0. Easy. Nadal has Stan on the run as Nadal runs to the net to put away a winner. Stolen time. This is how you play tennis, folks. 30-0. Now 40-0.  Quick points, this is how Nadal really likes it too. Nadal is moving Wawrinka around again as Nadal is a third time at net. Nadal gets the point, gets the game. No thinking about winning, this is thinking about playing good tennis.

Stan Wawrinka is serving at 1-5 games. Fault.  Nadal runs, runs, runs up to the net and puts away another winner. 0-15.  Nadal hops on his feet, split stepping. Fault. Next, a 4 ball rally and Stan hits long, 0-30.  This is a very tough spot to be in, and Stan Wawrinka decides to serve and volley. Stan gets to the net and now 15-30. Stan's risk taking has paid off for that point. Each point matters. Next, Nadal hits to the alley corner, very wide deep shot, and Stan misses. 15-40. Match point!  Fault. Nadal hits his return long! Even champions will feel the nerves. 30-40 now. Another long rally in this important point and Wawrinka uses his slice backhand for a drop shot and instead nets the ball (twice now in the match). Nadal wins!

In 2 hours and 10 minutes, Rafa Nadal wins his 10th French Open! CONGRATULATIONS RAFA NADAL! Welcome back, Champion! 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, straight sets!!!

So happy, and Rafa Nadal won by out -hitting and out-playing Stan Wawrinka, another great champion. After many accolades on the sportsmanship and talents of Rafa Nadal, Commentator Mary Carillo shares with us that Nadal wears his sneakers a half size smaller-so he can better 'feel the ball.' I understand that, no one needs big feet that get in the way so you cannot run!
Here is Rafa Nadal sitting on his BIG TEN win!


And here are the Champions, Stan and Rafa~

 You may also want to experience the play by play for the women's final, please see FRENCH OPEN 2017 WOMEN'S FINAL

Keep moving those feet!!