Rafael Nadal – Horacio Zeballos
7-6 6-7 4-6 MATCH ZEBALLOS!!! Zeballos wrong foots Nadal to take the first point. Crucial moments for Rafa now…A superb drop shot from the Argentine after probably the longest rally of the match make it 30-0 for him. A forehand winner out of this world for Zeballos, he is playing the tennis of his life!! Three match points…Takes the very first one..Superb victory for the Argentine
7-6 6-7 4-5 The Argentine gets a bit lucky this time as he mishits a backhand but it still finds the sideline. One forehand unforced error from Rafa and an ace make it 40-0. Holds to love with yet another ace.
7-6 6-7 4-4 Zeballos produces a dream forehand cross court winner at the start of the 8th game. Subsequently misses a second serve return just by an inch, very unlucky for the Argentine. After Nadal commits a forehand error, he erases it right away with a winner to set the score at 30-30. But as the Spaniard drops his backhand a bit short, Zeballos takes advantage of it, striking a very delicate drop shot to get to a BP. Nadal saves it after probably one of the best points of the match, the crowd is loving it! Rafa eventually holds nerve and levels the score at 4-4.
7-6 6-7 3-4 Rafa takes a 15-0 lead on Zeballos’s serve and set up the next point nicely for himself just to miss an easy forehand. A couple of points later, the score is set at 30-30. The Argentine finds the line with his second serve, with Nadal unable to cope with the bounce. Wraps up the game after punishing Rafa’s short return of serve.
7-6 6-7 3-3 Nadal moves his opponent left -right, eventually forcing Zeballos to come up with an error. A well needed first serve winner for the Spaniard comes next, followed by an ace. Rafa holds to love with yet another ace.
7-6 6-7 2-3 A net approach from Zeballos ends up with a smash winner from him. Rafa tries to copy his opponent in the next point, but gets passed. An ace follows and the Argentine earns himself three game points at 40-0. Holds to love. Superb tennis from Zeballos…
7-6 6-7 2-2 Two quick points for the Spaniard, both end with a return error from Zeballos. After the Argentine’s BH slice finds the net, the score is set at 40-0. Despite Zeballos averting two game points, Rafa bags the third one as the Argentine misses a forehand approach sitter.
7-6 6-7 1-2 Two unforced errors from the Spaniard hand Zeballos a 30-0 lead in this third game of the decider. A superb second serve winner grants the Argentine three game points and he converts the very first one with a lucky forehand mishit that just catches the line.
7-6 6-7 1-1 BREAK! Zeballos shows he can hit a forehand too, fires one down the line, with Rafa just looking on. Despite the Argentine misses an easy looking return, he gets to a 30-15 lead with a bullet backhand winner. Catches Rafa by surprise in the next point as his forehand finds the baseline. Nadal mishits his BH to hand Zeballos two break back points. First one averted with a forehand winner, the second one saved with a well placed first serve. But as the Argentine gets to his third BP of the game, Nadal misses a volley sitter, a terrible mistake really. Set back on serve…
7-6 6-7 1-0 BREAK! Rafa takes the first point after an excellent backhand down the line. He then follows it up with a forehand cross court winner to take a 30-0 lead. Now the Spaniard is pumped up like never before, earns himself three break points with another FH winner. Takes the very first one as Zeballos’ forehand finds the net. First break of the match is here!
No breaks of serve yet in today’s final match, unbelievable…
7-6 6-7 SET ZEBALLOS!
6-8 SET Zeballos!
6-7 Another set point for Zeballos, hits a BH return winner. Will serve now
6-6 Zeballos pulls a BH wide, change of ends
5-6 A superb drop shot from Rafa, he will have two serves now
4-6 Two set points for Zeballos!
4-5 FH winner from the Spaniard, two serves for the Argentine will follow
3-5 Nadal misses a backhand down the line, first mini break of the tiebreak goes to Zeballos
3-4 Agressive tennis from the Argentine, attacks the net and forces an error from Rafa
3-3 An ace down the T from Zeballos
3-2 Serve winner, two serves for the Argentine
2-2 Superb reaction from Rafa at the net
1-2 Rafa to serve twice now
1-1 Outstanding point from the Argentine, moves Rafa left right, forcing an error from him
1-0 Zeballos pulls his BH just wide, has got two serves now
7-6 6-6 Rafa gets a bit unlucky as he misses a forehand passing shot just by an inch. A superb length in Zeballos’ ground strokes makes Nadal to miss a forehand just wide. The Argentine subsequently fires a forehand winner to go 40-0 up. Another FH winner means that we will be witness to the second tiebreak of today.
7-6 6-5 Zeballos takes a 30-15 lead after producing one backhand and one forehand winner, just before Rafa comes back with a forehand winner of his own. Two well placed first serves help the Spaniard to close out the game and the Argentine will be serving for the second time to stay in the match.
7-5 5-5 Nadal is in charge of the first rally, attacks the net just before Zeballos coming up with a spectacular backhand slice pass. But Rafa repays the favour in the very next point, hitting a forehand winner on the run. As he bags the next point, he is only two points away from becoming a 2013 Vina del Mar champion. But a netted forehand return and an ace from Zeballos hand the Argentine a game point, which he takes with wide arms open.
7-5 5-4 Rafa hits an unbelievable backhand winner down the line just before Zeballos overhitting a return (30-0). Despite the Argentine producing an outstanding backhand slice winner, Nadal remains on top – a forehand and a volley winners grant him a 5-4 lead. Zeballos will be serving to stay in the match.
7-6 4-4 This time Nadal reads Zeballos’ drop shot really well, coming up with a backhand put away. The Argentine commits an unforced error to give Rafa a 30-0 lead. Zeballos get a bit lucky as the net cord helps in in the next point (15-30). This seems to give wings to the Argentine, plays superb three points in a row (including two backhand winners) to level the score at 4-4.
7-6 4-3 Both players are going for the big shots out there, with forehands dominating most of the rallies. But it is Nadal who takes advantage of his service game, earning himself two break points at 40-15. Wraps up the game with an overhead.
7-6 3-3 A drop shot – lob combination from Zeballos catches Rafa by surprise (15-0). These left handed serves from the Argentine are really hard to read, no wonder he hasn’t dropped his serve yet in today’s encounter. Holds to love with two superb first serves and a drop shot winner to level the score at 3-3.
7-6 3-2 Zeballos a second serve backhand return to hand Rafa the lead in this game. Some more errors seem to be slipping into the Argentine’s game, giving Nadal a 40-15 advantage. The Spaniard attacks and closes out the game with a BH drop shot volley.
7-6 2-2 A superb forehand winner from the Argentine marks the start of the fourth game. However, Rafa steps up a level and dominates the next two points to take a 30-15 lead. As Zeballos pulls a FH drop shot wide, we get to the first two BPs of the match for Nadal. The Argentine manages to avert both of them and with some big serving, eventually wraps up the game
7-6 2-1 A hold to love for Rafa gives him a 2-1 lead. We are yet to witness a break in this match..
7-6 1-1 Both players hold their opening service games in this second set
7-6 SET NADAL!
7-2 A superb backhand return winner, set Nadal!
6-2 Nadal gets to four set points!
5-2 First mini break for Zeballos, will serve twice now
5-1 Forehand winner from Nadal, one more serve for him
4-1 Another mini break for Rafa after Zeballos misses an easy looking forehand
3-1 A superb serve – forehand combination from the Argentine, one more serve for him
3-0 Zeballos overhits a BH return long
2-0 A mini break for Rafa, has got one more serve
6-6 Rafa moves Zeballos around and makes him to miss a forehand on the run. The Argentine subsequently misses and easy forehand sitter, unable to pass Rafa stadning at the net (30-0). A superb forehand winner hands the Spaniard three game points. Another FH winner and a tiebreak will have to decide the outcome of the first set.
5-6 Zeballos can always rely on his forehand when he needs to. A huge forehand bullet and an excellently placed two first serve hand the Argentine a 40-0 lead. Converts his second game point and Nadal will be serving for the second time in a row to stay in the set.
5-5 Rafa takes control of this 10th game from the very beginning, some great serves set up two FH winners for the Spaniard and the score is set at 30-0. A couple more points later, it’s all square at 5-5. A really exciting match…
4-5 The outstanding serving from Zeballos continues, Nadal is not able to do much when the Argentine’s serve finds it’s mark. Plus this time, Zeballos strikes a backhand down the line bullet winner and wraps up the game to love after Nadal commits and unforced error. Rafa will be serving to stay in the set.
4-4 Nadal starts off the game with an ace and after a FH error slips into Zeballos’ game, it’s 30-0 for the Spaniard. Rafa dictates the very next point, forcing a further error from the Argentine. Closes out the game with an ace.
3-4 Rafa is unable to handle the bullet first serves from the Argentine, who takes a 30-0 lead just before missing an easy looking forehand wide. An outstanding rally follows, with Nadal having a couple of chances to win the point, but not able to take them – two game points for Zeballos. Takes the very first one and is one game ahead in this first set.
3-3 The Chilean crowd is witness to some high quality clay court tennis with minimum unforced errors and solid strokes from both players. Rafa takes a quick 30-0 lead on his serve just before missing a FH long (although Zeballos played an excellent return there). The Argentine subsequently pushes Nadal right out of the court, forcing him to overhit a forehand. With a bit of luck (after Zeballos’ return almost trickles over to Rafa’s side) it’s game point for the 7 time Roland Garros champion. However, Zeballos has got different plans, comes up with yet another excellent rally to take the game to deuce. But Nadal keeps his cool and eventually closes out the game to level the score at 3-3.
2-3 Well constructed rally from the Argentine, moves Rafa around just before coming up with a superb drop shot. Fires yet another ace, his serve is really working well today. So is his forehand, hits an unbelievable inside out winner to get to a 40-0 lead. And it’s no surprise, that a couple of points later, he finishes off the game with an ace.
2-2 Zeballos is trying to be agressive on his forehand side, but misses his FH cross just wide. This time Nadal steps up a noth, nailing a backhand down the line to take a 30-0 lead. A serve winner follows and the Spaniard closes out the game with a forehand put away.
1-2 Spectacular first point won by Zeballos, lures Nadal into the net with a drop shot just before passing him with a delicate FH cross. Two aces follow and the Argentine has got three game points. Wraps up the game with another ace.
1-1 Rafa starts his first service game with a double fault, but after Zeballos pulls a forehand down the line just wide, the scoreboard shows 15-15. The longest rally of the match follows, with Nadal coming up with a backhand unforced error at the end of it (15-30). Zeballos seems to be striking the ball nice and clean, causing Rafa some troubles. A netted FH from the Spaniard gives the Argentine the first two BPs of the match. Rafa averts both of them and eventually manages to hold to level the score at 1-1.
0-1 Superb first serve from the Argentine, finishes off the first point with a forehand winner just before netting a forehand and the score is set at 15-15. Another fantastic first serve with a drop shot winner finish this time for Zeballos. One more big serve grants him two game points and he takes the very first one with yet another FH winner.
Zeballos to serve.. It’s a nice and sunny day in Chile, perfect conditions for the players.
Players are just about to warm up in Vina del Mar (Chile). This is Nadal’s first tournament in seven months as he has been struggling with a knee injury.
Rafa has been playing some solid tennis througout the week, beating Delbonis, Gimeno-Traver and Chardy to reach today’s final.