Round two in Basel and it was a black and blue battle between Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov. Here’s a match chat recap of what happened.
Before the pre-match warm up, Grigor lines his bottles in a precise manner. At the net, Grigor and Rafa jump from foot to foot, mirroring each other’s movements. Coin toss, Nadal to serve, tap of the racket and a print to the baseline.
Did you notice that Grigor was copying Rafa’s rituals? hahaha
And they’re off.
1-0 Dimi. Dimitrov breaks in the first game as Nadal hits long and nets the ball.
Dimi 2-0. The Bulgarian, calm and confident. Nadal returns at 15-0, the ball bouncing high off the bottom of the net. “This is not the start I wanted,” says the expression on his face.
2-1 Dimi. Huge cross-court forehand from Dimitrov gives him a 30-0 lead but these are followed by a few netted shots. Rafa secures his first game with an ace.
3-1. Ohh Dimi is painting lines… pfffwwhhaarr incredible backwards BH lob, phenomenal by Dimi.
Rafa holds. 3-2.
4-2 Dimi. KAPOW! Overhead smash takes Dimitrov to 40-0. Nadal hits wide and it’s a love game.
4-3. Another (confident) love service game.
4-4. Ohh Rafa yelling at himself. #Nothappy … love it when he gets fired up but at the same time keeping calm is important… #fistpump
6-4. Dimitrov produces faulty (long) serve at 30-0, Nadal returns it, Dimitrov kicks it back, crowd ‘ooooo’, Nadal stops it with his foot, crowd cheer. Tennis football is fun.
Some nice FEARHANDS by Rafa, deuce… 1st set Rafa after a ufe from Dimi
1-0 Dimi… Dimi up an early break in the second. Such a tight, competitive match.
2-0 Dimi. Starting in similar fashion to first, Dimitrov leads by a break and service game.
3-0. Oh Dimi got tangled in the net. Trying to save three break points, Nadal ends a baseline rally with sneaky just-over-the-net shot. Dimitrov sprints, makes it and clumsily steps over the net en route to the seat.
4-0 Dimi. Ugh Rafa, slow starts in each set… Dimi is playing amazingly well though.
4-1 Dimi. Nadal rallies his way onto the scoreboard.
4-2 Dimi. Rafa’s getting pumped now
4-3 Dimitrov. Intelligently Nadal takes 40-0 lead. Serve is too aggressive for Dimitrov and he fires ball into net
5-3 Dimi. Nadal talks to himself after he nets a backhand. His eyebrows are raised; he’s not satisfied. Almighty ace down the line from Dimitrov and he’s a game away from equalizing the match.
5-4. Nadal stretches at the net to tactfully win a volley. He then aces, shoots a cross court forehand and Dimitrov nets.
6-4 Dimitrov. Third set here we gooooo
1-0. Rafa double faults and Dimi has another early break.
2-0 Dimitrov. His serve is improving by each set.
2-1. Effortless ace from Nadal to take love service game.
2-2. Long rally at 30-30 which Dimitrov ends with a backhand into net.
Ball bounces slowly and Dimitrov goes for overhead smash but it lands sorrowfully in net.
Break back Rafa… Gah this match!
3-2. Nadal makes sure not to allow Dimitrov a point. The Bulgarian, facing the force from behind the baseline, nets a backhand.
3-3 The suspense is killing
4-3 #Beastmode Dimitrov loses game with an apathetic return into bottom of net. He sinks down into a squat. Oh the disappointment.
5-3 Rafa. At 15-30 Dimitrov returns while slipping onto his bum. He bounces back up but not quick enough to attempt Nadal’s zooming down the line forehand.
Game set and match Nadal. There was a deuce, Dimitrov not giving in easily. There was an advantage Dimitrov, a satisfied clench of the fist. There was another deuce and an advantage Nadal. Then there was a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 scoreline. Always a tight match between these two.
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