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Poll: Who wins?
Nadal in 2
Nadal in 3
Berdych in 2
Berdych in 3
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Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
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tented Offline
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Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
Who wins?
17-May-2013 03:48 PM
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tented Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
I'm going with Rafa in 2.

Berdych has taken two sets off him, in 12 matches, since 2006. Enough said ...
17-May-2013 04:12 PM
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Moxie629 Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
(17-May-2013 04:12 PM)tented Wrote:  I'm going with Rafa in 2.

Berdych has taken two sets off him, in 12 matches, since 2006. Enough said ...

I went Rafa in two, also, and I like your stat, there. But Rafa is a little tentative this tourney, and Berdych must be feeling good about himself right now. Could be 3, but still...RAFA!
17-May-2013 05:16 PM
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Iona16 Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
Hoping it's Nadal in 2 but I think it might be 3.

Lest We Forget
17-May-2013 08:29 PM
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BalaryKar Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
If I need to bet on Berdych, I need a written assurance from Nadal that he is dropping a set here. It will be the "routine" way of Nadal play, especially clay, that will frustrate and kill Berdych's momentum. Nothing more to the match than this.

Just like to congratulate Berdy for taking out Nole though Smile
17-May-2013 08:38 PM
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fashionista Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
Hoping Rafa can win in straight setsSmile
I will say 3 sets.....just in caseSmile
18-May-2013 01:25 AM
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Broken_Shoelace Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
(18-May-2013 01:48 AM)nehmeth Wrote:  In Kieran's terms, I think Rafa is looking a bit "knackered".

Berdych was being easily handled in his match with Djokovic, until something clicked "on" in him. He was on fire and pulled out the win.

If Rafa plays as he did against Gulbis and Ferrer, this semifinal may be a three setter - and possibly an upset.

I agree, though I won't go as far as predicting an upset as Berdych just doesn't like Nadal's game (I remember him saying at IW that he prefers playing Fed, Murray and Novak over Nadal). I do think with the way Rafa is playing, Berdych will get his chances to dictate and if he's as on fire as he was against Novak, then the match will REALLY get interesting.

But, I think Rafa has an easier time than any of the top 4 to move Berdych around. I think Nadal's spin and most importantly, angles trouble Berdych. Often, Nadal doesn't especially have to hit his forehand deep, but rather, take Berdych slightly out of position. Tomas is at his best when he can dictate from the middle of the court or run around his backhand. He doesn't enjoy hitting from slightly out of position. I feel Berdych is also often guilty of not stepping in and taking Nadal's ball on the rise (something Gulbis did with ease). The other thing that Gulbis was doing that Tomas might struggle with is keeping points short. As big as Berdych hits, he really likes to get in rallies and set up the point, which isn't a flaw in general, by any means (though points will be shorter on his own serve, since he can set up a lot of 1-2 punches). Against Nadal, this leaves him prone to being moved around. Whereas against Novak, Berdych wasn't necessarily bothered by Novak's flatter shots and had an easier time redirecting the ball.

Speaking of which, that's essentially what the rallies will hinge on in many ways. Berdych's main weapon against Novak was his ability to change directions with his forehand with ridiculous ease. I feel this will be slightly more difficult against Nadal since he doesn't enjoy Rafa's spin (provided Nadal isn't dropping the ball short and giving him sitters, which I'll touch on in a moment). But it is paramount that Tomas sticks to that pattern of play. While the general consensus is to pin Nadal behind his backhand, Berdych's cross court forehand isn't always the best. When Tomas has success against Nadal, it's when he goes after his forehand with hard cross court backhands, DTL forehands and especially, inside out forehands.

I feel this is the way to go against Rafa in this match, as I feel he's being a bit slow (by his standards) to move to that side, and both Ferrer and Gulbis drew short replies from him by stretching him to his FH. Whereas if you're going to attack Nadal's backhand side, you should do it with heavy spinny balls (something Novak does really well), as if you're simply trying to hit aggressively to Nadal's backhand, he's actually got more options (he's terrific at using his right hand to get enough power on his double hander to muster up a deep defensive reply, or take a hand off and hit a defensive slice).

In both Madrid and Rome, Ferrer used his rally DTL backhand to great effects, which is a play I've seen very few use against Nadal (Novak uses his DTL backhand to end points, as opposed to during rallies). I don't know just how much consistency Tomas has with that shot, so he's better off just hitting his CC backhand hard and deep.

With all that said, Nadal isn't playing especially well, so some of the match-up problems Tomas suffers from against him might be reduced. For starters, if Berdych serves as well as he did against Novak, he will put immense pressure on Nadal, who is really struggling to hold serve in this tournament, and is generally just not serving good enough. Secondly, Rafa is being guilty of some inconsistent play. He's either making more errors than usual (Ferrer), or dropping the ball too short (Gulbis). The latter in particular will get him in a lot of trouble, as Tomas will be firing forehand winners all day in that case.

Conversely, in both those matches, Nadal made good adjustments by going after his DTL forehand, a shot that for some reason, normally clicks for him when playing against Berdych. I feel it's because Rafa finds it easy to take Berdych out of position with his CC forehand, so it opens up the court nicely.

I think it will be a competitive match, but I don't know if Berdych has another top notch performance in him (we've seen it often when players have a let down after such a great performance). If Nadal's level is on par with what we've seen on him this clay season, and Berdych plays well, it will go to 3. But I feel even then, Rafa will probably be the one to make adjustments, play more aggressively when it matters, and win the match. If he's playing well however, I think he wins this in 2 tight sets.
(This post was last modified: 18-May-2013 06:23 AM by Broken_Shoelace.)
18-May-2013 06:20 AM
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tented Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
That forehand winner by Rafa on break point at 1-3 was insane!
18-May-2013 10:07 AM
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tented Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
His ROS at 1-5, 30-0 was incredible.
18-May-2013 10:12 AM
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tented Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
Nehmeth, my friend, it looks like it's just the two of us watching this. Confused
(This post was last modified: 18-May-2013 10:19 AM by tented.)
18-May-2013 10:15 AM
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Moxie629 Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
That was a good write-up, Broken. Fortunately, though, Rafa has sharpened things up considerably today, wouldn't you say? That was a great opening set!
18-May-2013 10:18 AM
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Broken_Shoelace Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
Nadal's best set of tennis since returning. It highlights perfectly why Berdych hates playing against him. He makes it look so simple against Tomas: take him off the court with CC forehands, hit FH winner down the line. Rise, rinse, repeat.
18-May-2013 10:19 AM
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tented Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
We should start a drinking game: Every time Berdych is standing still on the baseline watching the ball go by, you have to take a drink.
18-May-2013 10:19 AM
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DarthFed Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
Berd has maybe played one competitive match with Rafa in 6-7 years and it was one year at Miami that it went 3. Credit to Rafa as Berd is a favorite vs. Fed on all surfaces, gives Murray a lot of trouble and can even cause Nole a little trouble apparently.
18-May-2013 10:20 AM
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Postpre Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
I'm watching. Nadal can't be beat when he's moving the ball around on a clay court like this.
18-May-2013 10:21 AM
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Broken_Shoelace Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
Berdych's serve clicking better. He has to keep it up if this match is to be competitive.

(18-May-2013 10:20 AM)DarthFed Wrote:  Berd has maybe played one competitive match with Rafa in 6-7 years and it was one year at Miami that it went 3. Credit to Rafa as Berd is a favorite vs. Fed on all surfaces, gives Murray a lot of trouble and can even cause Nole a little trouble apparently.

You're forgetting their AO match last year (Berd was competitive for 2 sets), but yeah, point taken.
(This post was last modified: 18-May-2013 10:33 AM by Broken_Shoelace.)
18-May-2013 10:32 AM
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
(18-May-2013 10:21 AM)Postpre Wrote:  I'm watching. Nadal can't be beat when he's moving the ball around on a clay court like this.

With this type of game on clay, i really can't see anyone keeping up with the changing of direction and breaking the rhythm except Nole. This is just... the perfect clay play
18-May-2013 10:33 AM
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tented Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
(18-May-2013 10:19 AM)Broken_Shoelace Wrote:  Nadal's best set of tennis since returning.

Or, as some would say, it was on Berdych's racquet the whole time.
18-May-2013 10:37 AM
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DarthFed Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
(18-May-2013 10:32 AM)Broken_Shoelace Wrote:  Berdych's serve clicking better. He has to keep it up if this match is to be competitive.

(18-May-2013 10:20 AM)DarthFed Wrote:  Berd has maybe played one competitive match with Rafa in 6-7 years and it was one year at Miami that it went 3. Credit to Rafa as Berd is a favorite vs. Fed on all surfaces, gives Murray a lot of trouble and can even cause Nole a little trouble apparently.

You're forgetting their AO match last year (Berd was competitive for 2 sets), but yeah, point taken.

I wasn't forgetting that. 2 competitive sets in a 3-1 match is not competitive by my definition. I know I might be "different" in that philosophy Big Smile
18-May-2013 10:37 AM
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tented Offline
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RE: Rome 2013 SF: Nadal v. Berdych
Berdych is looking a bit winded. That was a really long, physical match against Novak.
18-May-2013 10:38 AM
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