Wednesday, August 31, 2011
US Open Day Two: Rafael Nadal Fights a Feisty Golubev
After Roger Federer took us to a bit of a nailbiter match in round one of the US Open, we fans were hoping to see some stellar Rafael Nadal play to soothe our souls. While Rafa played a pretty clean and solid game, it was also fairly tame, and he ended up playing constant catch-up with a wildly aggressive and determined Andrey Golubev.
It's sometimes astounding to see how little difference there is between a number 2 player in the world, and a guy hovering between 50 and 100. These guys all know how to play serious tennis, and Golubev made some beautiful shots on Rafa tonight. So many shots, in fact, that the Spaniard was left shaking his head after many a point.
Rafael is where he is, however, because he never freakin' gives up on a game. He doesn't care if the match goes into back-and-forth deuce points for an hour, he'll still keep rallying. If he's down, he'll get back up. While the other guy tires, he keeps right on going. He sweated through two shirt changes, but he didn't slow down.
Fans went crazy as Rafael lobbed balls into the audience, and the Spanish hero looked relieved and happy to have climbed over his first hurdle at the US Open. If you want to know how he managed it, you can check out the full analysis:
US Open Day 2: Rafael Nadal Squeaks Out 3-Set Victory Over Andrey Golubuv.
Rafael's expressive face says it all in the post-match press conference, where he gives plenty of credit to his vigorous opponent: "He didn't help [my nerves] because he played fast all of the time." Now with a win under his belt and not too many mistakes to lament, Rafael can hopefully settle his nerves and play a more finely-tuned second round match.
PHOTOS: US Open Day 2, Round One, Rafael Nadal vs. Andrey Golubev screencaps c2011 USOpen.org.