Well it was another interesting day in Miami with second seed Nadal getting upset 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 by Verdasco who he owned 13-1 in the head-to-head before the match. It was also Verdasco’s second consecutive victory over Nadal who he beat in Madrid in 2012 on blue clay. I thought Nadal would go deep in Miami given the slowness of the surface but it has to be remembered that this is one of the few Masters he has never won. And it looks very unlikely that he now ever will. I think this was another telling loss. After Nadal won Buenos Aires he got some confidence and played well in Indian Wells, only to lose to a very good Raonic. But this loss tells me that he is still badly struggling with confidence which is to be expected really.
He is now in a similar situation Roger was in in 2013 when Roger had a confidence crises. How things have changed since then! Nadal said after the match that he was feeling very anxious on the court and that he couldn’t control his nerves. That is exactly what a confidence crises entails. But again I think it would be a big mistake to write Nadal off. The clay season is next which will be the true test. If Nadal fails to win the French Open then he has a problem. He also said after the match that he is confident that he can turn things around again and that he is going to work hard at it. He has come back from adversity too many times in his career to write him off. Look how many people wrote Roger off in 2013 and how he proved them wrong.
If Roger can do it then surely Nadal can too. Take for instance 2011 where he lost in seven consecutive finals to Djokovic. You would have thought that would finally break his spirit. But he came back to win three slams after that, defeating Djokovic in three of them, and winning six of the next seven matches with Djokovic to turn the rivalry around again. He has also beaten Djokovic the last four times in slam meetings, although admittedly three of them were at the French Open. No Nadal, we are not overlooking the fact that you desperately need clay to rack up slams and dominate your rivalries. So once he takes the fall in Paris you just know it’s going to affect him big time. And hopefully Djokovic is the one who gets it done.
He is the one that deserves it, but I wouldn’t bet on him doing it. They have met a staggering six times at the French and Nadal triumphed each time, including in 2013 when Djokovic had him by the balls. And that can have a big psychological effect. Anyway my point is Nadal is dangerous to write off and I will only reassess the situation after the French Open. I have gone off the topic a bit. I was happy for Verdasco who got another win over Nadal after all the chokes. I will say again that Verdasco is one of the most talented players on tour and when his forehand is on it is better than both Roger’s and Nadal’s. It is simply a devastating shot but unfortunately he is mentally too unstable to have made better use of it, together with his other gifts.
Against Nadal he hit some forehand missiles and it was a beautiful sight. And even though Verdasco was playing well he still needed help from Nadal to get over the finish line. In the second set when Nadal tightened the screws Verdasco quickly imploded again mentally. But it was nice to see Nadal lose again. I don’t get the kick I used to out of his losses because it happens so often lately, but it is still fun. And if Verdasco was mentally stronger this would have been the outcome of most their meetings. Well onto someone else named Thiem who I am quite a fan of an who comfortably defeated Sock 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round. It was a high quality match and Thiem once again reminded us why he is a player for the future.
Yesterday I was also made aware of the fact that he was forced to do military service by his country Austria which caused him to miss six weeks of training in the off season. So it is no wonder he started the year slow but it looks like he is finally gaining momentum again. He has already had some good wins in Miami and has a great chance to make quarters because he now plays Mannarino who defeated Stan. That is another big disappointment for Stan because Mannarino is the type of player he should hit off the court. But I’m not complaining. I’d like Thiem to make quarters and take a shot at Murray, although Murray now plays Anderson who is capable of taking big scalps and have already schooled Murray once in Montreal.
Either way the bottom half is now quite open and should have been even more open, but Tomic choked big time against Berdych after serving for the match in the second set. Murray is probably still the favorite to make the final in the bottom half and that would give us another poor Djokoray match up in the final. But rather that than Birdshit in the final. That would be the worst possible. Today Djokovic is in action again against Darcis which should be an easy win for Djokovic. The only other match I have some interest in is Dimitrov vs Isner. Other than that today doesn’t look like a very interesting day and I will probably only make a post again in two days after Thiem and Murray has played. Until then!