What’s “Rain” in Italian? La Pioggia

2015 AO Doubles champs

Obviously the Nadal match today was the most interesting turn of events.

Remember what I said a couple of times in probably a couple of posts: Nadal, in my humble opinion, is not as dominant as he was last year, let alone five years ago. Yet this is what the TSQ will have you believe.

Today’s match came out of the clouds, literally as well as metaphorically. Yet Mcshow saw it coming. Look up.

Here’s what was so interesting (and so simple). The Italian, Simone Bolelli, played a winning style of tennis. Played fearless tennis. That’s it. He played aggressively, attacked Nadal and guess what happened? Nadal felt the pressure and found himself in a competitive match. Sure Nadal ended-up with an easy break in the first at 5-4, clinching that somewhat competitive frame, and then overcame a break in the second set to make even easier work there, 6-3, but as you know the Spaniard is still feeling some heat from this lucky loser looking at 0-3 in the third, down a break again.

But la pioggia has ruined again a dramatic Nadal tennis match. They resume tomorrow, and do not be shocked if Nadal wins six games in a row. Seriously.

That’s how this goes. We were here a week ago in a very similar situation. The rain in and of itself benefits Rafa as it, this side of cancelling a match, slows the ball, blunts the kind of weaponry players like Bolelli use. His FH and his one-hander are aggressively struck, angled, etc. He’s simply playing to win. Some players don’t have this kind of heat. The only way you compete with Nadal is A) you do not fear him and B) you have a fearless and intelligent aggression to the way you play your points.

Several of Bolelli’s FHs were clocked at over 90 mph (144 kph). He was ripping the ball. The one-hander hit aggressively made it look like this fella had been watching Federer’s recent approach to Nadal. Nadal was forced to cut his BH more than he wants, so the Italian was able to control several points, which kept the match at least fun to watch.

Elsewhere, Wawrinka took a dive (I’ve said more than half seriously that he’s pretty much on the skids at this point, twilight, starlight, star bright . . . The leg injury last year was apparently bad and his break from Norman is not a good sign either). I guess he’ll hang around and win a few matches here and there, but tough to see him just struggle like this.

Djokovic, though to some he looked disgruntled through out his match, advanced in straights and that’s all that matters at this point.

Good on Thiem, Schwartzman, Tsitsipas, Coric, et al. to keep their clay campaigns going, as well.

Zverev has the Serb Dusan Lajovic next, who advanced today easily. He, if you recall, beat Del Potro pretty convincingly in Madrid a few weeks ago. Zverev should be fine, but keep an eye on that match.

Party boy Gulbis is through to the next round and the latest crush on a 19 year-old continues to pulse as Casper Ruud survives his five-setter. Tomic lost to a kid from Barcelona who drove the 1000+ kilometers with his family + grandma to make that match and ruin that Aussie’s wet dream (referring to the rain, folks).

Looking at that bottom half, Novak does have a pretty good look at getting to that SF. Seeing him deep at a major, confident and striking fear again in his opponent could be quite the development. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a beer and listen to la pioggia sulla terra.

2 thoughts on “What’s “Rain” in Italian? La Pioggia

  1. RJ

    Indeed Matt, the rain to the rescue.
    Those Bolelli BH’s were very reminiscent of Federer’s 2017 AO final shots. Do players know the formula to take down El Toro but maintaining focus and confidence could be quite difficult? Side bar: there’s a lot of Italian tennis players at this FO tournament…
    Some of the “Lost Boys” Kei/Dimitrov saw 5 set action – will they progress in the tournament to tangle with “Captain Hook”?

    I always saw the potential in a player like Ernests Gulbis but unfortunately he (barring 2014 FO) did not transcend his game to a consistent level. Maybe his Riga riches contributes to his lack of motivation?


    1. Bolelli’s BH is mirror image of Fed’s, especially that 2017 version. Up in the court, back straight – meeting that higher bouncing BS – and the finish, the follow-through, massive carnage, angles, pace, unretrieveable even for the Houdini-like Rafa.\

      Dimitrov and Kei are solid talents but on the outside looking in which is tough for people to figure-out. So beatable, yet they can certainly play with anyone (kinda).

      Gulbis is a definite talent and a definite mess — I’ve heard he is from money, which probably dooms his overall commitment, like you say.

      Back to Nadal and what Bolelli did. Notice I put the picture of him and Fognini together at the top of that post. That has meaning, in my eyes. Fognini stands-up to Rafa. Bolelli, I am certain, feeds off that.

      Most players cower to Nadal. It’s pathetic. Pella is a perfect example. He’s that much worse than Bolelli? No.

      As I said, Bolelli had a certain approach to the match, which is really pretty simple: Try to win!

      Most players would rather do Rafa’s laundry.


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