Rafa’s Early 2015 Results

I grabbed Rafael Nadal’s 2015 results from Yahoo Sports and pasted them below (for some reason Yahoo lists Rio twice). World #3 Nadal does have one title in 2015. Winning Buenos Aires after reaching the semifinal round at Rio gives Nadal a 7-1 record on clay.  Rafa certainly will welcome a return to his favored surface after some curious hard court results to start the year.  I think any deep analysis or Rafa’s form and mentality needs to wait until Roland Garros 2015 is in the books.  We all know clay can cure many ills for Nadal.  I want to look briefly at his hard court results.

The Relatively Good

Rafa’s loss to Milos Raonic at Indian Wells does not strike me as a bad loss because Milos is a young player who is pushing toward the top 5 of the ATP rankings.  Rafa also reached the quarterfinal round at the Australian Open despite coming into 2015 not having been truly tested since Wimbledon 2014.  Rafa posted straight set wins over Kevin Anderson in Melbourne and Gilles Simon at Indian Wells. The only odd things about these results are Rafa failing to convert match points versus Raonic and losing to Berdych after winning 17 consecutive matches vs. the Big Czech.  Rafa and every other established star on tour will likely eventually lose to up and coming players such as Raonic.  It was apparent for the first two sets versus Berdych that Rafa was woefully short on match play over the previous 6 months.  These two losses don’t amount to any eye brow raising on my part.

The Bad

Michael Berrer is a nice player, but Rafa has minimized upset losses on hard courts since at least 2008.

The Ugly

I say ugly because Rafa has generally dominated fellow Spaniards and players who have slighted him.  Fernando Verdasco beating Rafa in Miami is surprising.  I looked at Rafa beating Hot Sauce as being a given.  If I throw in Fabio Fognini coming from a set down to beat Rafa on clay, Rafa has recent losses to two guys I suspect are not well liked in the locker room.  I am not sure if Rafa is still ticked at Berdych for quieting the crowd in Madrid almost a decade ago, but this too could have been an annoying loss for the Mallorcan.

The Wait and See

As I said earlier, Rafa may find his form and confidence return once he gets another 10 clay court matches under his belt.  I don’t think this is an apocalyptic situation for Rafa, but these results have been curious.

 2015 Tournament Results – Singles
 Tournament (Seed) Surface Round Opponent W/L Score
 Qatar ExxonMobil Open (2)
Jan 5-Jan 11
Hard First Round Michael Berrer L 6-1, 3-6, 4-6
 Australian Open (3)
Jan 18-Feb 1
Hard First Round Mikhail Youzhny W 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Second Round Tim Smyczek W 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 7-5
Third Round Dudi Sela W 6-1, 6-0, 7-5
Fourth Round Kevin Anderson (14) W 7-5, 6-1, 6-4
Quarterfinals Tomas Berdych (7) L 2-6, 0-6, 6-7 (5-7)
 Rio Open presented by Claro HDTV (1)
Feb 16-Feb 22
Clay First Round Thomaz Bellucci W 6-4, 6-1
Second Round Pablo Carreno-Busta W 7-5, 6-3
Quarterfinals Pablo Cuevas (6) W 4-6, 7-5, 6-0
Semifinals Fabio Fognini (4) L 6-1, 2-6, 5-7
 Rio Open (1)
Feb 16-Feb 22
Clay First Round Thomaz Bellucci W 6-4, 6-1
Second Round Pablo Carreno-Busta W 7-5, 6-3
Quarterfinals Pablo Cuevas (6) W 4-6, 7-5, 6-0
Semifinals Fabio Fognini (4) L 6-1, 2-6, 5-7
 Argentina Open presented by Buenos Aires Ciudad (1)
Feb 23-Mar 1
Clay Second Round Facundo Arguello W 6-4, 6-0
Quarterfinals Federico Del Bonis W 6-1, 6-1
Semifinals Carlos Berlocq W 7-6 (9-7), 6-2
Final Juan Monaco W 6-4, 6-1
 BNP Paribas Open (3)
Mar 11-Mar 22
Hard Second Round Igor Sijsling W 6-4, 6-2
Third Round Donald Young W 6-4, 6-2
Fourth Round Gilles Simon (13) W 6-2, 6-4
Quarterfinals Milos Raonic (6) L 6-4, 6-7 (10-12), 5-7
 Miami Open presented by Itau (2)
Mar 24-Apr 5
Hard Second Round Nicolas Almagro W 6-4, 6-2
Third Round Fernando Verdasco(29) L 4-6, 6-2, 3-6
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