Berrer def. Nadal 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
One game changed everything.
Did you see the stunning victory by Michael Berrer over Rafael Nadal this week in Doha? Wow! It was Rafa’s first match back, and the nerves really kicked in. He cruised through the first set and then lost serve in the middle of the second set, and then everything came unglued.
It’s another important reminder for all of us that no matter the odds, no matter the opponent, no matter the scoreboard, one point can turn a losing proposition into a winning one in a hurry. One point is all we are looking for when behind. Here’s some great quotes from Nadal post-match.
“I had a bad game in the third one, fourth one of the second set. He break me. After that everything changed. He played well. I was playing with more nerves than usual after‑‑ as I said before, after long time I wanted to win. I know that winning couple of matches here will help me. So that makes me play a little bit more under more tension.” – Nadal
Berrer, on the other hand was as loose as a goose. Here is what he said.
“I have made an agreement with my wife that I am allowed to play one more year, so I am really enjoying every single day on the tour. There was not a lot of pressure today, so closing it out was not the most difficult thing,”
The last time they played was in the Rd16 at Monte Carlo in 2010 where Nadal won 6-0, 6-1. It was a match that I analyzed in detail (every single shot), that produced some amazing stats. Here’s a picture of the winners and errors from that match.
It was a big tournament for Berrer until he met the Nadal freight train. By qualifying and making the Rd16, Berrer moved into the Top 50 for the first time in his career. His career high of 42 was right at that time. I noted in my report how incredibly good his body language was, despite being down 6-0, 5-0 in the match. He kept fighting. HE NEVER GAVE UP. That spirit still lives on for Berrer – what a sweet victory that must have been in Doha, especially after losing the first set 6-1!!!
This was a match that really shaped my understanding of just how good Nadal was, and how important the forehand is – in particular the run-around forehand.
21 FOREHAND WINNERS – This was a very, very quick match, but Nadal was able to scorch 21 forehand winners. That’s super impressive! Notice in the picture below that Nadal hit 75% of his groundstrokes as a forehand for the entire match – most of them (58 to 40) as a run-around in the deuce court.
Below are the totals from that match, which are simply mind blowing. Berrer hit almost double the amount of backhands (61 to 32), and was eclipsed with run-around forehands (58 to 13). He really didn’t have a prayer with those numbers.
I just wanted to share that with you, and also give a big shout out to Michael Berrer for his amazing victory. He has spent 17 years on tour and has announced he is retiring this year. What an amazing victory on his final lap.
I love information like this that tells a story, but also provides education for players and coaches all around the world. There is so much to learn, so much to enjoy in this wonderful sport of ours.
Cheers from the Gold Coast, Australia.