Rafael Nadal wins 0-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Lose the 1st Set. Win the match. No problem.
Rafael Nadal had a career 13-1 record against Phillip Kohlschreiber coming into their Miami Round of 32 match on the weekend. He had only lost one set in their past six matches.
Nadal had a solid warm-up for the match. And then lost the opening set 6-0…
Kohlscreiber came out hot. White hot. Here’s some pretty remarkable stats from the opening set.
- Kohlschreiber 8
- Nadal 3
Points Won On Serve
- Kohlschreiber 13/19
- Nadal 7/20
Average Groundstroke Speed
- Kohlschreiber 78mph
- Nadal 69mph
Rally Length – 0-4 Shots
- Kohlschreiber 18
- Nadal 8
- Kohlschreiber 410m
- Nadal 376m
Total Points Won
- Kohlschreiber 26
- Nadal 13
Nadal didn’t know what hit him. Kohlschreiber was pounding everything, and everything was finding the court.
But Kohlscreiber ultimately didn’t win. Nadal did. The Spaniard gave a wonderful insight into his mind in his post-match interview, discussing the adjustments he made to get back into the match.
In the 25 Golden Rules of Singles Strategy, I talk about the EIGHT ways to force an error. Here’s the list:
- Court Position
NOW.. read Nadal’s words and figure out which ones he doubled down on to win the second and third sets.
I wanted to ask you, after the first set finishes, what goes through your mind? Do you change your strategy? What exactly is going on in your head at that time?
Nadal was being hurt by POWER. Here’s how he handled it.
Nadal went to:
- Court Position
Smart play. Very smart play!
Great insights from a great player. Great insights from a great fighter – a player that can think his way out of a jam. Nadal first neutralized with the four elements above, and then the FOREHAND and the SERVE took over.
Nadal hit just two forehand winners in the opening set, but hit 11 in the next two sets. Nadal finished the match winning 73 points on serve to Kohlschreiber’s 59.
This is how you recover from getting pumped in the first set, and still walk off the court with a W. You cycle through the list and find counter moves. You don’t give up. You adjust. You probe. You give different looks. You manipulate time and space.
A great lesson for players at all levels of the game.
All the best from Miami.