Paris R3 preview and pick: Nadal vs. Janowicz

Rafael Nadal will be back in action against Jerzy Janowicz on Thursday in Paris. Janowicz, who tested Nadal this summer in Montreal, reached the final of this event last year.

Rafael Nadal and Jerzy Janowicz will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they collide in the third round of BNP Paribas Masters on Thursday. Their only previous meeting came this summer on the outdoor hard courts of Montreal, where Nadal prevailed 7-6(6), 6-4.

As that competitive affair indicates, Janowicz is always a dangerous opponent–especially on a fast surface. In fact, the 6’8” Pole went all the way to the Paris title match last fall, upsetting Andy Murray in the process before finally losing to David Ferrer. Janowicz has been up and down in 2013, but a 27-19 record has him at No. 14 in the world and will keep him either in or near the top 20 even if he loses to Nadal. He opened on Tuesday with a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over Santiago Giraldo.

Nadal kicked off his week on Wednesday evening by getting the best of fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers 7-5, 7-5. This is the world No. 1’s fourth appearance at the tournament and first since 2009. Almost unarguably this is Nadal’s best chance for a Paris Masters title, and not only because he is at last armed with a clean bill of health at the tail end of a season. The top seed is an awesome 69-5 and he already owns four hard-court winner’s trophies (10 total) in 2013.

After being solid but unspectacular against Granollers, Nadal will have to pick up the pace against an opponent who has far more firepower from everywhere on the court–especially on serve.

“I have to improve a lot for tomorrow,” Nadal assured. “I hope to be ready to do it. Tomorrow will be a tough match. I had a very tough one against him in Montreal this year. I’m going to try to play aggressively; play with more intensity than what I did today.”

Nadal had trouble doing that against Janowicz in Montreal, dropping serve twice while often finding himself on his heels at the back of the court. Janowicz made that one close despite serving at a horrendous 48 percent and tossing in nine double-faults. Improvement in those areas will almost certainly make for another tense encounter even though Nadal’s hard-court confidence should be even greater now than it was back at the very start of his summer hot streak.

Pick: Nadal in 2 with at least one tiebreaker

34 Comments on Paris R3 preview and pick: Nadal vs. Janowicz

  1. Knock, knock…… everybody alright in here? Can someone explain to me what the hell was going on in the 2nd set? Was Rafa losing his mind or was JJ that good?

    • ritb,

      Rafa had some ragged services games in the second set. He let JJ back in after breaking him in his first service game with a few errors. Then he got the break back and held until his last service game at 5-4. That was a nightmare. Rafa double faulted twice in that game!

      JJ had a few break points, but somehow Rafa held serve to finally get the win. Very nerve wracking stuff!

      I will say that Rafa’s backhand let him down in this match. He was missing with the dtl backhand at some key points in the match. That and the four double faults are the only problems I saw.

      Yes, I just noticed that the last 8 in Paris are the exact lineup for London.


      So Rafa will move on and play Gasquet next. I think he has a good shot to get to the final.

      • Thanks @nny. Yes, sounds like Rafa had mini nervous “breakdown”. I think Rafa really wants to win Bercy and the enormity of what he has achieved this season is beginning to dawn on him. Beating a big server like Jerzy in Bercy is no small feat either.

        I think Uncle T is going to calm him down and finish this…….

        I expect a calmer, crisper Rafa tomorrow.


    • I hate to say it, but Rafa had an attack of the heebie jeebies. Never ever seen him wobble quite like that before when in a winning position. He threw in two double faults in the closing moments and 14 of the UFs came in that set. JJ was hitting out with nothing to lose. Some of his shots were awesome. Luckily more of them went out than went in.

  2. Those double faults were killing me, although I think it’s as the commentators said….Rafa was a bit spooked by some of those faster than the speed of light returns on his 2nd serve, so he was going for more.

  3. I always say it’s so great but in the same time so demanding on your body and your soul to be a Rafan…Gosh, it was for heart attack…draining last game…those double faults came out of nowhere…but some of Rafa’s shots were pure determination…love it! Love the animal in him! Love you Rafa!!!

    Vamos Rafa!

    • natashao,

      We do have to hang in there with Rafa during these tough moments in matches. It’s a great feeling when he wins, but at the same time as fans we can feel so drained at the end.

      Again, so nice to have you here! 🙂

  4. I definitely think that Rafa had a bad case of nerves. Rarely do you see him double fault two times in one game. He knew that this match would be tough against a guy like JJ. It’s only his second match and his timing isn’t quite there.

    Fortunately, JJ did miss some of his shots. He has the kind of game where he just goes for it and that will result in high UE’s. He also has a tendency to self-destruct, as was the case when he double faulted away the break.

    I am drained now, but so happy that Rafa won. I felt that this might be his biggest challenge. This win will give him a lot of confidence going forward. I like his chances here.

    We are going to be treated to some great match ups in the quarterfinals.

  5. @8:52am ––I am hoping for the Rafa vs. Fed final––

    So are the tournament organisers!

    If it comes to pass I’m fascinated to see if the crowd are still as fervent in their support for Federer. So far this week I have the impression they have finally embraced Rafa.

    • if Fed reaches the final I say he deserves to be supported by the crowd…and am I sure Rafa will also have enough of his fans lined up…it would be such an inspiring event for all: Fed, Rafa and the fans…and great occasion to revive the memories of the best rivalry ever…
      But, let us go back to reality…one match at the time…Gasquet next…

      Two down, three to go!

      Vamos Rafa!

  6. Happy Rafa won the match! Cant remember the last time Rafa seemed so nervous but I can understand. Its amazing how whenever Rafa plays he is always exposed to “all or nothing tennis” from his opponents! It must be so tough to have to deal with that so mcuh of the time. I dont see any of the other player having to face that type of adversity! Its always so differnet with, Rafa, Poor thing, he deals with it so well!! But Vamos!!!

  7. Ricky, I like the screen caps. This site is emerging into the snazziest tennis site on the web. We badly need some opposition to Rafans, but not the nasty kind.

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