U.S. Open R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Seppi, Paire vs. Baghdatis

Rafael Nadal had no trouble in his U.S. Open first-rounder and he will hope to make similar work of Andreas Seppi on Wednesday. What is likely to be a more entertaining contest will pit Benoit Paire against Marcos Baghdatis.

(4) Rafael Nadal vs. Andreas Seppi

Nadal and Seppi will be squaring off for the ninth time in their careers and for the second time this summer when they meet again in round two of the U.S. Open on Wednesday. The head-to-head series stands at 7-1 in favor of Nadal, who most recently took care of Seppi 6-3, 6-3 at the Rio Olympics. That result was nothing out of the ordinary for the Spaniard, who has won 10 consecutive sets at Seppi’s expense–eight of them no more competitive than 6-3. Nadal’s 10-set streak started after the Italian scored his lone victory via a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 decision eight years ago on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam.

The world No. 5 parlayed his recent win over Seppi into a fourth-place showing at the Olympics, where he also captured the doubles gold medal with Marc Lopez. Nadal was clearly too fatigued to do anything of note in Cincinnati, but he got back in business by hammering Denis Istomin 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 on Monday afternoon in New York. That looks like bad news for Seppi, who advanced with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Stephane Robert. The 32nd-ranked Italian has plunged to No. 87 in the world and he will continue to be saddled with a losing record in 2016 (currently 18-19) if he falls to Nadal. There is no reason to expect anything different from what has transpired between these two veterans over the course of their last five matchups.

Pick: Nadal in 3 losing 8-10 games

(32) Benoit Paire vs. Marcos Baghdatis

Nothing screams five-setter quite like Paire playing an early-round match at the U.S. Open. The 34th-ranked Frenchman contested the sixth first-round match of his career at this tournament on Monday and it resulted in his fifth five-setter, as he outlasted a cramping Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 2-6, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. The only occasion on which Paire did not go to a final set in the opening round was in 2012, but he promptly went five with Philipp Kohlschreiber (lost 6-7(4), 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(4)) two days after beating Grigor Dimitrov in four. The win over Lajovic was much needed for the 32nd seed, who is just 21-24 on the year and had been 1-4 in his last five matches prior to arriving in New York.
Up next for Paire on Wednesday in what should be an entertaining showdown against Baghdatis. The head-to-head series stands at 2-1 in favor of Paire, who prevailed at the 2013 French Open and two years later in Tokyo following a three-set win for Baghdatis at the 2013 Rotterdam tournament. Baghdatis booked his spot in this contest by getting a third-set retirement from Facundo Bagnis, although the Cypriot was well on his way to victory leading 6-4, 6-2, 1-1. He is 21-17 for his 2016 campaign and has reached at least the third round in three of his last four events. The trend should continue for Baghdatis against an opponent who is short on confidence and coming off a tough five-setter.

Pick: Baghdatis in 5

76 Comments on U.S. Open R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Seppi, Paire vs. Baghdatis

  1. This match is like Rosol and Fogna had a love child.

    What a choke by Rafa. It was nicer while it lasted.


  2. He always has this problem when serving for the set or match. The current Rafa is very far from that vintage Rafa; we have to expect this level of play from Rafa from now on. He has to work very hard to win.

  3. I dont understand Rafa’s mentality – why must he wait till he faces BP then he serves better or serves an ace. Why cant he just concentrate a bit more while serving to get a good serve to win cheap points? He’s not going to last if he continues to play 20-30 shots rallies all the time.

  4. Rafa played passively needing a Seppi UE to win the second set.

    Frustrating to see him lay like this after such a strong start.

    It’s the mental inconsistency that has plagued him from going deeper in slams the last two years (besides injury albeit).

    • ESPN just showed a wonderful isolation graphic of Rafa’s shot pattern that perfectly illustrated what vamosrafa has been talking about.

      Rafa is setting up the point with the cc forehand and then it opens up the court for him to hit the DTL forehand. It’s working beautifully for him in this match.

      I assume that vamosrafa isn’t up to watch this match because of the time, but I think he would be very pleased,

  5. Such a far cry from the uso of 2010 when he did not get broken until the qfs. I wonder why he did not even make an effort to work on that serve. Could have saved him a lot of grinding

    • vr,

      You are here! Did you see what I wrote in my last post? It was all about Rafa’s shit patterns with the forehand.

      I didn’t think you would be up for this. I wasn’t happy to see Rafa get broken while serving for the second set, but at least he regrouped and got it done.

      I am not feeling as negative about Rafa’s game as some are. It is true that Seppi doesn’t have the game to trouble Rafa, but I do think Rafa is hitting the forehand better in this match than the first match.

      People have to realize that Rafa doesn’t have to be playing his best in the early rounds. He just has to win and get through and work himself into better form.

      We also have to realize that Rafa has not played a lot of tennis. He had Rio and then wasn’t able to do anything in Cincy. So he is coming into this slam without much match play, especially in slams,

      • exactly! he’s not played much in the last 4 months and this is a slam! Can’t expect him to blast through the field of a sudden esp when we know he arrived here with confidence/execution issues on his forehand side.

      • Positives:

        -Rafa’s second serve return on the DEUCE court is a weapon now and crucially, he is willing to do it on big points too! This is important because many would say he’s stepped in to hit aggressive returns in the past but those were mostly when he was down 40-0 or 40-15 in games or 40-30 max but now, I am see him do it on opening points, on deuce points and on deciding points too! His forehand return is also a lot more stable now and seems to be more in control of the swing. Let’s see how this weapon holds up against the best of second serves.

        -Backhand CC continues to be super solid and he is really confident.

        -The second serve is well-guarded and doesn’t look particularly vulnerable at all.

        -The forehand was better as compared to the last match and he is trying to be more aggressive.


        • Negatives/Concerns:

          -The reason I asked about Rafa’s forehand RPM is that I saw some data and also some analysis from Patrick Mouratoglou. Rafa’s had to change the way he hits his forehand to guard the wrist and he got some ‘bad habits’ doing that. As a result, he only hit 29% of forehands above 3000 RPM in Cincinnati, which is a lot lower than his usual rate which is above 70%!!!

          -Rafa’s new serving position is getting more readable perhaps and good returners make life difficult for him esp when his forehand his not firing. The new ad court positioning is good to set up points but that’s too much work. It was good to see J Mac say what I was discussing in round 1 that he can’t possibly go for up-the-middle flat serves in the corner as the serves are always moving in toward the opponents. It is so tough to find that corner. Murray and Djokovic will return so many of them. Rafa changes his positioning a bit throughout the match to experiment so I guess he is trying to find the best balance. The position surely helps his second serve though.

          -Rafa not able to hit big forehands as the first shot after serve as often. In Rio he was able to hit big inside-out forehands only 17% of the times and in USO 2013 he did that 33% of the times! This is a combination of his new serving position and his lack of confidence on the forehand wing.

          – Rafa’s NOT going to for backhands DTL here like he was in Rio. He was RIPPING them hard and flat in Rio but taking it easy here so far. I hope he doesn’t back away and does it more often as we progress.

          -The unforced error count MUST be controlled in the next match now and he needs to ensure the intensity doesn’t waver. Once again that happened in set 2 today. He hit some good inside-out forehands in the second but then dumped the finishing ones into the net when going inside-in and they were FRUSTRATING.

          A positive I missed in my last post: He is moving really well and explosively

          Practice more Rafa and be confident. Good luck!

    • vr,

      They showed a slo-mo of the topspin on Rafa’s forehand. But they didn’t give any specific data on it.

      • NNY, I didn’t see the first and and woke up at 5-3 set 2… Even from then on, I was not too focused as I was still in bed and sleepy lol.

        I did note a few things and would like to share in the next post.

        In this post, I’d say I agree with your assessment of the match! More positives than negatives.

        • vr,

          This is my last post before turning in. I did read your analysis of the positives and negatives. You are very thorough!

          I tend to try to not analyze Rafa’s early round matches too much. These two opponents were never going to beat Rafa. So there wasn’t a big challenge. He basically won these matches the way he should have. I do not think he had to work too hard. I also think that every time Rafa is broken when he’s serving for a set, is not necessarily something to get alarmed about. It can happen. Rafa did lose some focus, but got it back in time to close out the second set. I think he realized that Seppi could not challenge him and in a match like that, it’s not unheard of to lose intensity at times.

          I am concerned about the loss of RPM’s on his forehand and the other technical things you mentioned. I wonder if it’s lack of confidence in the forehand or limitations from the wrist injury.

          My hope is for Rafa to get to the second week. It’s that simple for me. He has not done that so far this year. He’s got a great draw and the opportunity is there. I am concerned about his overall fitness and the lack of match play, particularly in best of five set slam matches. We will have to see how Rafa holds up if he has to play four or five sets.

          I think at some point rafa will be tested. Even though his draw is good, someone will give him a tough match. The extra day of rest does help.

          I want to be optimistic about Rafa’s chances here, but also realistic. Rafa does have the chance to work his way into good form. Ivthink rafa has the chance to go further here than he has at the other slams.

          • Rafa’s lack of confidence in his forehand is because of his injury. Everyone except troll team of hawkeye etc knows that Rafa has been making adjustments because of his injuries

            • Rafa is still experimenting with his serving position and forehand. Forehand which was his money shot lets him down at crucial moments.
              Anyway it is great to see Rafa playing again with passion. I just hope that his wrist holds up and he wins RG 10 next year. If he wins other slams too that would be a bonus.

            • who on earth has refuted that he has had to make adjustments to his forehand due to the wrist?? :s

              Haven’t seen a single poster here saying that or disagreeing with me when I wrote it!!!

            • Mary W (AT 1:02 PM),

              Yes, as for the wrist&FH issue, Rafa and Toni have spoken about this.

              ¤¤ Rafa: “…I’ve got some automatisms for hitting the ball wrong to protect me from the pain & now I have to GET RID OF these bad habits that I’ve acquiring to avoid the pain…”
              Tony: ” In Rio he was [hitting the FH] very carefully. He was correcting gestures all the time not to speed up & force all the way, blocking the wrist more often than usual. Ultimately, that’s not the natural shot. When you want to restart again & play as you were doing BEFORE you have to REDO the movements that have been previously corrected to protect the wrist…” ¤¤
              (Soure: EL ESPANOL on August 28, 2016; translated from Spanish by genny_ss)

    • vr,

      Yes, you are making too much sense! Logic and reason seem to be in short supply.

      But don’t you just love it when the same person posts something that has no point just to appear to be condescending?

      It’s all about trying to stir the pot, as opposed to contributing something worthwhile to a discussion. Someone’s who gets in the at and they have to try one-upmanship.

      It’s all about one person trying to build themselves up by putting down others and whatever they say.

      That is why it’s getting harder and harder to have a decent discussion about Rafa’s game it anything tennis related!

      Your analysis as comprehensive, detailed and insightful. I enjoy our discussions about Rafa’s game in all its aspects.

      We just need to ignore the attempts to sabotage real discussion. ?

      • vr,

        The comments posted above reinforce what you said last night about rafa picking up some bad habits when he was injured! Great observation by you!

        You have a good eye for details when you watch Rafa’s matches. Now rafa and Uncle Toni have confirmed it!

        • NNY AT 2:03 PM says: “The comments posted above reinforce what you said last night about rafa…Now rafa and Uncle Toni have confirmed it!
          Now? The interview with Rafa & U.Toni was published 4 (!) days ago.

  6. US Open Tennis: ¤¤ We made some history tonight. Nice to meet you (for real), US Open roof.¤¤

    USO website: ¤¤ Arthur Ashe Stadium roof closes for first time.
    Wednesday, August 31, 2016
    Play was suspended at 10:38 p.m. ET and resumed at 10:46 p.m. And officially, the roof closed in 5 minutes and 22 seconds, with NADAL holding the distincion of being the FIRST player to hit a ball under its canopy. He was, coincidentally, the FIRST player to practice under the closed roof as well. ¤¤


  7. Very nice outfit for Rafa for the night matches -nice black shorts with blue trimmings to match the blue strip on his black top, with matching shoes and head gear too. Rafa looks very good in black. This comes second only to USO2010’s black outfit – that one no one can outdo it.

      • The huge structure over Arthur Ashe has completely changed the playing conditions even when the roof is not closed. It blocks the wind. So both Rafa and Muzz have lost one condition which favored them against Djok.

        • That is not what Rafa said in his interview on court after the match! He said that the conditions are much better with the roof! He said the wind was always a problem in the past!

          Watch the interview and at least listen to Rafa’s words! Someone is not watching Rafa’s interviews! Otherwise you would know what he said and that he was very happy with the conditions under the new roof!

          • native, you know your Echo strategy is a good one for you. It prevents you from making an ass of yourself. So first listen to what a few others are saying, copy and paste and then produce your “analysis”.

          • NNY AT 1:50 PM says: “He [Rafa] said that the conditions are much better with the roof! He said the wind was always a problem in the past!”
            Rafa said that the wind was ‘POSITIVE’ for HIM in the past.
            Rafa on the roof: “The big difference comparing to the years before…this court probably was one of the more difficult court to play because there was a lot of wind here – that for me was POSITIVE – but the real thing is for the good show…it is an unbelievble improvement.”
            (Source: Between the 2:25 – 2:53 minute marks in the video I posted AT 4:16 AM)

  8. Yeah so nice from top to toe; even his socks have blue trimmings. The Nike slash is in blue too on bandana, wrist band and on shoes, very stunning against the black, very nice!

  9. I think he could realistically reach the semis and then lose. to win he needs big luck like Murray and Djokovic both losing. I believe they are the only guys who can challenge Rafa here. Even if Rafa is not playing as well, at least he is mentally strong. This makes it hard for lesser players to beat him (something that was not the case last year)

    • I am not sure this Rafa can win against Cilic either. Rafa has always been mentally strong but last year with slowed down movement and without his forehand or backhand or a good serve, he would have had to be delusional to have confidence in his game. Now that he has a solid backhand, an improving forehand, he knows he can win against lesser players. But without a great serve or a great forehand, he is not going to win against the likes of Muzz or Djok or an inspired Cilc or Delpo.

        • vr,

          Thank you! Please! Let’s have some faith in Rafa! All I know is that if Rafa gets to meet Cilic, then it will mean he is playing well!

          Let’s wait and see what happens before Rafa has to face Cilic. We are not there yet!

        • Oh vr I remember you thought Tignor was bashing Rafa because he quoted stats. Tut tut, you should learn the difference between facts/stats and opinion.
          Anyway you are still better than native who doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction.
          But watch out! You may deteriorate if you do not stop trolling. Hawkeye has already lost his wit thanks to continuous trolling. Let such a fate not befall you. Stop trolling before it is too late.

          • This person’s need to feel superior and put others down is getting quite stale and boring!

            It bespeaks a real insecurity and that is just a shame.

            • Good self Analysis native!
              Self-awarenesss is the first step in changing yourself!
              Now take step 2 to do something about your self- identified shortcomings.

    • atul,

      With Raonic out of the way, Rafa has an excellent chance to get to the semis. His quarterfinal opponent could be any one of Monfils, Harrison, Baggy. You can’t ask for a better draw right now, at least to the semis.

      I think taking on Murray or Novak is going to be tough. Murray has been playing very well and winning Wimbledon and the Olympics will give him even more belief and confidence. He has been in a roll lately.

      Novak is a question mark after his sub-par performance in his first match. We have to see how he looks in his next match. With the walkover, they said he will have four days off. That may be a good thing if he’s hurting or not.

      Rafa can get himself into better form with each match. As long as the wrist holds up, then he had a chance to get a good result here.

  10. I thought Seppi was cracking it to come back though. Rafa was in pretty good form especially that first and third set imo.

  11. In Rafa’s first two matches so far, he struggled with a mental letdown. Particularly against Seppi, Rafa was a joy to watch. He was on fire in the first set hitting outright winners compared to the second set where he was broken twice, became defensive hitting short and hitting loopy moonballs.

    So, even though we all know Rafa has in general making adjustments for his wrist, this repeat second set letdown wasn’t “adjustments” as holdserve wants so desperately to believe.

    He can get away with such letdowns in early rounds, but not past the 4th round, which (like I’ve said already) is a large part of the reason (besides injury), Rafa hasn’t made it past QF in last seven slam attempts.

    • #hawkeyeNoLongerTheHawkeyeOfOld

      • Awwww holdsewve, you huwt My feewings.

        The problem with you holdserve is that you don’t have any real fedfans and nole fans here to bash. Poor abhirf. So abusive towards him which got you the only permanent ban in history here.


        • Well I do not know who you are confusing me with but I can assert I have never been banned. Moderated, posts deleted, yes.
          Banned: Never
          That reminds me, deuce claimed Mary was banned on tennis-x. Mary was neither banned nor moderated on tennis-x.

        • hawkeye, thanks for the compliments.
          I am still waiting for the dinner invitation.
          Eager to pit my newly learned Borgia skills against the venom-spewing expert trolls at your table.

            • If only it were that simple! I don’t think there is any medication for what ails holdserve.

              But the posts are getting more desperate. A hysterical tone to them. Even the insults are becoming cliched and trite. Just the same angry ranting and raving over and over again.

              That is a sad way to live one’s life.

            • hawkeye you are constantly reminding me to take my meds which shows your excessive faith in them to cure all ailments. I deduce you are a hypochondriac and have cupboards full of meds.
              Me, I am like super athletes in some ways. I believe in diet and exercise, yoga and meditation.

            • Well, I got some bad news holdserve.

              It’s not working so good for you.

              Now, listen to Ricky and play niceeze, m’kay?

              From now on everyone only make nice comments!

              Aaaaaaand, GO!!!

        • oh is that why she was attacking abhirf recently hawks?? she was really gratiutously nasty for no reason. you are right that the change in the site means that without other fan targets she has to attack anyone. shows that the real reason she comes on these sites is to attack people.
          and yes she was moderated on tennis-x.

            • well it is me who mary is stalking everywhere saying i am deucey from the past who was a leader of a lynch mob of trolls on tennistalk. i ignore most of what she says but she is the instigator both against myself and hawks, nny and vr who she insults constantly in personal terms. we would all happily talk tennis if she would just go away and leave us alone.

          • Who was constantly stalking augusta? Was hawkeye talking tennis then? deuce believes if a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes the truth.
            You should go away amy-deuce. Stop revving up your golden puppet duo.
            We can then all post in peace.
            As for abhirf, I have no idea what you trolls are talking about

            • Mary W (AT 4:07 PM) says: “Who was constantly stalking augusta? Was hawkeye talking tennis then?”
              He continues. ?

    • Stop stalking augusta, nadline and me. In this thread there are four of you harassing and attacking me. You guys are now in lynch mob style attack mode. That is exactly what you guys did on tennistalk to scoretracker. Does anybody need any further proof that you are a lynch mob?

      • That’s why I’m posting very little on The Grandstand these days. It’s become a spill-over from the Dysfunctional Forum for attacking Rafa fans. It’s so childish. Whatever we say is turned into an attacking weapon. It’s not worth the bother of posting.

        • I have had to come in here every day for weeks and read the most despicable comments about myself posted my Mary ever single day. I tried ignoring it but at some point I get fed up with the trash talk and the vitriol.

          We all know who starts it, because the posts are there ft everyone to see. Trying to play the victim card is not going to work , because using phrases like “lynch mob” for one example is inflammatory and deliberate.

          If you can’t keep a civil tongue in your head, then a forum is not a good place for you.

          I can’t count how many times I have tried to engage in tennis discussions, only to have Mary spam the site with vindictive personal attacks. Then she tried to play the victim. There is an agenda and that has been obvious for some time.

          For those who say they don’t post here anymore, I have felt the need to cut back too many times or stay away at times because of the hateful comments.

          Pointing fingers at others accomplishes nothing. We all have a responsibility to behave appropriately and respect others. Note the word “all”. It doesn’t work if only some do it.

          I got fed up with coming on this site and being gratuitously attacked on a daily basis. There is no question as to who starts it every single time. Personal attacks should be immediately deleted and then others won”t have the dilemma of trying to ignore it or finally respond out of frustration.

Comments are closed.

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