Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Nadal v Mathieu as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne Men’s fourth-round latest:

R Nadal (Sp) v P-H Mathieu (Fra)

6-4 3-0 (ret)

* Nadal wins after Mathieu retirement


By Sarah Holt

Second set:

1127: “It’s strange it doesn’t look like he’s limping. It’s not the way to retire. You at least have to look as though you are in some kind of discomfort before you retire from a Grand Slam. I’m still in shock. It just looks like he was getting beaten and had enough.”
BBC Sport’s John Lloyd

Nadal 3-0 Mathieu
A third double-fault takes Mathieu to 15-15. Things are looking a bit ominous again here as Nadal moves to 15-40. Mathieu looks very casual and doesn’t move as Nadal passes him to break again. And Mathieu has had enough. He slings his racquet to the ground and then retires from the match.

Nadal 2-0 Mathieu
No danger of Nadal missing a single shot out here as he powers to a love service game, finishing it off with a back-handed drive volley at the net.

1119: “Nadal couldn’t have asked for a better draw in his wildest dreams. It’s not his “fault”, of course, but he’d probably acknowledge himself how happy he is he got a bit of luck.”
ShatteredHand on 606

Nadal 1-0 Mathieu
Nadal is a man of a mission here. He threads a couple of belters down the line to grab three break points and there is nothing Mathieu can do to stop the immediate break.

First set:

Nadal 6-4 Mathieu
A rare double fault takes him to 15-15 and Mathieu sends him dashing around the court, and then hits a big forehand at 15-30. No luck for the Frenchman after another close exchange of shots, and Nadal lashes down a third ace for 40-30. And no mistake from the Spaniard as he closes out the game for the first set.

“That was a brilliant exhibiton of serves from Nadal, and Mathieu just can’t get at it at the moment. You just think how can Mathieu really hurt Nadal?”
BBC Sport’s John Lloyd

Nadal 5-4 Mathieu
Mathieu hangs on, so Nadal will have to serve out the set.

Nadal 5-3 Mathieu
Mathieu receives more treatment at the changeover and his luck changes a little as he gets to 30-30 on the Nadal serve. Lots of groaning out there in a long rally but Mathieu goes long at 40-30 and does likewise to hand the Spaniard the hold.

Nadal 4-3 Mathieu
Mathieu is doing his best to stay with the French Open champion out here at 30-30. The Frenchman clatters down a forehand after a long rally and eventually holds, but it’s not easy.

Nadal 4-2 Mathieu
Nadal is showing no signs of letting up here and he holds to love to march onwards.

1050: Mathieu is taking an injury timeout to get his left calf seen to. Meanwhile, the BBC’s commentary team in Melbourne amuse us by concurring that they would agree to coach Roger Federer for a small fee – as long as they also negotiated a share of his bonuses.

Nadal 3-2 Mathieu
A better game from the Frenchman as he hits some solid serves to hold to 15. When Mathieu returns to his seat the trainer is immediately called out and starts massaging the Frenchman’s shin. A problem already?

Nadal 3-1 Mathieu
Nadal is yet to miss a first serve and looks pretty unstoppable right now as he knocks out a love service game.

Nadal 2-1 Mathieu
Mathieu is in a bit of trouble here as Nadal manoeuvers his way to three break points. The Frenchman hits long and it’s an easy surrender to the world number two.

“He’s looking very sharp tonight. Mathieu is trying to put him under pressure but Nadal just doesn’t look like he’s going to miss.”
BBC Sport’s John Lloyd

Nadal 1-1 Mathieu
A more straightforward game from Nadal, who holds to 15.

Nadal 0-1 Mathieu
Mathieu opens the serving in a dashing black and white outfit. Nadal is straight onto him and takes him to deuce. The second seed hits long and then nets to see Mathieu hold. The office rota guru asks: “Are all Frenchmen plucky?” Hmmmn Mathieu might have to be after that game.

1032: “Sarah, are you married to Michael Holt by any chance? I have heard a few rumours”
Sooty in Devon via text Oooh no, not snooker. Neither am I married to Chicago rapper Hollywood Holt.

1028: If we look at the head-to-head record between these two then Nadal is the overwhelming favourite. The Spanish 21-year-old has a 6-0 record over Mathieu and beat him in four sets on his way to his third French Open title in 2006. But Mathieu is a plucky Frenchman and could give him another test in Australia.

1025: World number two Rafael Nadal walks out on court to face Paul-Henri Mathieu for a place in the quarter-finals of the Australia Open.

Story from BBC SPORT


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