Probably one of his worst performances on clay, but he is so good on this surface and a true professional and he comes through in a scoreline that suggests it was more comfortable than it actually was.
Rafael Nadal - Ivan Ljubicic
French Open men - 30 May 2011
French Open – Follow the Tennis match between Rafael Nadal and Ivan Ljubicic live with Eurosport. The match starts at 10:00 on 30 May 2011. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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NADAL 7-5 6-3 6-3 - Rafa serves for the match...Ljubicic hits his trusty backhand wide...his in no way trustworthy forehand long...a backhand even longer, and three match points...the same again and Nadal is through.
NADAL 7-5 6-3 5-3 - Rafa second guessing everything Ljubicic does at the net and eventually passes him with a simple forehand. 30-30, but Ljubicic powers down an ace through the middle. Iffy forehand from the Croat and it's back to deuce. Bizarre rally as they get stuck volleying and returning it to each other with Ljubicic at the net. Ninth ace and he has the advantage. He takes the game with an explosive vorehand winner.
NADAL 7-5 6-3 5-2 - Terrible volley from Ljubicic. He misses the next shot and raps a ball probably out of the stadium in anger. Nadal with an easy hold.
NADAL 7-5 6-3 4-2 - BREAK! Having just got the break Ljubicic is throwing it away. He goes 0-30 down, then 0-40 when he can't get to a Nadal forehand. Ljubicic clips the line with a powerful forehand, but Nadal gets it back and hits his next shot across the approaching Croat for the break.
NADAL 7-5 6-3 3-2 - BREAK! Double fault from Nadal followed by a wide backhand. Nadal can't generate the pace of old, when the ball would explode off the court due to all that topspin. Three break back points to Ljubicic. Nadal hits an ace for the first...a line umpire calls a Nadal shot out, but the umpire overrules. Point to be taken again...Nadal smashes down the line...third chance and Nadal hits wide for the break.
NADAL 7-5 6-3 3-1 - Ljubicic must be so disappointed with his performance. He goes 0-30 down then loses another as a vintage Nadal forehand arrows into the corner. He saves all three as he comes aggressively towards the net. Nadal's had 18 break points so far and has taken four. A 19th here and Rafa tears around the court and forces Ljubicic into the net.
NADAL 7-5 6-3 2-1 - Nadal matches Ljubicic, winning to love and with his first ace of the match. This game is totally lacking in energy or atmosphere, and though Nadal is not nearly at his best, the blame has to lie with Ljubicic, who is not putting up a fight.
NADAL 7-5 6-3 1-1 - Nadal holds then at the beginning of the Ljubicic service game very nearly gets to a smash. Ljubicic ups his game to also win to love, but frankly it's way too late now.
NADAL 7-5 6-3 - Ljubicic sleepwalks to another loss of a set. Break point and Nadal plays a beautiful whipped forehand up the line, which the Croatian watches go by.
NADAL 7-5 5-3 - Ljubicic misses an oh so easy forehand and his game is falling to pieces as he volleys into the net. Nadal wins his match without breaking into so much as a run.
NADAL 7-5 4-3 - BREAK! Nadal holds to love. He goes on to attack the Ljubicic service game and the Croat can't compete when Nadal gets it right. Nadal wallops a forehand crosscourt pass, but Ljubicic does brilliantly to catch it on the half volley. Eighth ace for Ivan, but his forehand again lets him down twice as he hits wide and Nadal does break.
NADAL 7-5 2-3 - There's none of the devil in Nadal. He doesn't look like he's enjoying himself though he is winning. Ljubicic serve volleys and moves ahead in this set.
NADAL 7-5 2-2 - Sloppy game from Ljubicic. He just can't afford to play like this when Nadal is having another off day like this. The Spaniard wins to love.
NADAL 7-5 1-2 - Beautiful drop shots off either wing from Ljubicic and he now has the advantage. Game to the Croat.
NADAL 7-5 1-1 - Ljubicic doesn't have the feel when it comes to lobbing as another goes way long. He has the feel for the volley though and drops one down the line. Nadal just misses a forehand pass. That would usually drop in for a fully functional world number one. Break point for Nadal after reallt shoddy work from Ljubicic, missing a simple backhand, but Nadal matches his incompetence. Another break point...not taken. Better from the Spaniard as he gets a couple of winners for third chance.
NADAL 7-5 1-1 - Ljubicic can't put a lob in to court when he really could have put it away with a simple forehand down the line. The Croat's usually inferior forehand comes to life here and he pounds a winner down the line. His backhand lets him down and a poor game from Ljubicic gives Nadal a hold.
NADAL 7-5 0-1 - Nadal gets a sniff of a break at the beginning of the second. Two chances to break here, but Ljubicic zips a forehand winner into the corner and gets back to deuce. Well played Ljubicic; he rushes the net and forces the error. He takes the game with an unreturned serve.
NADAL 7-5 - Nadal ups his game and now has three set points. A rudimentary backhand from the Croat gives him the set.
NADAL 6-5 - BREAK! Ljubicic catches the line with an ace, but a ball bounces off the net and Nadal puts it away with ease. Two break points for Nadal after a bad lob from Ljubicic. He needs only one invitation as he rips a forehand into the corner.
NADAL 5-5 - Ljubicic comes off his chair after Nadal, pretty much unheard of, and hits a fantastic angled backhand for the first point. Two bad errors undoes his good work, but a forehand into the net and it's 30-30. A defensive lob goes long from the Croat and Nadal holds.
NADAL 4-5 - Nadal looks on in disbelief as he hits comfortably long, then misses a routine pass as Ljubicic plays a poor approach shot. Another easy pass is missed and he will have to serve to stay in the set.
NADAL 4-4 - Ljubicic nails a return on his backhand, and comes to the net in the following point to volley a winner, but Nadal wins with a 'vamos' as Ljubicic can't reply to the serve.
NADAL 3-4 - Ljubicic is taking control of the rallies and he hits a forehand winner up the line. Nadal fires a shot into the Croat's feet and Ljubicic can't quite get it back in. More solid hitting from Ljubicic and Nadal looks to Uncle Tony in frustration. The big man lays down the ace to take the lead.
NADAL 3-3 - A ball jumps up on Nadal and he can't control the shot. He should be able to control the next, but can't and it's 0-30. A Ljubicic backhand bounces off the net and out of play. He misses a simple shot by a good foot and two break points. He gets the break when Nadal should pass him, but he hits an admittedly terrific volley.
NADAL 3-2 - Another couple of break points for Nadal. One saved when a defensive lob goes just wide. Deuce when Nadal hits a forehand just long and he isn't happy with himself. Slack slice from Nadal, but an arrow of a forehand out of the blue and back to level. Two netted returns and Ljubicic holds.
NADAL 3-1 - Inside-out forehand from Nadal and some poor Ljubicic ground strokes gives the Spaniard an utterly comfortable service game.
NADAL 2-1 -BREAK! Better from Nadal and he reels off a couple of points for 0-30. A lazy overhead from Ljubicic goes into the net and Nadal has three break points. Ace from the Croat saves one, ace at 216kph saves a second, and Nadal nets the return for deuce. Ljubicic's forehand lets him down and break point. Nadal hits long by a couple of metres, but gets another...he's onto the drop shot in a flash and does get the break.
NADAL 1-1 - Ljubicic lets Nadal off with a couple of wild shots and the Spaniard has a chance to level. He overhits a backhand but no matter as he gets the next point and the game.
NADAL 0-1 - Ljubicic with a big serve, but he completely miss hits a back hand. Nadal helps him out with a long forehand himself. One more boomer of a serve and a big forehand earns him the opening game of the match.
Nadal leads their head to head record six games to two with Nadal winning all three of their matches on clay.
Hello and welcome to LIVE comments from this fourth round clash between French Open champion Rafael Nadal and talented Croat Ivan Ljubicic.