Rafa may have won the match, but Philipp Petzschner can put another check in his fan column. He's officially won me over.
I would be lying if I said Petzschner could really win the match. I think I always knew - and I don't think I'm the only one - that Rafa would pull it out. That said, it does not mean it was not a fine, fine match indeed, and very enjoyable to watch.
Petzschner on grass is an absolute joy, and I really liked his tactics against Nadal. He came into the net a lot - which might seem foolhardy given Nadal's proclivity for the passing shot, and sure, he did get passed on more than a few occasions - but what I really liked was a) the different looks he gave Nadal when he did come in, whether he hit a traditional approach shot or served and volleyed or some cute crosscourt angled thing and b) that he drew Nadal in as well. Nadal's not the world's worst volleyer, but it's certainly not the strongest part of his game - he'd rather be passing someone at the net than being here himself. And Petzschner drew a surprising amount of errors that way.
I think the match that Petzschner played was like a bizarre cross between Soderling and Rafter, and for two sets, it really worked. He obviously couldn't keep the level up, due to the fact that in his own words, to win he had to 'play crazy', but he asked Nadal a lot of questions. And I imagine that there would be a lot of people watching this match with interest. One of them would be called Robin Soderling, going 'heyyyy... I've seen this somewhere before'. And, I hope, another one was called Roger Federer, because if he played Rafa like this, I don't know what would happen.
But these dudes aside, let's just say yay Petzschner, because even though you didn't win the match, you sure won me over. Well done, Phil.
3 weeks ago