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Wimbledon 2010: Robin Haase-Rafael Nadal as it happened

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By Tom Fordyce
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

1921:Quick word from Rafa before we go: "I knew Robin would be very dangerous. I played a very good match. I had three bad points in the first set, but playing him is always a challenge. On a fast surface like grass all the matches are close. I'm very happy to win because I was very close to losing."

1918: Fabulous from Nadal, splendid battle from Haase. Standing ovation as the Majorcan whips off his headband and clenches his fist, and we've all been treated to another afternoon delight.

Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-6 3-6 Nadal
Brilliant, quite brilliant. New balls for the final reckoning, just to rub salt in the Haase wounds, and when he dunks a backhand in the net for 0-40, the Dutchman falls back on his haunches in despair. Big serve, return long - that's it!

Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-6 3-5 Nadal *
Big serving at the death from Haase (27 aces and counting) and the Centre crowd cheer him to the high-tech rafters. Another ace! This time off the second serve. 64 seconds, that game lasted.


* Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-6 2-5 Nadal
Desperate straights for the curly-topped Dutchman. Nadal, imperious, has won 18 straight points on his serve. Even the fanatical orange-shirted supporters up on high in the stands are almost resigned to it now.

Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-6 2-4 Nadal *
You start by landing all your first serves, for starters - Haas finally clicking again, holding to 15, but it's surely slipping away from him...

* Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-6 1-4 Nadal
Nadal in his pomp, battering off either wing, and he's yet to drop a point on his serve in this set. How do you come back from that? Look out - a winning smash from the net almost decapitates the line-judge down the middle. 128 mph, heading for his face, flinching duck like Robin Smith evading a Curtly Ambrose snorter.

Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-6 1-3 Nadal *
Cheers Ian - Fordyce back from the smallest room on Centre Court. Ruthless from Rafa, smacking a backhand at the net straight at Haasa's throat. Haase has a chance to put away a volley on the scamper - no, into the net, and that brings up two break points. He hasn't landed a first serve in this game. Rafa on the defensive, sprinting, scurrying, Haase all over him - sensational play from the Spaniard, somehow staying alive, a wondrous lob from the back and a leaping, spinning punch of the air when Haase's desperate flick goes long. Big, big break.

* Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-6 1-2 Nadal
As the shadows lengthen over Centre Court a great rally to start the game with Nadal winning the point by dinking the ball over the net, before he plays a forehand wide of the Dutchman who, still seemingly bothered by the injury he suffered in the last set, cannot reach it. Haase hits long after another rally to put the second seed 40-0 up before another return goes long and Nadal is in front once more. That is 12 points with serve in the first three games of this final set.

Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-6 1-1 Nadal *
No messing about from the Dutchman, who starts with an ace and two serves which Nadal cannot return before he closes out a love service game to level the set in rapid time.


* Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-6 0-1 Nadal
Tom has nipped out for a quick comfort break so this is Ian Westbrook stepping in for a couple of games. The fourth set lasted just 22 minutes and Nadal, serving, is in a hurry here too - two brief rallies, a return into the net and another one wide hand Nadal the game.

FOURTH SET

Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-6 Nadal *
Haase's first-serve percentage has dropped from 88% down to 55%, and that's always going to spell o-u-c-h. Double fault now, and Nadal has another break point - netted forehand from the underdog, and Rafa has snatched back the reins.

* Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-5 Nadal
Curious - Nadal is at the net at 30-15, the ball waiting to be punished, but he smacks it into the net - punishment of sorts, but not the one he thought. No matter - he's untroubled by the Dutchman for the remainder.

Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-4 Nadal *
You know I said that Haase looks like Michael Stich's face under Jamie Murray's hair circa 2007? I got it wrong - it's Ruud van Nistelrooy under David Hasselhoff's wig. The injury might be okay, but something of Haase's spirit seems to have seeped away - Nadal breaks him to 15, and we're looking at a fifth set decider. Who said eight hours? Go and stand in the corner.

* Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-3 Nadal
What's happened here? Haase bunts one high and long, and he's grimacing in pain. Was it his groin, as Nadal pulled him from side to side like a inquisitor with a man on the rack? Nadal holds without a flutter, and I think Haase will be okay.

Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-2 Nadal *
The standard of tennis we're watching now is right up there. Haase first, conjuring up a volleyed backhand lob that you could retire on. Now Nadal, lancing a backhand winner down the line - and now one down the forehand side. Two break points... The first saved as a Rafa return sails long. The second... Nadal's right in it, he's got a chance here... he's stuck it long! Deuce. Aghh, easy backhand long from Haase, and his serve is suddenly under pressure. First serve wise, second good - crunching return, Haase to gamble with a thrasher down the li - wide! Rafa's broken...

* Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 0-1 Nadal
10 minutes ago, I would have said there was no chance of Nadal losing this match. Now I'm not so sure. At the risk of sounding over-excited, this has been a quite thrilling tournament so far. Nadal holds in much better shape, but in the VIP slots Uncle/Coach Toni looks as chirpy as Marcelo Lippi.

Peter Fleming on BBC TV: "That was spectacular - absolutely spectacular, words really don't describe it. What do you think Haase is feeling right now? Let's take his heart rate right now - I guarantee it's not under 150. Let's not get ahead of ourselves though, there is still plenty of work to do."

THIRD SET

Haase 7-5 2-6 6-3 Nadal
You can't touch that serve - you just can't. Haase with a hold that was never in doubt, and if Nadal is going to win this, he's going to have to do what Roger Federer did on Monday and come from behind to win in five...

* Haase 7-5 2-6 5-3 Nadal
Rafa holds, an unremarkable event in an unremarkable match but a remarkable one in this delightful ding-dong.

Haase 7-5 2-6 5-2 Nadal *
This is quite wonderful. The game in four words? Ace. Ace. Ace. Ace. They're going ballistic in the seats all around me, and I'm on the point of lobbing away my BBC decorum and joining in.

* Haase 7-5 2-6 4-2 Nadal
Now then. Double fault from Nadal, and stray calls of cant from around the stands. Had to be very careful with the typing and quote-marks on that last sentence. 0-30, back to 15-30 on a Hawk-Eye over-rule. Dramarama. Classical serve-volley combo from Rafa for 30-30; pressure on Haase for a long-over-baseline 40-30. Crikey Moses - blistering double-fisted backhand return from Robin for an 89 mph clean winner. Oh, what a point that is - Rafa smashes deep and hard, and somehow Haase gets it back - lobbish, Rafa smashes again - pass! Break point, somehow - I don't believe that shot, a forehand cross-court that leaves Rafa as motionless as the Fred Perry statue just outside Centre Court. He's broken him!

Haase 7-5 2-6 3-2 Nadal *
Floaty backhand lob from Rafa - Haase decides to leave it as he's mid-air, halfway through a Sampras slam-dunk smash - good decision sir, the ball sailing a fraction long. 33 winners from Haase so far, 25 from Rafa. Perfect indicator of the super standard we're enjoying.

* Haase 7-5 2-6 2-2 Nadal
Nadal leans into his serve, bouncing the ball once, twice, three times (who is he, Noval Djokovic?) and cracks down a skidding flat beauty. Hold to love, and Haase has only won one point on the Nadal serve in this set so far. He's got time.

Haase 7-5 2-6 2-1 Nadal *
That's nice - Haase cracks a backhand down the line, Rafa somehow gets to it (delete the somehow - we've seen enough of him by now) only for the Dutchman to fox him completely with a dropper. I was going to say the sun might be in Haase's eyes as he throws the ball up, but his 18th and 19th aces rather make a mockery of that.

* Haase 7-5 2-6 1-1 Nadal
If you've not seen Haase before, there's a little of the Michael Stichs about him facially. Different hair though - more Jamie Murray. Or the Ben Stiller character in The Royal Tenenbaums. He tries to block back the Rafa serve, but you might as well catch it in your mouth like a performing seal - marmalising put-away.

Haase 7-5 2-6 1-0 Nadal *
Rafa returns from a courtesy break, and Haase is having some work on his right ankle from the trainer. Get him to massage your ego while he's at it - you might need it later. Big ace for a hold, and Haase roars his approval. Pumped.

SECOND SET

Haase 7-5 2-6 Nadal
That forehand from Nadal is terrifying me, and I'm 30 feet away. Lord knows what it's doing to the Dutchman in its cross-hairs. Rapid hold, and Nadal back in control.

Haase 7-5 2-5 Nadal *
What an angle that is from Nadal, a flashing forehand that haases Passe - I'm sorry, passes Haase - like a furry missile. Big serve to the backhand - crashed back down the line, kicking up a puff of white as it bites the line. Pressure all over Haase... and it tells, a double fault handing out the double break.

* Haase 7-5 2-4 Nadal
Nadal moving through the gears out there, a diagonal shadow cast from the roof now edging into his side of the court. Haase's last victory over a top 10 player, by the way? Rotterdam 2008 - some bloke called Andy Murray.


Haase 7-5 2-3 Nadal *
Slam - ace number 16. How many unreturnables? I've not been keeping count, and for that I apologise. If you have been, stick another on the tally.

* Haase 7-5 1-3 Nadal
Haase decides to mix things up and charge Nadal on a deep but up-sitting approach - error, you'd have to conclude, as the ball sizzles past him in a yellow blur. Now he tries a drop-shot ("Throw everything at the wall and see what sticks," murmurs Peter Fleming on BBC TV) and gets lucky off a net cord, before staying cucumber cool at the net to pop away a rally-winning volley. 'Oopla - thrashed long, and Rafa maintains his set lead.

Haase 7-5 1-2 Nadal *
Ah, another ace cracked down. Apart from the angry aberration of the first game in this set, the Dutch serve has been unassailable. Big 'apart' though, isn't it?

* Haase 7-5 0-2 Nadal
First signs of shonkiness from the 6'3" man from The Hague (what does that make him - the The Haguian? Haguener? Old Hagueovian?) He shanks one into the net, and Rafa is cruising at 40-15 - hello, what a shot that is from Haase, jumping up to swivel-pull a double-fisted backhand away for a 94 mph winner. Oh yeah? says Nadal, and serves out the game with cold-eyed relish.

Haase 7-5 0-1 Nadal *
How does a champ respond to that? Oof - by suddenly raising his game by 50%. Crash - big return for 0-15. Bang - pass for 0-30. Can you see what's coming? Haase at the net, his volley alive - ah-ha, dreamy, dipping running forehand pass from Nadal. Break, and Nadal fist-pumps at Uncle Toni in the VIP slots as if he'd broken Fed in the final.

FIRST SET

Haase 7-5 Nadal
Kabammaroo - Nadal goes up on his toes to throw his bodyweight behind a sweet backhand winner. Kabammaroo pt II - Haase smashes a return back with equal power. Is that double fault from Rafa? Yes indeedy - 30-30, and interesting. First serve net, second serve weak - mistimed swipe from Nadal, and Haase has a shock set point. Bang - big return back to Rafa's toes, hurried flapping reply - the ball looping up, Haase sprinting to the line... volley clattered away, and he's stolen the set!

Haase 6-5 Nadal *
Sudden upping of tempo from Nadal, cracking a brutal backhand cross court and coming in behind it. Ace again from Haase, and he's ticking along at 88% on his first serve, with the average pace around 127mph. Another ace - 13 now. Spicy.

* Haase 5-5 Nadal
This is the first meeting between these two men, and they both came through the first round in straight sets - Haase, rather impressively, against James Blake. Ace no. two from Rafa... make that three. Tie-break o'clock at this rate.

Haase 5-4 Nadal *
Mmm - splendid backhand volley on the run from the curly-topped Haase, and his serve is a thing of wonder - ace number 11, in only his fifth game, and he can now ask Rafa to serve to stay in the set. Heaps of aggression from both players.

* Haase 4-4 Nadal
Good depth from Nadal, and neither man has got even a fingernail in the other's serve. Muchos rapido.

Haase 4-3 Nadal *
Huge kicking beast of a serve out past Rafa's backhand. Down the middle this time, and Rafa has a chance on his second shot - nope, sizzled just into the tramlines. Not mucking about, these two.

* Haase 3-3 Nadal
The Rafa serve is an altogether more rapid affair - nothing wrong with it, quite obviously, but it's a different beast - lower ball-toss, slappier delivery. Deep to the backhand, high floated return, battered away on the in-rushing volley.

Haase 3-2 Nadal *
Let's have a look at the Haase serve - lovely high ball toss, picture-perfect point from the left hand and a crashing contact with the blurring racquet-head. Ace... ace... ace. All makes sense to me.

* Haase 2-2 Nadal
Haase forced wide to the backhand side, and we might see more of that - his forehand is a weapon, but the backhand is yet to fire on all cylinders.

Haase 2-1 Nadal *
Hum and buzz as news of John Isner's victory over on Court 18 spreads. 70-68 in the final set. I know. Another straightforward hold from the Dutchman, and he's dealing well with his first experience of the old arena.

* Haase 1-1 Nadal
Big kicker from the Majorcan marvel, and a blistering sequence of backhands draw him level.


Haase 1-0 Nadal *
Nerve-settling hold from the rank outsider, and he gets a decent reception from the three-quarter full crowd.

* denotes next server

1648:You'd like some Haase details - of course you would. 23 years old, ranked 151 in the world, yet to win his first title on tour. This is just the second time in the seven majors he's contested that he's got past the first round.

1643: Here come the players - big cheer for Rafa, pristine in white bandanna, tight-fitting white shirt and baggy shorts.

1639: Right - just dashed back from Court 18, where it's now 68 games apiece. I ask you just one thing, Rafa and Robin: please finish this one before the 10-hour mark.



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Wimbledon day two as it happened
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