The children are gone, the grown ups are out, dressed up for the night’s event.Â But it’s not Rafael Nadal nor Juan Martin Del Potro that will be entertaining them. Taking their place are Andy Murray and Thomaz Bellucci instead.
Earlier in the day at Nadal’s practice, Tournament Director Ion Tiriac came out for a visit. Did he come out personally to tell Nadal that Del Potro has pulled out? For after Tiriac left, a fan asked Nadalâ€™s Uncle Toni if Rafa would be playing tonight and he answered no. At least that was the translation the person beside me provided me.
After many fans bought tickets for tonight’s session, you can imagine the disappointment. The atmosphere for that match, in Spain, would have been amazing. I was anticipating a Davis Cup-like atmosphere. But an injury is an injury, and if a player can’t play, he can’t play.
So back to the replacement match, it featured the some of the longest rallies seen during Thursdayâ€™s match play, what you typically expect from clay court tennis.
Murray’s counter-punching style lends itself to those long rallies. But even his amazing defense wasn’t enough to win him the match. Bellucci, the clear aggressor won comfortably in the end 6-4, 6-2.
If the first night match featured the most long rallies, the second one between David Ferrer and Sergiy Stakhovsky had employed the most dropshots, another feature of clay court tennis. It is an amazing shot when it works, but can also make you loom stupid when it doesn’t even cross the net which Stakhovsky alternately pulled off against Ferrer. In the end, like Murray earlier, Stakhovsky’s dropshots didn’t help him win his match. Game, set and match David Ferrer â€“ 6-3, 7-6.