June 15 | 06

On a good day for Spanish sport, Rafa and the national football team both had successful starts to their respective competitions. While Spain beat Ukraine 4-0 in their World Cup opener, Rafa brushed aside Mardy Fish in straight sets at the Stella Artois Championships at Queens Club. After last year's disappointment on grass, Rafa was determined to put in a better show in 2006 and he began his display with a very impressive performance over American, Mardy Fish.

Despite only arriving in London from Paris on Monday, Rafa showed how quickly he had adapted from the clay courts to grass and played some very skillful grasscourt tennis in his second round match on Wednesday. The Majorcan was not intimidated by Fish's net charging and even made his own way to the net on occasion. The 20 year old played an excellent tie break in the first set after there were no breaks to separate the players. Soli serving from Rafa helped put him up 6-1 in the tie break and as Fish put a forehand long Rafa claimed the first set.

Rafa went up an early break in the second set as Fish's serving cost him.Two double faults in a row from the American aided Rafa to take a 2-0 lead. Some great serving from Rafa, including a game where he served three aces to hold to lovee saw Rafa go up 4-1. He then broke the American again as Fish netted and he served out the match with just a slight wobble, saving a break point before winning it on his first match point as Fish couldn't return another powerful serve.

After the match Rafa was clearly pleased with the way things had gone: "It's a "very good day for Spain. I play a very good match and the first victory (on grass) is very important." He added that he is feeling "confident for wimbledon" and that ""I like a lot grass".
Next up for Rafa is his compatriot, Fernando Verdasco who qualified into the Queens Club event. Rafa leads their head to head record 3-0 and said ahead of the match: "it will be difficult. He has five victories on grass now. I'm going to play my best. Try to win this match".

Rafa is also still in the doubles event, he and Lopez will play later on today against Delgado/Auckland. Go Rafa!

Written by: Kate Flory