The way Rafael Nadal is tearing through yet another French Open, with Nicolas Almagro posing as his latest victim on the clay courts of Paris, he shouldn’t really care about who he faces next in the Semi Final and the Final. The title seems to be as good as his.
Nadal did struggle a bit with Almagro’s shot making in the first set, needing a tie break to win. Then came the usual grind, with the six time champion winning 6-2, 6-3. Almagro, and anyone for that matter, except for Novak Djokovic, don’t have anything to expose a Nadal weakness simply because there aren’t any on clay.
So who do you win? Sounds simple – Play perfect tennis. Because Nadal reaches every ball and just keeps on fighting and defending and returning. Eventually, it wears everyone down. He has yet to drop a set in 2012, just like he did during his very dominant tournament in 2010. In 2011 he dropped two sets in the stunning five set match against John Isner in the opening round, and one set against Roger Federer in the final.
Think about it – Three years, 19 matches, three sets dropped. As long as he’s healthy, it look simply improbable anyone beats him here. Going back other clay tournaments this year – Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome – Nadal was perfect. Against Djokovic as well. Don’t compute the Madrid Masters into the calculations. It was an error; A tournament that probably had nothing to do with regular clay. No wonder it was Fernando Verdasco who ousted Rafa.
Now it’s either David Ferrer, who Nadal has beaten 15 out of their 19 matches, including their most recent encounter in Rome, or Andy Murray. Murray can actually give Nadal quite a lot of trouble on Hard surfaces, but it’s seems improbable he’ll beat him on Clay. It seems improbably he’ll get by Ferrer, with the match waiting to resume tomorrow. Ferrer has a 2-1 leads in the set and is up 4-1 in the fourth.
Nadal doesn’t underestimate anyone. That’s one of the biggest aspects to his game and success. But it’s hard for him not to feel confident going into the Semi Final, already thinking about meeting Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer on the final day, hoping that there’s no rain to interfere with setting a new record for French Open titles, breaking away from Bjorn Borg.
Both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic needed five setters to get by their quarter final opponents. Federer was down 0-2 but Juan Martin Del Potro lost his knees and was too tired to fight the striding Federer, losing 3-2, winning only 5 games in the final three sets.
Novak Djokovic saved four match points from Tsonga, which completely broke the Frenchman who doesn’t usually excel on clay courts. If there’s one man you know won’t break down, it’s Djokovic, who in his latest incarnation (2011 – ? ) just doesn’t believe in losing or giving up. Just ask Roger Federer, who actually beat Djokovic in the Roland Garros Semi Final one year ago.
Whoever wins that Semi, the more interesting of the two we’ll have this weekend, it’s doesn’t really matter. From what we’ve seen in the tournament, there’s a very small chance anyone can stop Nadal from lifting the trophy in front of the Parisian crowd.