Australian Open: Nadal number 1 is in the hands of Djokovic



After the defeat of the Spanish against Thiem, 'Nole' will recover the world number 1 if it is done with the title. I would leave Nadal at 2,325 points

Nadal congratulates Thiem after the game.

It matters little that it was a quarter-final; Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal They starred in the best episode of a rivalry that already reaches 14 games. The Austrian won, who has always used to compete very well against Nadal. In fact, he had surpassed him four times, but none of the three in which they met before in a Grand Slam tournament, two of them in the last two finals of Roland Garros.

Still with a lot to go in this Australian Open, where Friday will be measured with Alexander Zverev In search of a place in the final, Thiem, 26, fifth seeded, endorsed that his tennis continues to grow, that his first 1000 Masters, last year in Cincinnati, subsequent victories in Vienna and Beijing and the final of the Masters Cup, all on fast surface, were part of the process that has made him a dangerous player beyond the clay.

Thiem beat Nadal 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4), 4-6 and 7-6, after four hours and 11 minutes of a comprehensive confrontation, which tested all the strengths needed to take forward a challenge of these characteristics. “I am proud of how I stayed in the game after the difficult situation when I served with 5-4 to win it in the fourth set,” he said later. It was then that the gigantic effigy of Nadal, the powerful vitola of its resilient and indesmayable attitude, accredited over more than three decades, clouded the horizon.

The Wiener Neustadt player had already digested the Spanish arreón, who, after being break up in both sets and even with a ball to take the first one, he leaned in both at the tiebreaker. Nadal reacted, taking the third, and could even take a new advantage in the room, having taken advantage of the three break balls that would have placed him with 2-0 and service. But it was the Austrian who again opened the gap until he was in the situation he himself evoked, settled with an ominous game, where he committed a double foul and sent a right far beyond the hall.

Accurate and aggressive

«He has been very fast and very fine at hand. He arrived in complicated positions and hits the ball very hard. I have lacked a bit of finesse and determination at some point, especially at the end of the first set, ”admitted Nadal, assumed the resolution. The outcome was delayed until a new tie break, where Thiem had to wait for his third match ball, having put it face to face with 6-4. Nadal sees the first opportunity to match the 20 Grand Slam titles of Roger Federer pass, which became creditor after winning its fourth US Open in September. He also exposes his world number 1, which will return to Novak Djokovic if the Serbian is able to win in Melbourne for the eighth time. He would leave Nadal at 2,325 points.

Little does Nadal have to reproach himself in a tournament where he has raised his level as difficulties were added. They were raised by Nick Kyrgios in the second round, but Thiem went much further, whose aggressiveness the 65 winning shots, by Nadal 49, fruit of an attitude thrown and accurate, which added stability of mind and great tactical criteria, regardless of those understandable doubts in a company of such magnitude. Already in his only previous dispute against the Manacorense out of clay, in 2018, in the US Open quarters, he took him to the tiebreaker of the fifth set. This Wednesday he was ready to tear down a new barrier, although, as he himself pointed out, “to really break a barrier, one of the young players has to win a Grand Slam.” He has been nominated for it for a long time, although it has always been thought that it will explode in its natural habitat. Waiting to make the final jump on land, to attempt against the hitherto unquestionable hegemony of Nadal, a place among the four candidates was first won out of the clay. Alexander Zverev, debutant in the semifinals of a major, will try to discuss his unfavorable balance before him, with whom he has fallen in six of his eight disputes.

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