With the echoes of his victory against Novak Djokovic still resounding at Roland Garros, Rafa Nadal faces Alexander Zverev this Friday (14:45, Eurosport), on the day of his 36th birthday, in the semifinals (15th for him in Paris)., 25-year-old German and three in the ranking who put aside his arrogance to dispatch a great game and eliminate Alcaraz on Tuesday in the quarterfinals. The Spaniard dominates the face-to-face 6-3, 4-1 on clay and has no precedent in the tournament. They met once at a Grand Slam, the 2017 Australian Open, and Nadal won in five sets.
Rafa is the favourite, but in order to make good predictions he will have to put into practice the plan that worked for him against the world number one. “When you have no choice but to play with that intensity and that level of aggressiveness and mentality in all aspects of the game, there is no plan B, either you get level A or you go home., although the execution is difficult. Knowing this produces an internal self-demand that makes it easier for you to remove it, although it is difficult when it comes from months without doing it, “said the Manacorí when asked if he had been surprised by the performance he showed against Djokovic.
Most Grand Slam semi-finals
|1.||Roger Federer (Sui)||46|
|2.||Novak Djokovic (Ser)||42|
More Roland Garros semi-finals
|2.||Novak Djokovic (Ser)||11|
|3.||Roger Federer (Sui)||8|
Most wins at Roland Garros
|2.||Novak Djokovic Ser)||85|
|3.||Roger Federer (Sui)||73|
Carlos Moyá, his coach, explains in general terms the game scheme that Nadal uses since the Majorcan tennis player was in charge of his preparation: “What we have been doing all these years is trying to make the points shorter, run less, dominate more. In games like the other day you can’t always follow that line, but at times when it’s necessary, he has it “.
Faced with this new challenge, Rafa looks “good, very happy to be in the semifinals.” “I know it was a good victory and that I gave a good level of tennis in the quarterfinals, but now there is another big challenge ahead. Zverev is playing great, he had a great tour on clay and he beat Alcaraz because he did a lot things well, so I have to play 100% again,” he said on Thursday in statements to the Roland Garros website. On Wednesday he reassured fans by saying on TVE that he will try to return to the French major next year. “I accept things as they come. In no way do I intend this to look like a goodbye. We are going to work to find a solution for the thing down there (the left foot). And I am confident that I will be able to return, although this last year things have been difficult. My dream is to continue,” she assured.
Oblivious to these tribulations, Zverev will try to achieve something that is pending in his career, win a member of the Big Three in a Slam. He has already beaten Nadal, Djokovic and Federer in other tournaments, but… “I haven’t beaten them in majors, although I was very close. I had tough, tough matches against them. But there is a big difference between being even and beating them. It’s still a big difference. So I hope to be able to use the energy of this victory (against Alcaraz) on the court on Friday (for today).” The prize is big: the final on Sunday.