I’m not gonna lie, I actually went to the Surbiton Challenger/ITF today, so I didn’t get to see the action live! A blog will appear next week about my antics in Surrey! However, I do have my opinions on what has gone before us in Paris today. As you well know, I am not immensely surprised that ‘The Dominator’ has beaten Nole this morning, how comfortably he has beaten him, I am! I’m made up for Thiem as he deserves to be winning these kind of matches and by all accounts, it was a rout by the end. This is a huge win on his way to bigger and better things! Nole didn’t look all that interested after dropping the opener on a tie-break. Getting bagelled in the 3rd is something I just would not have expected. Dare I say that sounds like an Agassi type tactic! Thiem played well and rightly will get acclaim for the nature of this win, but I’m starting to think Nole should maybe take some time off as he mentioned in his interview. The Austrian will face Rafa Nadal in the semi, Nadal was a set and a break up before Carreno Busta pulled out with an abdominal injury. The big news is that Rafa’s tournament certainly gets going against Thiem as the two best clay courters of the season go head to head. Muzza had a few waves and momentum shifts in his match against Nishikori, once again finishing with a bit of a flurry. Not flawless by his own standards but as he said he would have “signed” the papers pre-event had a semi-final berth been offered up. A couple of (standard) hustle points from Murray were out of this world. Nishikori also mentioned he might need a bit of time off, in order to get ready for SW19! Muzza will face Stan in the other semi. The reports suggest Cilic was poor today, maybe the 2-11 record against his opponent didn’t help. The Croat has been on fire of late but so has Stan, still yet to drop a set. It has been a hugely impressive run with minimal fuss and one that Nadal would be proud of himself! He goes in as a slight favourite against Muzza, who will be hoping to get a similar result to last year when they met, his only win on clay against Stan the Man!
Halep has definitely got away with one and how big could this be? There are still question marks after today, she is however the stand-out performer in this draw. The Romanian was a set and 1/5 down today and also saved a match point in the second set breaker. Svitolina admitted to nerves but says she doesn’t want to dwell on as it’s been a great 10 days. I thought it was too soon for her and its looks about right. Halep ran away with the decider 6/0 and thinks that it showed she has improved mentally. Well, that is going to need to be the case for two more matches and that might be more conclusive then! She will face Karolina Pliskova in the second ladies semi-final. Pliskova posted her best performance of RG17 in taking out Caroline Garcia. Pliskova winning the battle of power and consistency. It should be a good matchup on paper for the Czech, I just thought there had been enough on show to think Garcia could out hit her in this one. Quite simply I was wrong. She will have to serve exceptionally well against the Romanian you feel, in the hope of rattling her and getting under her skin, frustrating her even! On this surface, Halep should have too much for her opponent but as we know it doesn’t always work like that!
Andy Del Potro