As if Diego’s mountain wasn’t big enough to climb when facing Nadal on the Chatrier in the first place. The first set and a half on Wednesday were all the Argentinian and he was good value for his set and a break lead, playing lights out tennis. Nadal was out of sorts and then the rain came. It was massive, Rafa must have been absolutely buzzing! There was that feeling that Schwartzman would win the second set such was the balance of play. Don’t get it twisted, I am not saying Nadal wouldn’t have then gone on and won the next three sets. We will never know that and there would still be a fair chance he would turn it around in all honesty. That comment is irrespective of whether it is coming back from two sets down against Diego Schwartzman, Novak Djokovic, Sascha Zverev and insert name of choice. Such is Nadal’s aura and supremacy on clay but especially over in Paris. That is the legacy he has built. Incredible.
On the resumption he showed this, he was a different player when returning. 2/3* down to *5/3 (30-15) up before play was called for the day last night. He came out today where he left off and got it done 4/6 6/3 6/2 6/2. The errors were a thing of the past and Diego wasn’t quite at the same level. El Peque can be very proud of this effort once again though. He genuinely had Rafa “stressed” as the Spaniard put it.
Rafa will play Juan Martin Del Potro in the semis. There were some bizarre momentum shifts in his last 8 match with Marin Cilic. Delpo is a top-notch five-set player though as he has proved throughout his career. Cilic is prone to lapses and this was once again the case. I am always happy for Delpo to progress in events though and this is no different. You always know that he will go out against Rafa and give it a go and do everything to make a match of it. Always a decent match to watch when they play.
I was obviously surprised that Simona Halep has beaten Muguruza as comfortably as she did. I suppose when Muguruza gets beat, she can often have a bit of a stinker and get beat pretty comfortably. She didn’t really get going as Halep swept her aside in the opener 6/1. I need to give the Romanian more credit for looking to be aggressive, I haven’t really and it proved to my cost today. Very disappointing from Muguruza though. As soon as she was properly extended this week, she folded, not for the first time.
For Halep it is another chance to win her first slam, let us see how she performs on Saturday. She played well against Caro in Oz. The odds are about 4/9 (69%) Halep, so she is fancied. I would never rule out her opponent though.
That would be because it is Sloane Stephens, who took out her close pal (once again) Madison Keys. This time 6/4 6/4. She just seems to have a bit too much for Keys when they play. I love the backhand down the line she hits, it can cause some proper damage. Camila Giorgi is the only player who has tested her going into the final and that was, as we have discussed before, in a big way. It was a wake-up call and she has been awesome since. Impressing with each performance and being class on serve. It would really be something to be the current US and French Open Champion. The Career Slam has been talked about and it is not hard to see why.
Andy Del Potro