That was some performance from Dominic Thiem. When push came to shove he either blitzed Rafa off the court or he simpy beat Nadal at his own game. This was lights out stuff. It is not often you see Rafa so tetchy but that he was today and it was down to the quality of Thiem’s ball-striking. Rafa had break leads in sets one and two but was pegged back in both. Thiem will be annoyed he got broke serving to stay in the third set and at getting broke, pretty tamely when serving for it in the fourth. His level in the breakers today was so high though and it was no real surprise when he claimed the fourth and the match. Chances are he still won’t win this but this is another step forward. The signs were good at the end of last season and he looks like he has kicked-on.
The same can be said about Sascha Zverev. He did drop his first set of the fortnight today against Stan Wawrinka but hit back after losing the first to win in four. Stan was done here by the end after another top serving performance from Sascha. He could have panicked today but fair play to the German, he didn’t. I haven’t always given him too much credit but there is no doubt how good this dude is, a victim of his own success you could say. Zverev deserves his shot at the final, he has been superb, there haven’t even been the usual lapses in concentration. In the zone!
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had chances today against Garbine Muguruza but just couldn’t keep ahead in the scoreline. Whenever the Russian played a decent game to break, she would fail to consolidate. Incredibly frustrating, especially as there were a few double faults creeping in at key moments. You could say Muguruza’s focus is up there with Zverev. She won all the big points of note against Pavy today. The favourable head- to-head certainly came into play as some of Pavlyuchenkova’s frailties reared their bonce. This is literally where the match was won and lost.
The Spaniard will face Simon Halep in the last four, the Romanian really is cruising at the moment, though this will be a much bigger test. Anett Kontaveit was beaten 6/1 6/1 today in just under an hour and was never really in it, so high and consistent was Halep’s level. She has put her performances down to having a strict off-season away from home. She trails Muguruza 3-2 in head-to-heads and though the Spaniard is playing well, Halep is the favourite here, not by much at 8/13 but by clear daylight.
Andy Del Potro