It was always going to take a special performance to beat Nadal at Roland Garros again and tonight we got one. Rafa left everything out there as you would expect. To say the standard from both sides of the net was high would be an understatement. The fight, grit and determination that was on offer were at a level and intensity that frightens you just thinking about it. Djokovic was immense, for me it felt similar to how he plays him on a hard court and whether you love him or loathe him it is impossible to discredit him when he is in this form. What was Nadal supposed to do tonight to win that? Just writing those words seems wrong but it was true. I underestimated Nole coming into this but you could see towards the end of the first set we had a real match on our hands. It made for some mesmerising tennis. The truth is when I am being honest I have so much admiration for what these two have achieved on a tennis court. It’s astounding, it really is and they have left me stunned once again. I can’t quite believe Rafa has been beaten and that might be why I am party stunned but the quality we have witnessed again also attributes to that. Bravo gents. Also, well done to the authorities for letting the fans stay on by lifting the curfew. The players deserved that atmosphere.
The job isn’t done yet for Djokovic though, it would be wrong to assume otherwise. The final against Stefanos will be a totally different matchup and there will be pressure as he goes in as the favourite and with all the talk of history. Will that be enough for Tsitsipas? Probably not but these factors can play roles. Tsitsipas would also have his own pressures to deal with in his first final and should he see any sign of the finish line.
The final set against Alexander Zverev could have got away from him early on serving at 0/40 but he showed real belief in getting himself out of that and going after his shots. The first two sets had seen Stefanos in total control as he was playing well but Zverev was slow out of the blocks. The next two sets saw a vast improvement from Sascha and taking control more with his forehand but he had given himself too much to do. It’s one thing against Oscar Otte but Tsitsipas in this form was a big ask. The belief is in Stefanos game and we are about to see where he is really at now.
Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).