The French Open Semi Finals Preview
The French Open semi-finals bring us a match up between two of the most established stars in tennis as well as a match between future stars of the sport.
Nadal vs Del Potro
Along with Thiem vs Zverev, this match is the most enticing of the tournament so far. Both players are stars of the sport, and both have had fantastic seasons so far. Nadal’s clay court successes this year have been well documented, while Del Potro won in Indian Wells, beating Roger Federer in the match of the year so far.
However, at this stage of the tournament, all that matters is how the players are currently playing. While Nadal goes into this match, like any at Roland Garros, as favourite, he did have a scare in the previous round against Diego Scwartsman. Nadal was lucky to have the weather on his side after going a set and a break down eventually coming out the next day for a rapid win. However, what is more worrying for Nadal fans than losing a set is the way that Nadal did seem to lose his head somewhat and did play some panicked tennis. Against Del Potro, Rafa will surely come into some difficult situations, will he play panicked tennis again?
Meanwhile, Del Potro has been in stunning form since his first round, comfortably beating John Isner in the last 16, and producing excellent and confident tennis to beat Marin Cilic in the quarter finals. When Del Potro gets into this kind of form, he can beat anybody on tour.
But can he beat Nadal? History would suggest that he has a chance. Nadal does own a 9-5 record, and in their last match, at the 2017 US Open, Del Potro took the first set, before Nadal gave a tactical masterclass to completely change things up, while Del Potro seemed to break physically. However, the big Argentine has beaten Nadal in some pressure situations, such as the US open in 2009 and more recently at the Olympics. This knowledge should help Del Potro.
However, the Spaniard should have enough to take this win. On clay Nadal is 2-0, and on the slower surface Nadal is able to make more of the Delpo bullets and keep the Argentine playing. This should have the double benefit or tiring out the Argentine and making him go for even more, leading to increased unforced errors. This should be the difference in this match.
Prediction- Nadal wins In 4 sets.
Thiem vs Cecchinato
While many would have predicted Thiem to be at this stage of the tournament, no one would have thought young Italian Marco Cecchinato would make it this far. The Italian has had a dream tournament, beating the likes of Goffin and Djokovic to get here. You would have thought, like the last few rounds, Cecchinato will play pressure free tennis, and challenge his opponent with explosive winners.
Unfortunately for Cecchinato, his opponent happens to be Dominic Thiem, the second-best clay court player in the world, who is coming off a highly satisfying straight sets win over rival young gun Alexander Zverev. Thiem has also been to this stage of the tournament twice before, this experience will help him to perform at this level. And while Thiem will have the pressure of being the favourite in this match, he would prefer that to playing Nadal or Djokovic, which has happened the last two times he reached this stage.
Prediction- Thiem wins in 4 sets.