I imagine that, as often happens in these cases, since Rafael reached the semifinals he began to think about his duel against his rival, Diego Schwarztman. He did the usual and what any athlete does when he faces the last matches: start to analyze the characteristics of his opponent, think if the weapons he has are enough to beat him and what is the best way to use them.
Normally, the previous situations that have occurred, their direct confrontations and the route that both have carried out in the tournament they are playing are also kept in mind.
In this case, Rafael had, on the one hand, the all too recent defeat in Rome against the Argentine and, on the other, the latter’s brilliant victory in the quarterfinals over Dominic Thiem, a player with similar characteristics to Rafael’s. However, my nephew was able to read the situation correctly and face the encounter with the growing security that he has been finding again and with the superiority that he has usually shown at the Grand Slam in Paris.
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – October 6, 2020 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Rafael, in search of the crossed backhand
Paris (France), 02/10/2020.- Rafael Nadal of Spain serves during his third round match against StefanoTravaglia of Italy during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 02 October 2020. (Tenis, Abierto, Francia, Italia, España) EFE/EPA/IAN LANGSDON
Repetition is the route to success
All texts by TONI NADAL
A really played first game of more than 13 minutes seemed to presage a match as intense as Diego’s against Dominic but, if I have to be honest, and without thereby underestimating the Austrian at all, I did not think that would happen. His game has been compared many times with Rafael’s, but I think there are some sensible differences that allow my nephew to vary the game much more, and that has undoubtedly been what has given him the possibility of overcoming it with less difficulty. to the change of balls.
This is precisely what he did. Look for alternatives. He varied his strokes combining high balls, preventing the Argentine from giving speed to his shots to take advantage of the slightest opportunity that was presented to him to enter the court and look for the winner with his right hand. I think this fact, together with a much more incisive and angled backhand, was decisive in throwing the balance off balance.
Rafael scored the first two sets with two clear 6-3 and came to destabilize the firmness that the Argentine had shown in his previous matches. Tennis, especially on clay, often becomes a dispute that tests mental strength. When you lose faith in yourself, you usually lose order in your game too. And that’s how Diego accused, in the middle of the second set, the weight of feeling in the hands of the opponent.
It is true that in the third round we saw him resurface, as well as certain misgivings by Rafael that prevented a faster outcome that finally occurred in the tie break .
Rafael thus managed to access his thirteenth final at Roland Garros and fired a player who has made us enjoy tennis so brilliant that it must have filled his country, Argentina, a land of great athletes and unparalleled fans with pride. The version that we saw yesterday of my nephew confirms the hopes that I already alluded to a few days ago, although I cannot forget that Novak Djokovic is the most difficult rival one can face.