Obviously some interesting tennis today.
Credit, of course, to Nadal for insisting that a tour wake the hell up and play some legitimate Masters 1000 tennis.
The Shapovalov v Edmund that followed the Nadal v Thiem QF was quite entertaining. Following the Thiem upset of Rafa, even the casual observer sees that what we have here is a generation of big risk tennis comfortable with attacking from both sides and willing to take errors for the sake of finishing the point on any shot. The one-handers seem especially true to this observation. Thiem really dictated most of his match, as did Shapo in his win over the Brit.
The Canadian just turned 19.
Tough to say much more about this Nadal loss other than he’s had quite a nice stretch so far (not counting last year which is a bit more of a technicality than it is a streak if you ask me — like saying someone finished a season winning 10 games, took a break, and then started-up the next season and won 10 in-a-row and calling that 20 in a row. That’s not really the same as winning 20 in a row).
But, technically, he got his record.
For the sake of conversation, one of the commentators today, when asked, thought McEnroe’s streak on carpet was a bit more impressive. You play someone on carpet who has a big serve going that day and it’s lights out. The carpet is much quicker, the margins smaller. You can see, conversely, the difficulty one has in beating Nadal on clay. The conditions were perfect today — quicker surface against a guy who has beaten Nadal and was due to raise his level, playing some inspired tennis. Nadal was in a sense due for a slight hiccup.
Madrid is at elevation, so the court and ball are quicker, the air thinner, etc. And Thiem is that type of player that can handle some of Nadal’s power and employ his own.
I have been beating-up Thiem as of late, but suspected a higher level following the escape death match v Coric. Given new life, players or teams can reinvent themselves. His level today was inspiring. The CC BH was absurd along with his favorite inside-out FH. But I liked the way he returned serve, getting just enough, almost blocking balls deep, keeping Nadal on his heels throughout the point. Thiem’s power and execution were pretty impressive today.
I took several notes during the match. Perhaps the serve and volley to get to his second SP in the first that he followed with an ace we’ll savor here for the time being. There were more than a few incredible points, both players providing a nice little clay clinic.
Zverev came across as expected so his SF v Shapovalov should be a good one. Hopefully Thiem can consolidate his great win today to reach this final. We ought to have ourselves a nice first-time Madrid winner though I (speaking for most of us perhaps) hope this involves a NextGen bloke; nothing against Kevin, but Thiem v Sascha or Shapo sounds pretty good to me.
Talk to you on the other side.