Saturday, 13 May 2017

Rafa v Novak for 50th time

It will be clash number 50 between Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the Madrid semi finals.
Djokovic leads the rivalry 26-23 and has won the past 6 meetings, 10 of the last 11.

This time, however, Nadal is in prime position to reverse the trend.  He has won Monte Carlo and Barcelona and his quarter final victory over In form David Goffin was decisive after a tight first set.

Djokovic, by contrast, has struggled to gain any dominance in his title defence.  He had to come back from a break down in the third set in the opening match against Almagro, and the win over Lopez came with Spanish errors rather than Serbian magic.

The much anticipated quarter final with Nishikori failed to eventuate due to a wrist injury suffered by the fifth seed and so we see the result. 
Novak may be underdone but he does have the ability, more than anyone, to win big matches without much preparation, so Rafa will be prepared for a good fight.

The second semi final will be fought between eighth seed Dominic Thiem and unseeded Pablo Cuevas.  Thiem ended Borna Coric's run in two quick sets while Cuevas recovered from losing set one to Sascha Zverev, winning the final two sets.

The women's final will be contested between defending champion Simona Halep and French 14th seed Kristina Mladenovic.
Halep had little difficulty in sending Anastasija Sevastova home in straight sets and Mladenovic also won in straight but not as easily, her win over Sveta Kuznetsova 6-4 7-6 (4).

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