Nine-time French Open champion and fourth seed Rafael Nadal advanced to the semifinals courtesy of a 6-2, 2-0 retirement win over 20th seed and fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, retiring with a left abdominal injury.
14-time Grand Slam champion and presumptive favorite for a tenth Roland Garros title Rafael Nadal’s quest for La Decima marches on, as a left abdominal injury from 20th-seeded countrymen Pablo Carreno Busta gave the fourth seed a 6-2, 2-0 retirement win.
In the opening set, both players struggled on serve, with Nadal holding in the first game before both players exchanged breaks for 2-1. The nine-time champion continued to take advantage of Carreno Busta’s struggles on serve, breaking routinely before following that up with a love hold for a 4-1 lead. The fourth seed seized a third straight break of his countrymen’s serve, taking his first break point to claim the double break and go up 5-1.
Serving for the opening set, Nadal played a puzzling service game, getting broken to love, forcing Carreno Busta to serve to stay in the opening set. The 20th-seeded Spaniard was broken for the fourth straight time, giving up the set 6-2 as his abdominal injury made it very tough to serve.
Nadal began the second set with a comfortable hold of serve to 15, going up 1-0 early on. Having yet to hold a service game, the situation went from bad to worse for Carreno Busta as the 25-year-old surrendered yet another service game to go down 2-0. Carreno Busta attempted to play one more point on Nadal’s serve, but after a wayward overheard gave the 14-time major winner 15-0, the 20th seed Carreno Busta retired down 6-2, 2-0, giving Nadal a retirement into the semifinals, moving two wins from an unprecedented 10th French Open title.
Following the less than one hour match, Nadal was confident in his first five matches here in Paris, yet cautious to overplay his title chances too much. ” No, yes, obviously was not the perfect way and especially against a good friend, no? Sorry for him. He was playing great. He had a great event. Is tough when these kind of things happens, but he had a great event. Overall, I think he will be positive about what happened here, and that’s important I think for him, for now, but at the same time for the future, no,” said a very complimentary Nadal.
“He’s in a privileged position on the raise. He’s gonna fight for important things for this year and fight to finish season top 8, top 10. Gonna be a big, big improvement for him. No, Pablo felt something in the 5-2 with one serve wide. That’s what he told me. It’s impossible to analyze now how bad it is. But I hope it’s not very bad, because he stop quick enough.”
“I had that in 2009 US Open, and I played during the whole event with this. And I started with a strain, 7 millimeters on the abdominal, and I finished it with 27, 28. So was stupid for my part, but I played event, no? But I think is much better what he did, and that’s probably the best way to keep going without wait for a lot of weeks,” commented the nine-time French Open champion.
Having yet to drop and set through five matches at Roland Garros and looking in good form and well rested, Nadal described his title chances saying, ” Is always the same, no? If it’s too much, is too much. If it’s less, is less. I am in semifinals. That’s all. I am in semifinals and with a very positive feelings. I played well all the matches here. Until the 5-2, I think I was playing well, too, today. So positive feelings and playing well. The rest of the things, you never know. So it’s difficult to say. Better, worse? I want to be in that position. That’s all,” said an excited fourth-seeded Spaniard.
Awaiting Nadal in the semifinals is sixth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, who stunned world number two and defending champion Novak Djokovic 7-6, 6-3, 6-0 today in his quarterfinal match on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Nadal and Thiem, the two best clay court players this year, have met three times on the dirt this year, with the Spaniard winning in straight sets in finals in Barcelona and Madrid, before Thiem came roaring back to defeat Nadal in straight sets a few weeks ago in Rome, Nadal’s only loss on clay this year.
Asked about the proposition of facing 23-year-old Thiem, Nadal said, “Thiem is a tough player. I hope that I won’t lose. I won in Barcelona, Madrid, and I lost to him in Rome. We played three times with Dominic. We can have a look at the statistics. We can talk about statistics for hours, but what is important is to consider the match.”
“So either you play well and you advance to the next round or you lose and you’re out. If I play well, I hope that I will be able to book my spot in the final. If I don’t play well, I will be out of the tournament,” commented a candid world number four.
“If I play well, I will be able to reach the finals. So my tennis level will have to be good and intense. I will put pressure upon their shoulders immediately,” concluded Nadal.
Doubles Player Dream French Open Debut Ended By Instagram Message
Portugal’s Francisco Cabral said he found out he will not be playing in Paris through social media.
Playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam is the pinnacle of many players’ careers but one player missed out on that opportunity due to an unfortunate situation.
Portugal’s Francisco Cabral was set to play in the men’s doubles tournament for the first time at this week’s French Open. The world No.72 is currently at a career-high after winning his maiden Tour title in Estoril last month with compatriot Nuno Borges. In Paris, he entered into the draw alongside Denmark’s Holger Rune.
However, shortly before he was set to make his Grand Slam debut Rune pulled out at the last minute. Leaving Cabral unable to look for another partner in such a short time. Rune’s withdrawal from the doubles was based on medical advice after he hurt his ankle during his second round clash against Henri Laaksonen. The Dane tripped over the court cover at the back of the court but fortunately wasn’t seriously injured and managed to continue playing.
“Right now I feel a huge sadness because it’s a dream to play in a Grand Slam tournament. I’ve been here since Saturday training, waiting, watching games, experiencing a new world because it was my first Grand Slam and it’s another dimension and I was really, really looking forward to being able to play,” Cabral told Raquetc. “And having waited until 15 minutes before game time to know that I wasn’t going to play after all, it cost me a lot, but I did everything I could.”
Caral went on to criticize the behavior of Rune who informed him that he would not be playing in the doubles event via a message sent on Instagram. It is unclear why the two never spoke face-to-face.
“He only told me that he had sprained his foot, that he was at the doctor’s, and that he had told him not to play the doubles. I’m sad about his attitude because he didn’t even say this to my face, he just sent me a message on Instagram. I don’t think it went well, but as I said, I couldn’t have done anything differently, so I’ll just wait for the next opportunity.” He said.
25-year-old Cabral is targeting Wimbledon as the event where he will play his first main draw match.
Meanwhile, Rune will continue his singles campaign at Roland Garros on Saturday when he plays Hugo Gaston in the third round. The former world No.1 junior has shot up the rankings this season to a high of 40th.
Cabral and Rune has been replaced in the draw by Sander Arends and Szymon Walków.
French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur
The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.
Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.
The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.
During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.
“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”
De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.
“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“
Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.
Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.
“Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”
As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.
Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal
The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.
By Kingsley Elliot Kaye
In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.
Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.
“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.
Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.
“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.
Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.
He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.
Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”
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