James Spencer and Tony Fairbairn: French Open Men’s semi-final predictions: Nadal vs Zverev, Rudd vs Čilić - UBITENNIS
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James Spencer and Tony Fairbairn: French Open Men’s semi-final predictions: Nadal vs Zverev, Rudd vs Čilić

Rafael Nadal’s search for a 14th Roland Garros title goes through the semi-finals.

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As with the women’s, we’re down to the final four.

21-time Grand Slam champion Rafa Nadal shocked Novak Djokovic on Tuesday night to continue his pursuit of an unprecedented 14th French Open title.

And potentially a record extending 22nd Grand Slam title.

With injuries hampering his preparation going into the tournament, his levels of play have been other worldly.

But standing in his way is no other than the often-controversial Alexander Zverev.

The German has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons of late, including controversy in his private life, an angry outburst with an umpire and beef with ATP tournament organisers over scheduling.

But on the court, he upset the tournament favourite Carlos Alcaraz in four sets.

So, it promises to be a tough match for the Spaniard.

Meanwhile, Denmark’s Casper Rudd has made his first ever Grand Slam semi-final, and continues to make waves on the tour.

But 33-year-old Marin Čilić is playing like the Čilić of old that saw him reach the heavy highs of world number three.

The former US Open champion has now made it to the semi-finals of all four Grand Slams.

This makes him only the fifth active player to do so after Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

An unbelievable feat.

But turning our attentions back to the semi-finals,our writers James Spencer and Tony Fairbairn have cast their predictions.

Rafa Nadal (5) vs Alexander Zverev (3)

Tony Fairbairn:

“Zverev will be confident having beaten Alcaraz in the last round.

But this match against Nadal does not suit him at all and the Spaniard’s vicious spin and power should prove too much for the German to handle.”

Prediction: “Nadal in four sets.”

James Spencer:

“Nadal was mightily impressive the other night to down Djokovic in some style.

His shots were on another level.

Everything was hitting the lines and going in.

If he plays like that against Zverev, he will blow him off the court too.

The main worry is the toe injury.

After all, the Spaniard has conceded it could be his last French Open.

Like Federer, he is ever philosophical and although he might firmly believe it, surely, he loves the crowd and lives for these big occasions.

It pumps him up and he thrives on it.

Zverev will no doubt have something to say about the destiny of this year’s championships but can he stop Nadal’s date with history?

I don’t think so.”

Prediction: “Nadal in four sets.”

Casper Rudd (8) vs Marin Čilić (20)

Tony Fairbairn:

“The Norwegian knows when to play his best tennis and has come through some tough tests.

However, Čilić is playing inspired tennis in Paris so far and this match is on the Croatian’s racket.

It will be an entertaining match that Čilić will just about edge.”

Prediction: “Čilić in five sets.”

James Spencer:

“I’m still in shock to see Čilić back in a Grand Slam semi-final, when it appeared his best days were behind him.

He has gone from strength to strength this tournament.

I’ve been really impressed with him and it looks like he’s really enjoying his tennis and being out there on the court again.

And good for him.

Rudd is obviously the younger opponent at 23, but will the occasion startle him?

That’s the advantage Čilić has, having been in three Grand Slam finals, he’s used to the big occasions.

And for that reason, I think it will push him over the line”

Prediction: “Čilić in 4 tight sets.”

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Simona Halep Provides Injury Update On Knee Ahead Of US Open

The return of Simona Halep looks a long way away from happening as a knee injury continues to bother the Romanian.

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Simona Halep has provided an update on her knee injury as she faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open.

The former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion’s comeback has not gone according to plan so far as she returned from a doping ban in Miami earlier this year.

However playing time has been limited for the Romanian as her second tournament of the year ended in a first round retirement at a Challenger event in Paris.

As a result of her retirement Halep was forced to miss Roland Garros and Wimbledon as she looked to recover from a knee injury.

The injury is more serious than meets the eye though as Halep provided an update on her knee injury and revealed it’s an injury that has been occurring for the last few months, “I wanted to provide a little health update since I have been away from the court lately. It is not the best news, but I wanted to share all the same,” Halep revealed on Instagram.

“For a few months now, I have been struggling with a knee injury. It’s an injury I have never had before and it has been a tough one to manage, with the pain persisting. It has been a very difficult period (almost two years) mentally and emotionally for me and struggling physically on top of that definitely doesn’t help.

“I have decided to take the time needed to recover properly, rather than training and playing through pain. My instinct has always been to try to come back as soon as possible, but I am not a machine, I am a human being and I need time to recover from everything I have gone through.

“I’ll keep you posted and, as always, want to thank you for your permanent support. I hope to be back on court very soon.”

Halep now faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open which starts on the 26th of August.

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Alexander Zverev Commits To Olympics, Speaks About Miscommunication Between Olympics And ATP

Alexander Zverev is preparing for his Olympic title defence.

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Alexander Zverev has spoken out on the miscommunication between the Olympics and the ATP tour with tennis’ top stars set to miss some big events on the tour.

The German is getting ready to defend his Olympic title that he won in Tokyo as Zverev heads to Paris.

After narrowly missing out on Roland Garros glory, Zverev now has an opportunity at redemption as he aims for a second consecutive gold medal at the Olympics.

However there is a dilemma for big players this year as the same week as the tennis event at the Olympics at the ATP 500 event in Washington.

This is an event that Zverev usually plays but will have to miss it due to playing in Paris.

Speaking out on the miscommunication, Zverev said it’s no secret that the ATP are not best friends on the Olympics but has committed to the historic event, “The ITF or the Olympics are not best friends with the ATP, that’s not a secret,” Zverev was quoted by Tennis Infinity as saying.

Everybody continues their own tour. Yes, the Olympics is one of the, if not the, most important events we have in sports. So, the best players in the world are always going to play the Olympics over anything else, over points and over prize money.

All the top players went to Wimbledon a few years back, despite having no points on the line. It’s about prestige, it’s not about points or money. It’s about winning these kinds of titles and having medals for your country.

That’s what it’s about. I would never choose to play a 500 event over the Olympics. There are no thoughts on that, and I think Washington is going to be quite an interesting 500 event, I would say.

The ATP 500 event in Washington will be headlined by Grigor Dimitrov, Ben Shelton, Karen Khachanov and Frances Tiafoe as they are among those that have chosen ranking points over the Olympic experience.

As for Zverev he is continuing his Olympic preparations in Hamburg where he will face Pedro Martinez in the semi-finals.

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Rafael Nadal Reveals Delight At Setting Up Ajdukovic Semi-Final After Four Hour Victory

Rafael Nadal has revealed his delight at reaching the Bastad semi-finals after a four hour victory over Mariano Navone.

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Rafael Nadal has revealed his delight at reaching the semi-finals in Bastad after a four hour victory over Mariano Navone.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion prevailed in a marathon 6-7(2) 7-5 7-5 victory to reach his first semi-final since Wimbledon 2022.

The Spaniard converted ten of his 21 break point opportunities as he reached the semi-finals.

After the match Nadal revealed his delight at reaching the last four and prevailed Navone for his resilient display, “I lost for some moments my concentration, but I was able to hold physically until the end,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“That is so important for me. Let’s see how I am tomorrow, but today I am alive and in the semi-finals, so that’s very important. There were a lot of changing dynamics in every single set. For moments, he was in control. For moments, I was in control. But at the end, no one was in control! That’s true, and I had a good chance in the second with 3-0. Then I was very close to losing the match in the second set.

“In the third [I was ahead] again with 5-2, but he’s a great fighter and he played a great match. I wish him all the very best for the rest of the season.”

Nadal will now play Duje Ajdukovic in the semi-finals as he aims to continue his eight match winning streak in Bastad with this being his first appearance at the tournament since winning the title in 2005.

The other semi-final will be Nuno Borges against Thiago Agustin Tirante with both players reaching their maiden ATP tour semi-final.

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