Rafael Nadal’s back is so bad that he managed to lose just one single sloppy game tonight in a 6-1, 6-0 destruction over Joao Sousa in the Rio quarterfinals.
Last night, Nadal complained that this back injury he sustained in the Australian Open final was still a “bothering” him. Well, imagine how good he’ll be once the back is 100%? Sheesh.
Nadal now plays Pablo Andujar in the semis while second seed David Ferrer faces Alexandr Dolgopolov. The Ukrainian whose country is currently under siege took care of the red hot Fabio Fognini by a ridiculous 6-1, 6-1 margin.
“I played really well and aggressive,” Dolgopolov said. “I didn’t give him many chances to control the game. I looked for winners and landed 90% of my balls, so things became more difficult for him. It was a really good day for me, the game went my way today.”
So is it carnival in Brazil? Some strange happenings in the inaugural Rio Open this week. Not only does the government their owe the ATP $3 million which the men’s tour says they won’t get, the tournament also endured a power outage during the third set of Ferrer’s win over native son Tomaz Bellucci!
While Dubai might be on much firmer footing financially than the cash-strapped Brazilians, the results are just as interesting. Two-time tournament champion Venus Williams continued her strong performance in the desert. After wins over Flavia Pennetta and Ana Ivanovic, today the 33-year-old slapped around Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-2.
Unfortunately little sister Serena couldn’t take care of her business spoiling an all-Williams final by losing to Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-4.
How the heck does that happen?
“She played really well,” lamented Serena who still has never won in Dubai. “I didn’t play well. I tried, though. I just kept hitting errors. I don’t think I’ve made that many errors in a match in at least three, maybe four years.
“I think out of a 10, I was at, like, -283, so… wow.”
Wow is right. The loss was Serena’s first in straight sets since she lost to Angelique Kerber by the same score at the 2012 Cincinnati event.
But on the bright side, Venus has never lost a set to Cornet in three matches. (I wonder if Serena knew that record.)
Back to men’s tennis. In Marseille the semis are set with Richard Gasquet v. Ernests Gulbis and JW Tsonga against the lanky big-hitting German Jan-Lennard Struff. The 23-year-old 6-foot-5 Struff is in his first career ATP semifinal after he beat Frenchman Michael Llodra today.
And down South in Delray Beach, soon-to-be Top 10 Marin Cilic reached the semis there where he’ll play John Isner in a good one.
“Good times are rolling. It’s pretty good,” said Cilic who has won 11 of his last 13 matches since Australia. “This is my first time ever winning (reaching?) two finals in a row and a semifinal, so that’s huge for me. It’s very positive.”
Based on recent results, I give the edge to Cilic in that matchup.
In the earlier semi it’s Kevin Anderson against American qualifier Steve Johnson who upset Feliciano Lopez.
Top seed Kei Nishikori retired yesterday in his match against Gabashvili with a hip injury.
So Anderson, Isner, Cilic? Some tall fellas there!
Tennis Channel has complete “court coverage” of all four events on Saturday.
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