Rafael Nadal’s status for the French Open became in doubt today. The Spaniard was up a set on Denis Shapovalov before his foot injury from last year re-emerged. A hobbled Nadal dropped the last four games of the match in a loss to the Canadian 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.
“I am living with an injury. My day by day is difficult,” Nadal said. “I am trying hard but of course it’s difficult to accept the situation at times. A lot of days I can’t practice the proper way.
“Today it started halfway through the second set and it was unplayable for me. I don’t want to take away credit from Denis that he deserves… Today is for him.”
Nadal, who never called for the trainer, appeared in distress late in the match over the injury. He now hopes to be ready for Paris.
“What can happen in the next couple of days, I don’t know. What can happen in one week, I really don’t know now,” Nadal said.
“It’s the time to accept the situation and fight. That’s it,” he went on. “I don’t know if rest, I don’t know if maybe practice. But I still have a goal in one week and a couple of days. I’m going to keep dreaming about that goal.
“First thing that I need to do is to don’t have pain to practice, that’s it.
“In the positive days and in the negative days, you need to stay and to value all the things that happened to me in a positive way. Then days like today, just accept and try to keep going even if sometimes it’s not easy for me.”
Shapovalov earned arguably his best career win on clay. He’ll now face Casper Ruud tomorrow in the quarterfinals. Ruud knocked out Jenson Brooksby 6-3, 6-4.
With Nadal out, Novak Djokovic is back in favorite status and looked the part hammering Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-2. The 5-time Rome champion has won seven of his last nine matches.
“It is great to see Stan back and winning. He won two tough matches. You can see he is still not physically where he wants to be. But nevertheless he is Stan Wawrinka and he can hurt you if you give him time,” Djokovic said on court. “I managed to do well from the beginning. I really moved him around the court and held my serve comfortably except for that loss of my serve in the second set.”
Up next for Djokovic is Felix Auger Aliassime. The youngster got through American lucky loser Marcus Giron 6-3, 6-2.
“I have known Felix for quite a few years,” Djokovic said. “He is established, a Top 10 player, so is right up there. He is as hard worker on the Tour that you see and he is a nice guy. His all-around game is improving. He is improving on clay. I know his game and what is expected.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas rallied from a set down to defeat Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-0, 6-3. The Greek now gets Italian hope Jannik Sinner who eased past Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 7-6(6).
Former champion Alexander Zverev ousted Alex De Minaur in straights. He’ll face Cristian Garin tomorrow in the quarters.
ROME FRIDAY SCHEDULE
Center Court Starts At 11:00 Am
3 Aryna Sabalenka vs Amanda Anisimova
QF 10 Jannik Sinner v 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Not Before 3:00 Pm
QF 13 Denis Shapovalov v 5 Casper Ruud
Jil Teichmann v Daria Kasatkina
Not Before 8:30 Pm
QF 1 Novak Djokovic v 8 Felix Auger-Aliassime
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Novak beating Stan is OK but Stan has just returned and needs more time and matchplay. For my money Novak’s real test is the FAA match coming up.
The kid is one of the greats as far as I can see, in fact I can see him being the arch nemesis of Alcaraz for years to come and maybe even besting Alacaraz.
But back to 2022, if Novak can get past FAA then I think he’s ready for the French, if not then more work required before the big event.
Can Novak take the French again? I certainly think he can but boy it’s going to be hard given the talent he’s up against.
May 12th, 2022 at 10:23 pm