After nearly two weeks of wonderful tennis at Roland Garros, we have now reached the semi-final stage of the men’s tournament. We have seen shocks, five setters and plenty of thrilling action. Now four men remain in the hunt for the Musketeers’ Cup. Here I preview what promises to be a cracking day of action.
Marco Cecchinato v Dominic Thiem
There is no doubt that Thiem has more experience, having reached last year’s Roland Garros semi-final. Thiem suffered a straight sets defeat to Nadal last year but he has more experience than the Italian. If the Austrian starts strong then it will be a big challenge for Cecchinato to turn it around. Experience could be crucial to the outcome.
Numbers favour Thiem
Thiem has not lost a clay court match to a player ranked as low as Cecchinato (72) since 2016. He is also in a rich vein of form as he is currently on a nine game winning streak. Meanwhile Cecchinato is the lowest ranked player to reach the semis at roland Garros this millenium. Andrei Medvedev reached the semis in France ranked 100 in 1999. A huge task awaits Cecchinato but one that he must relish.
Rafael Nadal v Juan Martin Del Potro
The weather conditions will be crucial to Del Potro’s chances of causing an upset. It’s no secret that warm conditions aid Nadal’s topspin game on clay and Schwartmann enjoyed success against Rafa when conditions were damp and overcast. While Del Potro has a different game to Schwartzmann, he will hope that conditions are overcast as it can limit the damage Nadal’s forehand can do to his weaker backhand.
Del Potro’s smart decision
When Del Potro lost to America’s John Isner in Miami in March, the Argentine stated he was unsure whether he would play on clay this season. He played in Madrid before traveling to Rome, where he sustained a leg injury against David Goffin. This left question marks surrounding his participation. He has surprised many by being able to play, let alone reaching the semi-final stage. He is hoping that his journey will take him to a first final on the red clay of Paris.