The Nadal rematches

He has not yet won any title in 2019, but the important thing, more than the triumph, is that Rafa Nadal feels that he is "advancing" to a week of Roland Garros.

Rafa Nadal has taken two rematches in the semifinals of Rome. The first is a direct rematch with Stefanos Tsitsipas, who eliminated him just a week ago in the penultimate round of Madrid. The Greek is, next to the German Alexander Zverev, the best exponent of the NextGen ATP, that generation of young people chosen to inherit the throne in which Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray have alternated since February 2004. Almost nothing. Tsitsipas, 20, occupies seventh place in the world. Zverev, 22, is the fifth and became the third. In its unstoppable progression, the Hellene knocked down Nadal for the first time in the Spanish capital. He also did it on clay, the most fertile surface for Rafa. Seven days later, the waters have returned to their usual channel, but there is the flood warning.

Nadal's second rematch has been taken with himself. A week ago I called: 'Better to lose like that'. Because in that defeat he had seen a Rafa superior to his previous performances. In Monte Carlo he lost to Fognini, with a dark tone. In Barcelona he fell to Thiem, something more competitive. In Madrid succumbed before Tsitsipas, with a tennis and close to the one that has led him to dominate the earth. And yesterday, in Rome, he bowed to the irreverent Greek with solvency. By the way, he has broken that fateful barrier of the semifinal in the clay campaign. It would be another moral boost to win the final today, because never before, except in its debut in 2004, had landed in Paris without titles in the buchaca. Although the important thing, more than the triumph, is that you feel that you are "advancing" to a week of Roland Garros. Word of Nadal.

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