Tsonga looms on a cleaner route for Nadal

This Saturday (16:00) faces the Frenchman in the third round. Ahead, a clear horizon, since Cilic, Thiem have already fallen ...

The path of Rafa Nadal to the semifinals of Wimbledon seemed very hard after a draw in which the Balearic was placed in the bottom of the box, on the opposite side to Novak Djokovic but with a list of very difficult rivals from the second round. Eight days later, his route has been cleared enough by his own merits and by the premature elimination of three of his potential opponents.

The Balearic fulfilled his part by winning the unruly Nick Kyrgios on Thursday, the same day he was left out. Croatian Marin Cilic, 13th favorite, who could cross with him in eighths. And on Tuesday they had gone home the Canadian Denis Shapovalov (29th), his possible opponent in the third round, and Thiem (5th), foreseeable opponent in the quarterfinals. Now, from the start, Nadal will be seen today (about 16:00, #Vamos) with Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (72nd in the world), and if he advances he would be expected by Dan Evans ranking (61st) and then Fabio Fognini (12th) head of series). That before crossing in the semifinals predictably with Federer, as in the last Roland Garros, and face, if he wins, a hypothetical final against Djokovic.

So things are now for un Nadal who was smiling and animated yesterday in the training he shared on a sunny and hot day with the Mallorcan Jaume Munar, who competes in doubles with the British Cameron Norrie. The disciple of the academy of the winner of 18 Grand Slams gave a good reply to his mentor, with the permanent follow-up of his coach and close friend of Rafa, Toméu Salvà, and Francis Roig and Carlos Costa. Dr. Ruiz Cotorro spent a few minutes for the session and greeted the Spaniard, who worked for an hour and a half.

This afternoon will be measured for the 13th time to Tsonga, with a favorable balance of 8-4 (1-1 in Grand Slams ) . Since the last precedent, in the 1,000 Masters of Shanghai, four years have passed. He won in the semifinals the French, which remained in the top-20 until early 2018, when it was gradually disappearing from the top of the ranking (it became number five in 2012 and fell to 261 last December) by blame for the injuries (knee, abs ...) and the obligations of his fatherhood. At the age of 34, he tried to return to the elite and won his 17th title in Montpellier in February. But it is far from his best form.

In Roland Garros, where he fell in the second round against Nishikori, he trained the extenist and Spanish Davis Cup captain, Sergi Bruguera, who is not in Wimbledon. Here Tsonga is accompanied by Thierry Ascione. "Tsonga will be a tough opponent, every match is, like the box," said Nadal, but the truth is that now he has it better than expected.

Photos from as.com
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