Who would bet against Nadal now? (AAP Image/Lynn Bo Bo)
Who would bet against Nadal now? (AAP Image/Lynn Bo Bo)

Ruthless Nadal even better with age

Stefanos Tsitsipas will not be considering calling off his pending semi-final with Rafael Nadal but were he watching the Spaniard's demolition of another young pretender, Frances Tiafoe, he will at the very least be quivering.

Nadal was simply awesome, a tidal wave of targeted power and never letting up, breaking the American's serve at the start of each set and rubbing it in with a continual blitz from both sides.

And from nowhere, he has developed a serve that, while it does not yet match Federer or Djokovic's cannons, is for the first time a real weapon too. Tiafoe will be disoriented for days.

"I had some trouble in this event all my career, to be back in the semi-final means everything," Nadal said. "To keep competing at this level, that's why I wake up every morning, my goal is to be a better player."

Tiafoe, 21 last weekend, will undoubtedly become a real threat to the established order but not quite yet.

He is different to most players, vast upper body muscle to surpass even Rafa and shuffles, light footed always, between points, economy of movement paramount.


Tiafoe can take plenty from this defeat. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Tiafoe can take plenty from this defeat. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)


He's a good type too - sharing a bear hug with John McEnroe as he walked off - but not so much failed to do himself justice here as he wasn't allowed to, Nadal never letting him settle at all, rushing him out of the tournament.

The Spaniard is yet to drop a set this Open and this was never under threat. He has 252 career grand slam wins now, Tiafoe is in single figures still. That says it all.

"They can wait a little longer (but) it looks like they don't want to wait," said Nadal of the younger generation and Tsitsipas. "Let's see what happens."

Short of serious injury this was a contest that only ever had one outcome. There will be more than a few people thinking that the same can be said of the tournament as a whole.

The 2019 men's Open champion. On this form, yes.


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