Iga Swiatek vs. Coco Gauff; this will be the undeniably extraordinary finale of the women’s draw. Before that comes the men’s semifinals on Friday, with Rafael Nadal so close to writing another chapter in his story. Meanwhile, Holger Rune is moaning and someone close to Roger Federer is beaming on earth.
A HIGHWAY FOR NADAL? In the previous day’s 1st game against Alexander Zverev (continued on RTS 2 from 2.45 p.m.) is Rafael Nadal on a highway to claim his 14th crown at Roland-Garros? We have every right to believe it and everyone already seems accustomed to the thought that the Spaniard will collapse on clay, on ‘his’ clay, on Sunday. (read box). See no offense to Zverev or fellow semi-finalists Casper Ruud and Marin Cilic, but the former world No. 1 – who turns 36 this Friday – is so solid at the Porte d’Auteuil and so full of certainties about the Philippe – Chatrier that we don’t see how he could evade a new coronation (a 22nd in the Grand Slam!). Except when the German, who beat him three times in 9 duels – including once on clay (Madrid 2021) – wins the match of his life? But then what a feat it will bring!
THE TITLE AND GOODBYE? Rafael Nadal, with a few little words here and there, has sometimes hinted that this Roland-Garros could be his last. Some are even wondering if in case of a 14th title he won’t be eliminated on Sunday like Roger Federer might have done at Wimbledon if he converted one of his 2 match points on July 14th 2019… Imagine him anyway walk away on this…
CILIC-RUUD: WHO IN THE FINALE? Very unexpected semi-final (to follow also on RTS 2), the Marin Cilic-Casper Ruud clash seems pretty even on paper, especially if the Croatian recovers the feelings that inhabited him in the first week. Between these two surprise guests, 10 years apart, one has experience and a lead serve, the other carelessness, defensive ability and a love of the sand. The pair have met twice so far and the Norwegian has won each time: 6-2, 7-6 at the 2020 Rome Crushed Brick, then 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in last summer’s tough Toronto.
SWIATEK, WOMAN PERFECT… Iga Swiatek is ‘just’ one win away from a second Roland-Garros title and nothing seems to be stopping him. The Pole acted like a steamroller on one yesterday. It was “Giga Swiatek”. Yes, the WTA No. 1 showed her best tennis and delivered a more than perfect match, but the Russian also looked completely paralyzed, as often happens when an unexpected player (or players) finds herself in the semifinals. His service was abysmal. She clearly missed her appointment. But even with a perfect faceoff, she certainly couldn’t have avoided the outcome.
NUMBERS THAT MAKE THE SPINNER… Iga Swiatek’s success makes you dizzy. She, clearly the best current player, just had a 34th success, level with Serena Williams. Only Venus Williams did better (35 wins). Among her victories, the Pole signed 13 in a row over players ranked among the top 20 in the world. Even better, she has won 54 of the last 56 games she has played. Stunning.
GAUFF WAITING FOR THE CHERRY… Can Coco Gauff react to Iga Swiatek on Saturday? No doubt the American has the skills. His tennis is remarkable and to be honest, tomorrow (3:00 p.m. on RTS 2) we can look forward to a great final. Yesterday, the 19-year-old let go of her claws to stem the tide. But make no mistake: the game was closer (and more spectacular) than the score indicated. The Italian often got stuck in her opponent’s games, but she was more realistic, cunning and also clearer. Coco now dreams of bringing down Swiatek. In a way, the icing on the cake.
SET OF THE DAY… “I felt less pressure in the semifinals today than the days before because I felt my tournament was already successful when I came here. In reality, it was my 4th lap that was the toughest mentally.” Drawn by Iga Swiatek.
THE SHOT OF THE DAY… For fun we see (again) this great race of an admirable Martina Trevisan that will have marked the fortnight.
PLAYGROUND… Politicians and journalists obviously do not have a monopoly on childishness in social networks. Also athletes. Take Holger Rune. Not content with barely shaking hands with opponent Casper Ruud on Wednesday (), the Dane complained about the Norwegian’s behavior on several occasions, both in the newspapers and in responses to internet users. Above all, he accuses him of being a “fake ass”, who would not greet anyone outside the courts without the presence of the cameras and who would have repeatedly sent him sweet words during the change of sides in the quarter-finals. He would have provoked him in the dressing room too. In short, the Nordic playground took precedence over the result. “Mistress, he has started!“Finally, to those who urged him to take care of his handshake, Rune replied that he only puts his heart in those who are his friends. A few hours later, the naughty man tried to calm the game by posting it on social networks wrote It was necessary to avoid controversy and encourage Ruud for his half, but regardless, I can’t wait for Act V of Ruud and Rune’s clashes…
DJOKOS SUMMER… With his quarter-final loss to Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic has not only lost his Paris title, but most importantly, he is preparing to claim his world throne on 13 ). ) and literally thrown out of the leading duo of the ATP tour. The Serb will find himself in 3rd place in 2 weeks at best. Incredible Fact: For the first time since November 17th, 2003, no member of the “Big Three” will appear at #1 or #2 in the World Hierarchy.
GODSICK JUNIOR IN HALF… Close to Roger Federer, whose influential agent is his father Tony, Nicholas Godsick has risen to the last four of junior doubles. The 17-year-old American, who is linked to Portuguese Henrique Rocha, has, let’s remember, who to take; his mother, Mary-Joe Fernandez, former WTA No. 4, was notably a finalist at Roland-Garros 1993 in singles and winner of the 1998 edition in doubles.
THE RELEASE OF PENNETTA… As a guest of L’Equipe newspaper’s brilliant Paroles d’ex column, former Italian player Flavia Pennetta shares some tasty anecdotes from her career. Notably, she confirms that she has been playing differently after announcing her future retirement: “After winning the 2015 US Open, I’ve been feeling my strongest in the last 2 months of my career. I had announced my retirement, I had less pressure, I saw things much more clearly, everything was very simple…“The one who is now a mother of 3, the wife of Fabio Fognini and who is a charming young woman also reveals that she felt like a box (Yes indeed!)“at a party:”With Gisela Dulko, my doubles partner, we dressed well, did our hair and make-up to go to a party before the US Open. We were all like ‘Wow, how beautiful you are!’. We then arrived at the party where there were only New York models. We looked at each other and said, ‘We are boxes!’“
BET ODDS… If one thing failed at Roland-Garros this year, it’s the Night Sessions. These in fact have no interest in this tournament which has nothing of the Australian Open or the US Open in it and will not create a parallel history by trying to imitate what the Australian and American Tests are doing. Unfortunately, since Amélie Mauresmo is not directly the origin of it, she went to her head, especially since women were almost absent from night sessions. However, the tournament manager is apparently thinking of putting a women’s singles and a doubles on the menu for these “night sessions” next year. I’m not sure if the idea is bright. Really not. In addition, we can regret that tennis, for its part, is being “eaten” by the sports business. Because, as one reader reminds us, we want our kids to be in good shape and play sports, but with programs dependent on TV rights, they’re banned from seeing the epic duels of the champions of their day. They can no longer take themselves or reproduce their gestures in training…
Arnaud Cerutti – @arnaud_cerutti
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