It’s an understatement, but it’s been a grueling year for Rafael Nadal so far.
Withdrawal from the Australian Open due to a severe stomach bug was followed by a tremendous and historic win on the clay courts of Roland Garros before heartbreak and disappointment ensued at Wimbledon as he was forced out through injury.
Rarely has the Spaniard had a moment to settle. Constantly his mind has been on more victories and playing tennis, and his long lay-offs are sure to have driven him round the bend earlier in the year.
But, it’s apparent now just how much he’s used that to his advantage.
His wins of late have been absolute whirlwind performances that have seen the 27-year-old storm to victory with such power and determination, quite frankly, it’s scary.
But will it be intimidating for his title challengers?
Only on Thursday morning, as reported by BBC Sport, he defeated Tommy Robredo in three sets in the quarter-final to advance to the last four. In the process, he dropped only four games against his fellow Spaniard, and never looked like relenting his firm grip on the match as he powered to victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The win sets up a meeting with Richard Gasquet for later in the week, and although the Frenchman is sure to go into the match with nothing to lose and an underdog mentality with the potential to cause havoc, Nadal is the red-hot favourite, with only Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic for him to wory about.
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