Men’s Semi-finals: [CR4] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [CR7] Tomas Berdych (CZE)
Nadal had dominated Berdych since October 2006. He won seventeen consecutive matches until Berdych ended the domination by defeating him at the 2015 Australian Open. Today’s match was significant on multiple levels for Nadal. If he won, he would get some revenge; however, more importantly, it would be a positive boost to Nadal’s shaky mental state. If he lost, Nadal’s confidence would be further eroded. Despite his recent triumph over Nadal, Berdych was not quite convinced that he could replicate the effort to duplicate the result.
The first set was the manifestation of both players trying to find their footing and assess the level of game that would confront them today. Nadal struck the ball with more confidence today than he has in recent matches, driving the ball deep in the court with conviction. He was able to raise his game, remembering the outcome of their last encounter. The second set was all Nadal. Did he elevate his game further or did Berdych’s level slip? Can we use this result as a sign that Nadal’s off-court work is finally paying dividends? Or is it still too soon to say his crisis is over? Tomorrow’s outcome may be more telling; however, for today, Nadal gets revenge with a 7-6(3), 6-1 victory over Berdych.