Thiem Sets Final Date With Nadal

Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, Spain

Men’s Semifinal: [1] Andy Murray (GBR) vs. [9] Dominic Thiem (AUT)

No record is safe on clay.  Murray knew that well after losing for the first time to Albert Ramos-Vinolas last week on clay.  Today he was playing an opponent he had never lost to, but this was clay and Thiem excels on this surface.  Murray is injured, his right elbow continues to bother him and that is not a good thing with Roland Garros a month away.  Playing in these heavy conditions certainly has not helped his injury and it showed in the first set.  Murray did not get to number one without fighting, so he knows how to fight.  The question was whether his elbow and body would allow him to fight effectively.  Thiem felt the nerves in the second set and Murray took advantage to force a third set.  The third set was a battle and surprisingly it was Murray who succumbed to nerves in the end to lose 2-6, 6-3, 4-6.

Men’s Semifinal: [5] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [84] Horacio Zeballos (ARG)

It’s always the player that you least expect that poses the greatest threat.  Nadal found that out yesterday when he was forced to play quality tennis to beat Hyeon Chung.  He’s lost a final to today’s opponent so he was not about to take winning for granted.  Despite the 6-3, 6-4 score, it was by no means an easy victory for Nadal.  Zeballos repeatedly threatened Nadal in his service games and it is a testament of the confidence he has regained that Nadal withstood the attack.  He will attempt to make history tomorrow again, to be the only player that has won the same tournament ten times twice; however, standing in his way is Thiem.  Can he withstand the challenge of Thiem to gain number ten in Barcelona?

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