Thiem, Bertens and Djokovic in Top Form in Madrid
It’s been an interesting week in Madrid, with lots of competitive matches, and some emotional story lines too. The hashtag #graciasferru was trending this week as David Ferrer played his last tournament of his fantastic and storied career. I’ve already written about what I think about Ferrer. Check it out here. Anyway, it was fitting that his last match was against the future of tennis in Alexander Zverev.
Emotional retirements aside, it was great to see Roger Federer back in action on the red clay. He looked sharp as he took out Gael Monfils and then held two match points against Thiem before succumbing to him in three sets. But the tough Austrian fought back to set up a semifinal clash against Novak.
Djokovic then looked exceptional against everyone, especially Thiem, whom I think has become a clear favorite going into the French Open. On the other half of the draw we saw Zverev lose the battle of youngsters to Tsitsipas in the quarters, and then Nadal comfortably walk through into the semis, where he ran into Tsisipas. Unfortunately for Nadal, Tsipisas was awesome and got the best of Nadal in three wholly entertaining sets.
In the final though, Tsitsipas seemed to be asleep during the first five to six games of the match. He started showing some form around 1-4, but it’s difficult to come from behind against Djokovic. The second set was pretty even, but a couple of loose points at 4-4 allowed Djokovic to break and then serve for the match. I have to be honest, Tsitsipas is pretty exceptional. I think he has an amazing future in front of him. However, he’s still relatively young. This is why I have Thiem and Djokovic as clear-cut favorites at the French. They have looked pretty solid throughout the clay court swing. The Italian Open will be interesting.
On the women’s side, Halep went deep and into the final as predicted by many. She always performs well in Madrid as she heads into the French Open. However, she was not able to deal with Kiki Bertens, whom completely dominated on her serve. Halep struggled to hold serve throughout. It was obvious that Halep thought she could dictate from the baseline. This was not to be though, as Bertens power on serve and in the return game seem to catch Halep by surprise. It will be interesting to see how deep Bertens goes at the French Open. She’s not exactly a clay court specialist. Now, onto Rome we go!