Rafael Nadal can secure his semi-final place on Tuesday evening, taking on yet another unseeded player in his draw. However, opponent Jannik Sinner is one of the most improved players on the tour and should pose more of a threat to Nadal than his previous weak opposition have shown. The winner of this one places either Dominic Thiem or Diego Schwartzman, the latter of which beat Nadal back in Rome.
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Sinner’s brand of hard hitting tennis has won him a lot of plaudits since his arrival on tour and he won a few more with a four set win over Alexander Zverev on Sunday, the best win so far of his career. He took full advantage of a lagging Zverev, hitting 39 winners to move into his first slam quarter final.
Nadal dealt with a starstruck Sebastian Korda as easy as expected, breaking the American eight times in a 6-1 6-1 6-2 victory. While he has not had tough opponents yet, Nadal continues to show no signs of the struggles many predicted for him at the beginning of the tournament. “I’m in [the] quarter-finals without losing a set and having very positive scores,” Nadal said. “I can’t complain at all, so [I’m] happy for that.”
Sinner has a little chance of pulling off the shock win but how he competes should give a lot about his mentality for the future. The Italian plays an aggressive brand of tennis and should take the match to Nadal but keeping up with Nadal for five sets without running out of gas is one of the toughest things in sport.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets