Uk News Djokovic's plans to depose Nadal on clay may not be enough as Spaniard finds form in Rome United Kingdom news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Nadal, chasing a 14th French Open title next month, beat Alexander Zverev in probably his best performance of the year on Friday while Djokovic has struggled on the red dirt in 2021
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! One of the joys of the women’s game at the moment is its unpredictability. The last six grand slam tournaments have been won by different players with only Naomi Osaka and the returning Ash Barty ever threatening to offer a semblance of global dominance.The same cannot be said of the men’s game. The duopoly of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic has only been broken once in the last three years and since Dominic Thiem won the US Open last year, his form has fallen off a cliff in a cloud of mental burnout and injury woes.So it is with a cautious sense of optimism that we approach the French Open at Roland Garros. Not that one would wish ill will towards Nadal, but when the same player wins a tournament on all bar three occasions since 2005, you start to yearn for a change.Get expert FPL tips, delivered straight to your inboxEmail address is invalidThank you for subscribing!Sorry, there was a problem with your subscription.Nadal’s form on the red dirt has been found wanting in 2021. He arrived at the first slam of the year in Australia with what he described as a back injury and that hindrance could explain his stuttering start on clay. Read More Dan Evans was ‘fired up’ by Novak Djokovic disrespect as he stuns world number one at Monte Carlo Masters Stuttering, it should be pointed out, is a relative term. He has still won 12 of his 14 matches on clay this year, including a title in Barcelona where he beat the ever-improving Stefanos Tsitsipas in a final that lasted three hours and 38 minutes.In truth, neither player in that match played their best and Nadal, having been beaten by Andrey Rublev in Monaco, racked up another rare defeat two weeks later in Madrid to Alexander Zverev.He has not been short of practice either; his troubled form has forced him to spend more than two hours on court on seven separate occasions this spring.
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.He was in no mood to spend extra minutes on court in Rome this time though. Nadal, 34, is better off finding form at the right moments these days and in theory now only has two more matches to find his best before returning to his home-from-home in Paris. He rocketed out to a 4-0 lead, winning 12 of the first 15 points of the match, and while Zverev battled his way onto the scoreboard, Nadal’s aggression continued as he closed out the first set.Nadal’s real strengths of course lie in the pressure moments, when his physicality and indomitability come to the fore. Zverev is seen as quite the opposite, a player who struggles in the big moments, and so it proved as he twice squandered three break points, but Nadal did show he was lacking very little confidence in those moments, saving the last one with a drop shot full of poise and accuracy.He said afterwards the conditions had suited him more than when they met in Madrid. It showed and the 6-3 6-4 scoreline in victory was firmly but fairly in his favour.The conditions in truth were only getting worse as Djokovic found out, following on from Nadal in his quarter-final clash with Tsitsipas as the umbrellas started to go up around an unseasonably cold Roman arena.Djokovic’s own transition to the clay-court season has been somewhat fraught after winning in Australia; he was shocked by Britain’s Dan Evans in Monte Carlo and then, playing in the comfort of his own city in Belgrade, he became the latest victim of the Aslan Karatsev hype train.There have been few signs of that ropey form in Rome though – he dispatched Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the last 16 for the loss of just three games, although his first serious challenge of the tournament against Tsitsipas left him down a break before rain stopped play.Djokovic will, given the variable fitness of Thiem, Daniil Medvedev’s hatred of clay, the varying grand slam record of Zverev and unknown quantity of a returning Roger Federer, once again be the biggest challenge of the French Open draw for Nadal, and could even fall into the same half as him.On present gradient though, Nadal will not mind whether he meets him in the semi-final or the final; the king of Roland Garros is peaking at the right time.Follow i sport on Facebook for more tennis news, interviews and features, or listen to the Love Tennis Podcast presented by i‘s James Gray on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcastsMore on tennis‘The new Nadal? This kid is a little bit different… he’s more like Federer’Could a change in court conditions end Federer, Nadal and Djokovic’s dominance?How rain saved Wimbledon tens of millions of pounds during the pandemicIs British tennis in crisis?Tennis is heading for a TV ratings nosedive when Federer and Nadal are gone
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