Nadal boosted by French Open form
Rafael Nadal said on Friday his demolition of David Ferrer in the French Open semi-finals was one of the most complete matches he has played for some time.
The Spaniard, who is bidding this year to become the first man to win seven titles at Roland Garros, was only briefly troubled at the start of the match, saving two break points in the fourth game before accelerating away for a 6-2 6-2 6-1 win.
It was, he said, “one of my best matches on this court.”
“In my opinion I did almost everything right, because my serve worked very well, changing directions.
“My backhand was at its best so far today. I hit the forehand well during all the tournament. Today wasn’t an exception.”
The win sees Nadal into his seventh final in eight years and once again he has done so without dropping a set. In fact he has only once had his serve broken, in the second set of his first round tie against Simone Bolelli.
His opponent in the final will be the winner of the other semi-final between top seed Novak Djokovic and third seed Roger Federer, neither of whom have ever beaten Nadal at Roland Garros.
Asked to compare his tennis year with how he played in his first few appearances at the French Open in Paris, Nadal agreed that there had been changes.
“Maybe I’ve lost some of my energy. When I was younger I could rally longer, I think. Everything was a novelty for me. Today perhaps there is less novelty about it for me,” he said.
“But I think that in terms of my moves, I move better on clay. I don’t feel as much electricity as I felt in the past, but I think that it’s true to say that my tennis has improved.”
“I’d like to change my style a little and be more aggressive, slightly more aggressive. But I’ve gone a notch up.”
Proof of Nadal’s dominance on the clay is the fact that since winning his record-equalling sixth French Open title last year, he has lost just one match on the surface and that came against compatriot Fernando Verdasco in Madrid where he took a dislike to the experimental blue surface.
Those wins brought him titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome, all venues where he is a multiple winner.
Having turned 26 last weekend, Nadal, injury permitting, has several years ahead of him to hoist his total of grand slam titles which currently stands at 10, six behind Federer.
What matters most to him, he says, is that he continues to see improvement in his game.
“My level has improved slightly against last year ao I am satisfied and happy because I’ve already improved,” he said.
“Last year I had the impression I didn’t really play that well; whereas this year I’m playing really well.
“I am having almost a perfect clay court season, and we’ll see what’s going on in the final.”© AFP 2013
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