Rafael Nadal has beads of sweat, frowns and looks ahead, thoughtful and thoughtful as Tommy Paul goes on with his business, deducting points to win and separating him from Paris-Bercy on the first substitution: 3-6, 7-6( 4) and 6-1, in 2h 32m. “Ga-fa, ga-fa, ga-fa!” chants the French fan, seeing that the champion of 22 majors does not debate and that little by little he gives in, that he does not react and that he will step out of the giant too soon like it had never happened before in the tournament. That’s how it happens. And the American addresses him in disbelief on the net, looks at him with reverential respect and wonders what everyone is wondering at this moment, too easy, that last set. He did what he had to do but where the hell is Nadal?
Physically and psychologically blocked, the man from Manacor retires to the dressing room between questions, leaving a task to be done, considering that the Torino Masters (from November 13th to 20th) is coming up and he is only shooting in training can win . Decimated by inactivity, the Baleare made too many concessions and now faces a new time trial ahead of the final round of the season for him at various stages of the unrecognizable game. Dull (21 winners) and strangely unpredictable (35 misses, 18 of them with the drive), he has just two weeks to try to reverse the situation and end up with options in the championship meeting.
The duel went on between vagueness, without one or the other seeming to make the decisive step forward or want to take the reins in their hands. In any case, for better or for worse, it was almost always Paul who suggested something else, the one who added another point of risk and decided the outcome of the games. As the clock progressed, the American realized that he was facing an earthly Nadal and that he had a great opportunity ahead of him, and while the Mallorcan hesitated, he gradually diluted himself between mistakes (some of which were very unusual) and also opened the door to many Sometimes he pounced resolutely on the reward. After all, Spanish rarely offers so much leeway.
The story didn’t quite work. The Mallorcan didn’t like that at all, who was logically burdened by the inactivity and personal anxiety of the last two months. From his retirement in the Wimbledon semifinals to his debut at Bercy, there were only five games on the odometer: one against Borna Coric in Cincinnati and four at the US Open, where he was but not, then pending on the phone and with his wits on Manacor ; On October 8, he became a father for the first time and until that moment he could not concentrate on tennis. As if that wasn’t enough, he suffered the abdominal scourge again there in Flushing Meadows, as he would later tell when saying goodbye to Roger Federer in London.
Adding to that second straight muscle rupture – for the same reason he had previously had to say goodbye to Wimbledon without playing the semifinals – was the tension of his first fatherhood and the emotions he experienced at the O2 Arena, where he sobbed hand in hand with his Swiss friend. Too much physical and mental turmoil, lots of turns and thus a complicated landing at Bercy, where he was repeatedly denied the prize. He said goodbye and Pablo Carreño got up, who defeated Denis Shapovalov (7-6(2), 2-6 and 6-4) in a tough crossover and meets Paul this Thursday (not before 7:30pm, Movistar). . The American, 25 years old and 31st in the world, celebrated a victory that was as prestigious as it was surprising. He deserved it and Nadal cooperated.
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