Nadal watches the ball during the match against Norrie in Barcelona.JOSEP LAGO / AFP
After several days with the sky overcast, Barcelona had the sun for the Sant Jordi festival and with it, a truce came.
After two appearances in which doubts about the certainties prevailed, Rafael Nadal gave himself a truce and headed into the Godó semifinals with a solvent victory (6-1 and 6-4) over the British Cameron Norrie, who proposed a timid resistance on an afternoon without frills, but also without slipping.
I mean, good news.
From less to more, the Mallorcan continues in search of a jump that is long overdue, and that perhaps could occur this Saturday, against Pablo Carreño or Diego Schwartzman.
Nadal saves another mess
Nadal dodges tension against Ivashka
Meanwhile, a placid day in front of a harmless adversary. It is conducive to continuing to accumulate good feelings, but insufficient to draw reliable conclusions. Installed in 58th place in the ATP, the left-hander Norrie could barely tickle Nadal, who without having to press the accelerator or offer a plus, deduced that it was the ideal day to save some time and cut corners. In this way, he was only two steps away from his twelfth title in Barcelona, where a turn of the screw from the Balearic Islands is still awaiting.
Although the pulse started at idle, he finished the first set without shocks and the second with a more demanding point, because the game of both gained temperature and from the possible 5-2 it was passed to a situation that Nadal knew how to abort with hierarchy. He gave up the service and made a small knot (4-4) that he undid immediately, forceful in the response. There the spicy ended, nothing more. In any case, there was no major scare. Another left-handed rival to the canvas and they are already 18 in a row; in total, 108 wins and only 15 losses. And that, they say out there, some daring, choke him.
After two thorny parades, against Ilya Ivashka and Kei Nishikori, the champion of 20 majors practiced solidly.
Unlike the two previous commitments, he did not offer cracks and continued to test his blows and his physique, already with one more point of spark.
He embedded a wonderful parallel in the angle, from the wall, and took another spoonful of confidence to his mouth, hoping that the days and the games would bring him closer to the best version of himself.
There is still a long way, a long way.
At the moment, Nadal continues to turn the mill, erre que erre.
They won't catch him there.
So in the meantime, the sweet routine of progressing on earth.
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