- round of 16 - That's how it was
Botic van de Zandschulp
Life is full of contrasts.
And this last parade through La Catedral attests to this.
There are surely no more antagonistic characters in tennis than Rafael Nadal (6-4, 6-2 and 7-6(6), in 2h 22m) and Nick Kyrgios.
The irrepressible Australian continues to progress in London and after getting rid of Brandon Nakashima in the direction of the quarters (4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) 3-6 and 6-2), he recounts: “The night before the match against Nadal here [in 2019], they had to take me out of a pub.”
refers to that day when, before facing the Spaniard, a group of journalists saw him between beers and girls at the Dog & Fox, the joint located a quarter of an hour's walk from the All England Club.
“MY agent had to come and get me out of there.
I come from a long journey, that's for sure”, underlines the man from Canberra.
Nadal travels along the radically opposite route, who slept that night and dreamed of the possibility of conquering Wimbledon, one of the goals that excites him the most before shelving his career.
That year, Roger Federer deprived him of the pass to the final and later, between the pandemic and his foot, the Spaniard had to wait until this assault that is getting better and better looking, because the days go by, he advances rounds, he clears the picture and his performance shoots up against Van de Zandschulp, the Dutchman who he already beat just over a month ago at Roland Garros.
From less to more, from discretion to brilliance, the Spanish is resizing and beginning to show his cards while a potential crossover with Kyrgios is hinted at on the horizon.
Nadal takes off against Sonego and is already there
"Sometimes people forget, but this is my tenth year on the circuit," recalls the latter, the threat with the most foundation in the theoretical transition to the final on Sunday.
“I feel like he was that guy who broke through when he was young and he was 19 years old, and he beat Rafa here at Wimbledon [in 2014].
Somehow, I showed the rest of the young people that it was possible to do it.
I was the first to break the mold.
I feel that on that day I showed that [Nadal] was human, ”he continues while the fan imagines a hypothetical duel in the semifinals, still pure imagination.
First, he would have to defeat Cristian Garín, something that doesn't look easy given his shoulder problems, and second, the Balearic must overcome Taylor Fritz.
"I continue on a positive path, it was a very good game," he says.
"After what has happened during the last two months, being in this situation is incredible," says the Majorcan, who at 36 is the third tennis player in the Open Era (since 1968) to reach the quarterfinals of the great British at his age.
Previously, Federer and the Australian Ken Rosewall did it.
Following the logic under which his time at the Grand Slams has passed, the Spaniard is positioned when the final seasons are approaching.
After completing the adaptation process (Cerúndolo and Berankis) and that more or less dormant phase of his tennis in the first rounds, Nadal is finding the point of play that interests him and reaffirms the good feelings he gave off two days ago against Lorenzo Sonego.
That day ended lackluster due to a mess with the Italian on the net, with noise, while the pulse with Van de Zandschulp (26 years old, 25th in the world, without notable edges except for an isolated final in Munich in May) takes place in diesel format .
With the exception of a dangerous slip in the final stretch and the lapse that forced him to resolve in the tiebreaker -from 5-3 to 5-5 and a couple of ups and downs in the resolution-,
Nadal has already refined, and now it remains to be seen if the level is enough to get rid of Fritz.
The American is one of the three players who have achieved the heroic of beating him this season –along with Carlos Alcaraz and Denis Shapovalov–, although that victory is accompanied by an asterisk.
That day, the end of Indian Wells, the Spaniard competed with a cracked rib and still managed to stretch his pulse until the
Both will meet again tomorrow.
”He is having a great year and has won his first Masters 1000, precisely against me.
But these are the quarterfinals of a big one, what can we expect?”, he says at the foot of the track before leaving without forgetting to mention the emotional act on Sunday in which a parade of figures, including himself, commemorated the centenary of the central court: "It was a privilege because it is a special place".
With the first wing of the quarterfinals configured, on the other Novak Djokovic will debate today against Jannik Sinner (at 2:30 p.m., Movistar Deportes) and Cameron Norrie against David Goffin.
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