Rafa roars past Jo into Miami semis
Originally published on: 01/04/10 13:52
Inspired by a crowd who managed to recreate Rafa’s roaring passion from their seats, the world No.4 overcame Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in a thrilling exchange unbefitting the 6-3 6-2 scoreline.
The Spaniard fended off all eight-break points faced, threw in a mix of sizzling, line-clipping winners and was roared to victory in his second tournament back from a knee-tear injury.
“It’s amazing going on court with this atmosphere,” enthused the 36-time tour level titlist after he took a step towards claiming his 37th.
“Crowd was always very emotional here. I’m very happy to play at this level tonight against very difficult opponent like Jo. It’s very important victory for me. I’m very happy for that.”
The 23-year-old will regain his No.3 ranking on Monday after defending champion Andy Murray bowed out early in Miami, and faces a tough semi-final against Andy Roddick before thoughts can turn to the prospect of a 15th ATP World Tour Masters title.
“Andy always is a big challenge,” said Nadal, who defeated the American in straight sets at the same stage of the Indian Wells tournament last year. “He’s a very good competitor. He’s a winner. Gonna be very tough match, no?”
Put simply, yes. And with Roddick sealing a place in the final four without dropping a set, coupled with the fact that honours are even between the two former world No.1s in their four hard court meetings, their semi-final bout is too close to call.
Leading the ATP pack with 24 wins under his belt this season, the in-form Roddick is in high spirits, but the Brisbane International champ and defeated Indian Wells finalist was in philosophical mood about his form.
“Sometimes when you’re not playing well… everything feels a little bit forced. When you play a lot of the matches and kind of play a high level, it feels like everything kind of slows down a little bit,” he said.
Muscle memory takes over a little bit more, and things kind of just happen. I think I’m at that stage right now.”
With the opportunity to repeat his 2004 feat in Miami and translate his recent run into a second title of 2010, Roddick is under no illusions as to the size of the task.
“Unfortunately with tennis you have to start every day and it’s a new one. You’re playing well, but you still have to go out and do it every day.”