Del Potro vs. Nadal
|Date & Time||Saturday August 13, 2016, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
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Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro meet in the semifinals of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.
Rafael Nadal is coming off a three set victory over Thomaz Bellucci that took 26 games to decide. Nadal easily played one of the toughest matches of his career, as Bellucci was hitting his spots and all of Brazil was rooting against him. I’m not sure that were was ever a moment where Nadal was cheered against the way he was in the quarterfinal match. Either way, Nadal continues to show signs of being the old Nadal and is able to dig deep when needed most. Nadal could have easily caved after dropping the first set and having the whole stadium rooting against him. Nadal is now a win away from being able to compete for his second gold medal, as he won one back in 2008. Nadal has won 12 of his last 16 matches on hard court.
Juan Martin Del Potro is coming off a straight sets win over Roberto Bautista Agut that took 25 games to decide. Del Potro continues to find ways to win with his last three matches either being decided in three sets or needing seven games each set. Del Potro continues to dig deep and has shown glimpses this tournament of finding his form after a real subpar 2016 season. A win here would be Del Potro’s biggest in quite some time, especially after falling way out of the top-100. Del Potro guarantees himself another olympic medal with a victory after winning bronze in 2012. Del Potro has won nine of his last 12 matches on hard court.
These two have played 12 times in the past and Nadal has won eight of those meetings. The most recent match was in the 2013 Shanghai Masters, a match Del Potro won in straight sets. However, Nadal has beaten Del Potro in five of the last six matches.
Del Potro can do no wrong in this tournament it seems, but I like the way Nadal is battling and it also helps that he’s coming off a tough match. Nadal is starting to feel a lot more like Nadal.
I’m going to side with Nadal here even though Del Potro has made me look foolish already.