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Stefanos Tsitsipas was not at his best in his semifinal win over Jannik Sinner. However, the Greek was still able to win in straight sets, and Tsitsipas has reached the final without dropping a set all week. One of the areas that contributed to the Greek’s win was his impressive serving under pressure.
At 0-30 down towards the end of the second set, it looked like Sinner had a chance to get back into the match, but Tsitsipas was able to produce three big serves in a row to hold.
Another reason for the Greek’s impressive recent clay-court form is that the slow surface gives him more time to prepare on his return of serve, which is typically one of the biggest weaknesses in his game.
Tsitsipas is also full of confidence in his game, and despite trailing 2-6 in the head-to-head, the last match the Greek played against the Spaniard was his epic quarterfinal at the Australian Open, during which he came back from two sets to love down to secure a famous victory.
Nadal, meanwhile, has struggled so far this clay-court season, at least by his high standards. He lost in the quarterfinals in Monte Carlo last week to Andrey Rublev and in his first two matches in Barcelona this week, he dropped a set to Ilya
Ivashka and Kei Nishikori respectively. However, against Cameron Norrie and Pablo Carreno Busta the Spaniard upped his level, barring a brief blip in the first set the semifinals against his compatriot, and Nadal is beginning to look like his usual dominant self.
The Spaniard’s level of tennis may well continue to gradually improve over the coming weeks, peaking in time for his quest for a 14th Roland Garros title. The main area of concern has been the Spaniard’s struggles on serve.
It let him down badly in Monte Carlo where against Rublev he served seven double faults, one short of a career high. Nadal has been broken in every match he has played this week and this is clearly the main area he has to improve as he heads deeper into the clay court season