Sunday, September 8, 2013

RAFA-RIPPED OPEN: Semifinals - Nadal d. Gasquet

(Back to the Finals!)

We're almost at the end of the road, Ladies & G's. Our Hero, Rafael Nadal continues his quest for title taking the last necessary step to reach with the final. Saturday he won a hard-fought straight set victory over No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet, 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-2. Nadal will play his 18th Grand Slam final, a mark that ties him with Pete Sampras for third-most in history, behind only Roger Federer (24) and Ivan Lendl (19).

Nadal extended his hard court winning streak to 21-0. He's also now 11-0 against Gasquet, who was competing in just his second Grand Slam semi-final, having advanced as far at Wimbledon in 2007. Rafa and Gasquet have been friends ever since the juniors and CBS showed these ADORABLE pictures of them together as kids. Rafa was also one of Gasquet's most vocal defenders when trace amounts of cocaine showed up in a drug test. Seriously how cute are Little Rafa and Little Richard together?

(Their first tournament together!)

(Presumably posing together for Glamour Shots!)

Gasquet was able to break Rafa's serve in the second set, the first time that had happened all tournament, but it just put him back level on serve and then Rafa totally dominated the tie break. Two sets were actually decided on double faults by Gasquet which is unfortunate. But at least our guy is through!

So it has come to pass that No. 2 Rafael Nadal will face No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the title. Novak was a bit lucky to get through his semifinal against Stan Wawrinka in 5 sets. Having the No. 1 and 2 men's seeds and the No. 1 and No. 2 women’s seeds (Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka - Go Serena!) face off for the title is a first in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The last time it happened, was back in 1996 when Armstrong was still the premiere stadium on the grounds. It will be the third time in four years that Rafa and Novak play against each other for the title match together. They split the first two, in 2010 and 2011 and then Rafa didn't play in 2012. It will also be the 37th time they’ve played against each other on tour. That’s a recent men’s record for a rivalry in the Open Era as well.

Who will win? I have no idea. I swear ir's a toss up. Rafa has been playing more consistent tennis this second week of the tournament, but all that matters is how you show up and play on the day. I have a feeling Novak will be extra hungry for this title and be in top form. Rafa wants it bad too. The end of year No. 1 ranking is hanging in the balance. There are no secrets between these two as players. It will go to whoever brings their best game. I think this could be one of their most epic battles, and I Rafa comes out as the champion in the end! VAMOS!!!

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