The Spaniard wins by a double 7-5 to an opponent who proposed a surprising game of serve and volley. In the semifinals he will face Thiem, Pella’s executioner (7-5 and 6-2)
For a while Jan-Lennard Struff offered himself as a tour guide, tennis ecstasy: the viewer could focus on the ball, its short trajectories and its high speed, and imagine himself in Wimbledon, surrounded by people eating strawberries and drinking Pimm’s, with the tennis players of white on the grass. Actually, it was very weird.
The rival of Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Godó raised an improper match of clay, a continuous attack, serve and volley as already only seen on grass and, as expected, such a strange proposal ended in defeat. In the decisive moments, when number two of the world ranking was tight, Struff tried to win by fast track, avoiding any exchange, and that finally caused its elimination. He beat Nadal 7-5 and 7-5 in one hour and 42 minutes of play and this Saturday (not before 4:00 pm, Teledeporte) will face Dominic Thiem in the semifinals, which ended with Guido Pella (7-5 y 6 -2). [Narration and statistics]
Struff being unknown to the general public, number 51 of the world ranking, without ATP titles, he could think that this was his only possible plan. At 1.96 meters tall, maybe it was just a punch. But it was not like that. If he relaxed, he worried with his blows from the back of the court, a hard and varied tennis capable of challenging Nadal. In the first set, he recovered a break against and, in the second, raised a pair of break balls before falling. His problem was nerves, which led him to the unique approach.
Maybe it would have worked on Wednesday, with Nadal who came unsafe to Barcelona, but this Friday the Spaniard was already another. Better said, it was the same as always. Not yet reaching his lofty level of play on clay, his speed to respond to Struff’s offense showed he is ready for his twelfth title at home and his tranquility certified that he no longer lurks doubts. Due to the peculiar game of his opponent he could not catch pace, but he has improved as expected.