It was only necessary to see the Rafa Nadal and Emil Ruusuvuori entrance to the Rod Laver Arena to see which side the audience was on Semifinals of the Melbourne Summer Set. Shy applause for the Finn (22 years old and 95th ATP), overflowing jubilation with the Spanish. And the aussies they ended up pleased by the victory of a Nadal who cemented his success with a great performance on the net (73% of points earned), quick legs and a perfect balance between aggressiveness and consistency (28 winners for 20 unforced errors). The result, perhaps tighter than expected due to the merits of Ruusuvuori (6-4 and 7-5 in 1h56), allows Nadal to play a new final (19 consecutive seasons achieving it), something he has not done since he won the Masters 1,000 in Rome on May 16, 2021 before Novak Djokovic.
Rafa came out somewhat cold to the game and signed a first game to serve with more errors of the account. Despite granting two break options to the Finn, the Spaniard managed to escape unscathed to seal his serve in eight minutes. The rest of the first heat was even, but the best news for Nadal was the pace gained on the track, as his rival (whom he had never faced) he entered long rallies frequently. The outcome, as we have seen so many times in the history of the great champions, was resolved in favor of Nadal with a break that came in the tenth game. Ruusuvuori, who had thus far shown his virtues with a great technique and clean hitting the ball, he got nervous when he was not playing and with two errors (double fault and drive to the net) he gave away the set in the first break option that Nadal had in the game.
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The second sleeve had more alternatives. Nadal seemed to have sealed the victory with a break that put him in a position to close the game with the serve (5-3), but then the best tennis emerged, daring and shameless, from a Finn who will surely have something to talk about in the future. Ruusuvuori, who found a mine of points with the parallel counterfoot, chained two games in a row to equalize the set and make Nadal hesitate. However, when push comes to shove, when the pulse trembles and the ball burns, the shadow of a 20-time Grand Slam winner was too long for Ruusuvuori, who turned in the ticket to what would have been his first ATP final with an unforced error in the twelfth game. Rafa now awaits the sensation of the tournament, a Maxime cressy (24 years old, 112º) who has been planted in the game for the title after passing the qualifying phase and giving up only one set in the final draw (against Opelka, in the second round). Rafa already makes us excited again …
Nadal: “The laps are not easy”
At the foot of the court, Nadal analyzed his feelings after sealing his pass to the end of the Melbourne Summer Set, first game for the title disputed since May 2021.
Win Analysis: “I have been a little slower than normal, but I don’t have to get frustrated because the laps are not easy. I knew him because he has been at the academy and I also trained last week here with him.”
Rival in the final: “He’s serving very well and playing very aggressive and this type of surface helps those characteristics.”