“Come on, come on, come on!” Clenched fists and gesture of rage, Pablo Carreño he managed to silence the huge cicadas that play the soundtrack in Ariake Park for a few seconds. Without thinking, he got on the stands and hugged captain Sergi Bruguera (silver in Atlanta 1996), with his coach Samuel López and the rest of the team. Because the Asturian, in the absence of Rafa Nadal, he is the leader of the troop and with a spirit similar to that of the Balearic Islands, he is going for a medal in Tokyo.
Carreño landed in Japan with the most important title of his career, the Hamburg ATP 500, in the bag. And with a smile from ear to ear that has not faded. Eager to enjoy the Olympic world, in which he debuted at the age of 30, and of the Villa. In ‘sensei’ mode (teacher in Japanese) he made sure to play for a medal after taking down the world’s number two, Daniil Medvedev, 6-2 and 7-6 (5) in 1h: 43. His rival in the semifinals, this Friday at 08:00, will be another Russian, Karen Khachanov (25th), who defeated Frenchman Ugo Humbert 7-6 (4), 4-6 and 6-3 and against the one who dominates the face to face by 3-2.
“It is one of the best victories of my career,” admitted the world number 11. Because he embroidered the serves varying heights so as not to let the Russian be comfortable with his flat drive, he defended luxuriously, he showed balance (17 winners for 16 unforced errors) and He was not upset when the Muscovite, a finalist this year in Australia, broke up in the second set.
“With this tennis, he could win big tournaments … I don’t know how he doesn’t play like that regularly,” Medvedev praised him., who had complained harshly about the heat the day before (the matches began at 3:00 p.m. due to protests by the tennis players to avoid the morning suffocation) and I had asked a journalist for a veto which suggested that the Russians (who are not competing under their flag for suspension from the World Anti-Doping Agency) carry a stigma of cheating. It was the day to squeeze him.
And Carreño did it. Formed in the CAR of San Cugat with the program of the Spanish Federation, Davis champion and always available to take a step forward when they come wrong, the Asturian loves to play for Spain. Defend the jersey. In fact, in Tokyo he enlisted in three frames, with the doubles and the mixed frustrated by the heat stroke of Paula Badosa. Winner of six ATP tournaments, twice a semifinalist at the US Open, the Gijón put the Olympic victory against Medvedev at the top of his career. “I hope it ends up being number one because it leads to a final and not a semi-final. I need to take one more step because I said I was coming here to win a medal. I am the only one left in the Navy and I am very excited to continue fighting for it, “he summed up convinced. He is close.