Botic van de Zandschulp gets his wish to meet childhood idol Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros

In an earlier interview with ATP, the Dutchman had said that Rafa was one of his idols, someone he was hopeful of meeting.

Botic van de Zandschulp at the 2022 French Open. (Image: Twitter/Botic van de Zandschulp)

Dutch tennis player Botic van de Zandschulp is set to face his idol Rafael Nadal on Friday in the third round of the 2022 Roland Garros. The Dutchman recently made it to the final of the BMW Open but had to retire due to injury, handing Holger Rune the crow. Van de Zandschulp led 4-3 in the first set, and Rune was serving at 40/15 when he quit due to a sore chest. At the ATP 250 event in Germany, both eighth-seeded van de Zandschulp and wild card Rune had reached their first tour-level final. In the French Open, the Dutchman beat Pavel Kotov and veteran Fabio Fognini to set up a third round tie against Nadal. In an earlier interview with ATP, he said that Rafa was one of his idols, someone he was hopeful of meeting. Finally, the 26-year-old will get his wish.

“I was a fan of [Rafael] Nadal when younger, but he hasn’t played many of the same tournaments as me yet. I haven’t met any of my idols from when I was younger. I looked up to [Andre] Agassi, I liked him a lot. [Andy] Roddick I liked a lot, but I am yet to meet them, so hopefully my time will come,” the Dutchman had said.

Read More – BMW Open 2022: Botic van de Zandschulp’s retirement sees Holger Rune win first ATP crown

Giles Simon earns 500th win in final French Open

Gilles Simon extended his Roland Garros farewell in the first round after surviving a five-set thriller. He had an easier time against American Steve Johnson on Thursday after going the distance to beat Pablo Carreno Busta. With a 7-5, 6-1, 7-6(6) victory on the Court Philippe Chatrier stage, the 37-year-old French wild card earned his 500th match win, moving to the third round in Paris for the first time since 2018. He rode a wave of crowd support to win, just as he did in his Tuesday victory.

Read More – Unseeded players steal the show in second round of 2022 Roland Garros

Hurkacz finding his feet

Against Cecchinato, the 25-year-old was on fire, hitting 30 winners to only 13 errors and gliding through all of his service games. Hurkacz broke his opponent five times on his way to a one-hour and 29-minute victory. So far this fortnight, Hurkacz has been particularly powerful on serve. In his first two rounds, he didn’t face a break point, winning 82% of first-serve points (78/95) and hitting 15 aces to three double faults. David Goffin, who began his career comeback with a 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-2, 6-4 victory against No. 24 seed Frances Tiafoe, awaits him in the following round. With a powerful forehand, the 31-year-old Belgian earned a key break at 4-4 in the fourth set and then served out the victory.

Medvedev ousts Djere

On Thursday, Daniil Medvedev maintained his winning streak at Roland Garros, defeating Serbian Laslo Djere 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the third round in Paris. Throughout their two-hour, 36-minute match on Court Philippe Chatrier, the 26-year-old, who beat Facundo Bagnis in the first round, held his own against Djere. As he scurried around the baseline, Medvedev soaked up the World No. 56’s strong forehand, while turning the tables in points by standing deep in the court and taking huge cuts at the ball.

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