Two things were affirmed in the second men’s semifinal in Rome 2011. First, Andy Murray has heart, something British fans have questioned, particularly after his loss to Novak Djokovic in the 2011 Australian Open final. And we also learned Nole has crossed that line where he can will himself to a win, even over the best in the game. Nole kept his 2011 unbeaten record intact, but he was pushed by Andy. This was a gut-check match, and Nole answered with vigor.
Waiting in the final for Nole will be Rafael Nadal. With all due respect to Roger Federer, Djokovic versus Nadal is the best men’s tennis has to offer. Nole has won all three matches against Rafa this year, including ending Nadal’s clay court winning streak last week at Madrid. A win by Nole at Rome would raise even more eyebrows, as Madrid was at altitude. By reaching the semifinals, Nadal kept his #1 ranking. However, should he lose to Nole again in the Rome final, few but diehard Nadal fans would say Nole isn’t the best player in the world. I still think that Nadal is the favorite going in, mainly due to the surface. Nole has to beat Rafa more than once on clay before I consider him a favorite on that surface against Rafa.