Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Imperious Nadal Downs Thiem To Claim 11th Roland Garros Title

Rafael Nadal is eyeing 11th French Open title WATCH: Del Potro directs frustration at Paris spectator
Lucia Summers | 12 June, 2018, 14:17

The victor will play either seventh seed Dominic Thiem, who appears in his third straight semi-final in Paris or Italian Marco Cecchinato, who will hope to continue his dream run having beaten former champion Novak Djokovic in the last round.

"It's the same old refrain with Rafael Nadal but there's two things I keep on hearing in analysis about beating him".

"If I lost that tie-break it would have been a very close match and I didn't want that". Nadal's poor play will finally be punished this tournament.

Thiem went for the jugular in the third set and after racing to a 4-0 lead in double quick, he finished off the job to reach his first Grand Slam final. Nadal has won 11 straight matches on clay court.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion has been in imperious form in the ongoing clay-court swing of the season, winning 24 and losing just one match.

At least Thiem can boast being the only man to have defeated Nadal on clay in the last two years.

Rafael Nadal held serve in the opening game against Juan Martin del Potro in their French Open semifinal.

"When (Thiem) is dominating the point, he is very risky".

Fitness permitting, Nadal is arguably the most in-form player in world tennis at the present moment and his record at Roland Garros is barely believable.

Now Thiem is back for another attempt after navigating a draw that included 19th-seeded Kei Nishikori, the second-seeded Zverev and on Friday, the unseeded Italian surprise Marco Cecchinato in a semifinal that Thiem won, 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1, after saving three set points in the second-set tiebreaker.

The 11th-seeded Schwartzman appeared to have done his homework well as he dominated the early exchanges to bag the opening set: an achievement in itself as it was the first one Nadal had lost at Roland Garros since 2015. It is worth relaying, though, that in last year's semifinal, Nadal dropped just seven games total against the Austrian.

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Nadal simply had too much power and consistency for Argentina's fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro in the match that followed.

Cecchinato, who was suspended for match-fixing in 2016 before being cleared on a technicality, proved to be no pushover even though he had never won a match at a major before this year's French Open.

Nadal broke to take that set and was on his way, taking 14 of the last 17 games. "Good tactics and mentality in the first set". At No. 72, he is the lowest-ranked French Open semifinalist since 1999.

Thiem has split his last 10 final appearances and is 8-5 in career final appearances on clay.

"I can not believe it now", Karin Thiem, a tennis coach, told a group of reporters.

The first set had taken 57 minutes, in stiflingly humid conditions, but there was to be no let-up for the underdog in the second. "It's going to be a tough one but I will fight all the way". But now I am so happy.

The smile never left her face.

As confident as he is, Thiem is well aware that it will take a huge effort if he is to join Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic as the only men to have beaten Nadal at Roland Garros.

He concluded, however, by saying: "It's not easy".

Del Potro, whose height makes him less vulnerable against Nadal's top spin, should have gone for the jugular to disrupt Nadal's well-oiled routine on Court Philippe Chatrier, said Wilander.

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