Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Thiem and Nadal win in straight sets to reach French Open final

French Open: Ruthless Rafael Nadal punishes Juan Martin del Potro in semi-final Nadal overcomes nerves to meet del Potro in French Open semi-finals
Cary Erickson | 13 June, 2018, 06:34

Perfectionist Rafael Nadal went through his routine with military precision on the eve of a French Open final battle with an opponent who learned all about being well-drilled during a national service stint.

In his 24th Grand Slam final‚ Nadal will face Thiem who ended Marco Cecchinato's French Open fairytale‚ reaching his first major final with a 7-5‚ 7-6 (12/10)‚ 6-1 victory.

Two breaks later Nadal was in a familiar position, serving for the title, and when another Thiem forehand dropped long, his arms were raised in celebration, yet again.

Paris: Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal on Friday outclassed Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro to storm into his record 11th final of the French Open with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win in the men's semi-final clash.

One big difference in this meeting is that those two matches that went Thiem's way were best-of-three-set events. "So there is not 10 more chances to keep playing here".

The world No. 8 made history of his own Friday, becoming the second Austrian male to advance to a grand slam final after the hard-nosed 1995 French Open champion, Thomas Muster.

There have, however, appeared to be one or two chinks in Nadal's armour at Roland Garros this year.

With his strong clay court play as of late, Nadal is not necessarily walking into this match the clearcut favorite.

Breaking serve in the first game and bouncing to a 4-2 lead, Thiem controlled proceedings before Cecchinato reeled off the next three games with trademark flair and adventure.

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Regarded as Nadal's natural successor, Thiem unleashed a searing bombardment on the Italian before the contest became complicated. But Nadal restored his authority with a 7-5 6-3 win in Monte Carlo later that year. "When (Thiem) is dominating the point, he is very unsafe".

The seventh seed lost to Nadal at the semi-final stage in the French capital past year however and will be in uncharted territory when he plays the defending champion.

The second set proved particularly tough before the dominance of the seventh seed eventually told against a player who had stunned Serbia's Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals. He likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure. Best of five is also a different story. I have a plan.

Too good for almost everyone, nearly every time, on clay.

The win continues Nadal's undefeated run on championship weekend in Roland Garros - the Spaniard has never lost in Paris after reaching the semifinals.

"I think it is possible to compete every day... against players from the top 10, top 20, top 30", said Cecchinato, whose next stop will be the Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Eastbourne.

Nadal's French Open campaign did not begin quite as smoothly as he has grown accustomed to, with the world #1 forced to save three set points to progress in straight sets 6-4 6-3 7-6 against Bolelli.

He is the only man to beat Nadal on clay over the past two seasons, doing so twice. When he first halted play, Nadal removed that tape, which he said let his circulation improve.