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French Open glance: Nadal taking on Thiem in final

12 June, 2018, 10:55 | Author: Tommie Newton
  • Top seed Rafael Nadal Simona Halep cruise through to quarter-finals Serena Williams withdraws on Day 10 of French Open

"It is nearly impossible to beat Rafa".

Nadal wins his 11th French Open title.

The first set was a tight affair, with Thiem claiming the decisive break in the 11th game but the Italian retained his composure to send the second to a tie-break.

Nadal eyes 11th French Open title, faces Thiem in final "The men's final echoes what happened in Madrid with the greatest phenomenon on clay taking on the only player to have beaten him on that surface this year".

The first semi-final was between Thiem and surprise semifinalist, Marco Cecchinato, and it was a hard fought match with the first two sets setting the court alight.

He beat the Spaniard in the Madrid quarter-finals this year having won in the Rome last-eight in 2017.

She improved in the second set, breaking early on only to be pegged back at 4-4 before Halep held a marathon ninth game and broke for a 6-1 6-4 win. That crucial early juncture altered the course of things, though.

But as the record so clearly shows, no one has ever applied more physical and mental pressure for so long to opponents on clay than Nadal.

The Serb has a deal of work to do to get back to the stratospheric levels he reached before his right elbow gave up on him so spectacularly a year ago. It is his most one-sided final win since allowing Federer just four games in the 2008 final.

"Even if it was 6-3 6-4, it was an uncomfortable match for me", Nadal said. "That's the only way for me to approach the tough moments".

The above table clearly demonstrates the sheer domination that the likes of Borg and Nadal have had on clay. So there was mild concern when Nadal called for the trainer midway through a game, requiring treatment on what looked like cramp in his hand. I know I have to play at my best.

Nadal and Thiem have met nine times - all of them on clay. "Nadal in four sets". I know I have to play my best tennis to have a chance on Sunday. He then played an ATP 250 tournament in Lyon the very week before French Open, an often unheard practice from a top 10 player ahead of a Slam - and won it - just to keep the momentum going.

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This included a quarter-final success in Madrid last month.

Thiem, 24, has a losing record against both Nadal (3-6) and Del Potro (0-4) but he is the only man to have defeated the Spaniard on clay in the last two years.

The 25-year-old was banned for match-fixing in 2016, a penalty overturned on appeal.

Cecchinato's bid to become the spoiler's spoiler ended, for all intents and purposes, when he was unable to convert any of three set points in an entertaining second-set tiebreaker that was the middle chapter of Thiem's 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 win.

"It was not a very nice feeling", Thiem said.

He still occasionally inconvenienced the reigning champion, not least when a deft drop shot brought up a point to break back at 2-4.

The No. 7-seeded Thiem beat Cecchinato 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 in the semifinals Friday. Thiem got to 10-all with a drop shot of his own.

That 61-minute set sucked the life out of the crowd favourite and Thiem pounced, quickly moving to a double break at 5-0 in the third set.

"That was definitely the key to the match", Cecchinato said.

"After that, my level dropped".

Nadal has won every final he has contested at Roland-Garros, so it looks like there will only be one outcome when the pair meet on Sunday.


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