GETTYDel Potro is not expected to pull off an upset against the world No 1
10 June, 2018, 20:29
Nadal retained the momentum in the second set, breaking his opponent in the second game and holding out to edge closer to yet another title at Roland Garros. The crowd responded, initially offering polite applause, then adding their voices, rising into a full-throated roar.
A left hand cramp in the third and final set proved to be no real obstacle for Nadal, the Spaniard showing he was approaching his best form ahead of the grass court season.
When the trainer visited Nadal in his quarterfinal for a similar issue, Nadal said it was simply to prevent sweat from traveling to his hand. "I was very scared".
Nadal now leads 2-0 in the second set, having won the first set 6-4.
The 32-year-old Spaniard also secured his 17th major trophy, which moves him within three of great rival Roger Federer's all-time record.
Nadal is now the fourth man in the Open Era to win three or more Grand Slams after turning 30, having won his third since turning 30.
"Nadal is the first one to tell you he doesn't believe in tennis perfection", Courier said on ITV. The world No. 8, too, was the last man to overcome Nadal on clay, last month in Madrid. If standard play would likely lead to a loss, why not try for the spectacular, instead?
The signs were already ominous for Thiem at that stage because in 112 best-of-five-set matches, Nadal had never lost after taking the first set. He attempted drop shots; some worked, some didn't.
Nadal struck 26 winners to Thiem's 34 yet made only 24 unforced errors to Thiem's 42, with "unforced errors" a relative term in Nadal Roland Garros matches.
It worked. For a bit. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him, so he changed into a fresh one at a changeover, drawing catcalls from spectators. A volley into the net.
He bagged the second set when Thiem sent a backhand long.
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