Sunday, 23 September, 2018


Nadal thumps Del Potro to ease into French Open final against Thiem

Rafa Nadal Rafa Nadal. AFP
Noah Ferguson | 12 June, 2018, 06:40

But as the Spaniard struggled to win points on his first serve, he was broken again for 5-4 and Schwartzman served for the set.

He saved three set points in the second before winning an epic tiebreak, something which Cecchinato has become famous for this year at Roland Garros.

The world number one, bidding for a record-extending 11th title, clinched the second set soon after the restart.

Schwartzman compiled a 20-4 edge in winners for the set, closing it with a forehand that landed right at the baseline. Basically, it's typical Nadal in the French Open. Their previous match up saw the Spaniard beat del Potro in straight sets in the opening round in 2007. Facing a rampaging Rafael Nadal on clay is a threat any day, but on the terre battue of Court Philippe Chatrier is akin to running with the bulls. What is also interesting to note is that Nadal and Borg have never lost French Open Finals, Sampras has never lost a Wimbledon Final, and Djokovic has never lost an Australian Open Final (not mentioned in the table as the US Open and Australian Open stats have been clubbed), clearly highlighting their big match mentality on the biggest stage, on their preferred surface. Thiem withstood a barrage of break points to hold in a marathon sixth game, which he thought he had won at 40-30 when he left a wide ball, only for the umpire to overrule the line judge. Nadal's had some challenges at Roland-Garros' championship stage over the years, but few athletes in any sport have ever been more acclimatized to a venue the way Nadal has owned the terra firma of Roland-Garros' grounds.

Rafael Nadal progressed to his 11th French Open semi-final on Thursday.

Despite rain delaying his passage through to the final, Rafa Nadal has continued his incredible Roland Garros record by reaching yet another showpiece in France.

Del Potro edged the early exchanges even though the scoreboard showed parity, testing Nadal on his service games and earning six break points as a result.

Nadal won at Roland-Garros and took the US Open trophy in 2017.

Thiem grabbed a 2-0 head start in the first set as his powerful serve was fully charged and his approach to the net ruthless against a nervy Cecchinato. "Being in a final here is something I should rejoice about and be happy about", he said.

"I played more aggressive".

Although at times during the first set against Del Potro, especially when he was 0-40 down at 1-1 and 15-40 down at 4-4 it looked as though he might be in for a real scrap. The Italian succumbed quickly in the third set, sparing the French Open from a final in which his past match-fixing case would have been rehashed under a global spotlight.

Muguruza, a two-time major champion, entered the semifinals having not lost a set in the tournament.

Also back in action after a suspension was the quarterfinal between past U.S. Open champions Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro.

"If Thiem can do that and build enough hope in the first hour, hour and a half, maybe get the first set he can make it physical like he did in Madrid".

Thiem was quick to respond, reeling off the next three games to take the set in 46 minutes.

No player in history has won as many grand slam titles at a single tournament as Nadal has in Paris.

The women's semifinals are also on Thursday's schedule.

Top seed Nadal, 32, trailed 6-4 3-5 when play was halted on Wednesday.

"Could he beat Nadal in the final, probably not, but Nadal is not guaranteed to get to the final".

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