Sunday, 23 September, 2018


Roland Garros final day recap: Rafael Nadal's dynasty

Beads of sweat run from Spain's Rafael Nadal's face as he prepares to serve against Austria's Dominic Thiem in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadi Roland Garros final day recap: Rafael Nadal's dynasty
Noah Ferguson | 14 June, 2018, 11:57

But Halep not only made it to the semifinals, she beat 2017 US Open champion Stephens 3-6 6-4 6-1 in the title match on Saturday (Sunday NZT) for her first Grand Slam trophy after three losses in major finals.

"It was the best match tournament of me".

Nadal has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, three short of Roger Federer, the tennis yin to his yang, who has won a record 20.

Nadal had been in the final of the hallowed red clay event 10 times before but he revealed a human side with a group of weak returns from misfired forehands, which Thiem pounced on with point-killing blows to remain even at 4-4. The French Open statisticians are nicer than they should be, as all but one of Thiem's 19 errors in that stretch were unforced (officially, 12 were unforced and seven were forced).

Just like that, Nadal was off on a five-game burst to lead 3-0 in the second set. Only Thiem's 2016 victory over Nadal in Buenos Aires was a success on non-quick clay. "Dominic is an opponent who is very aggressive, very hard to play, with big shots".

This is the 11th French Open title and 17th Grand Slam for the Spaniard.

He saved another two in the 11-minute sixth game, a performance cheered by the crowd who briefly became more animated when glum-looking French football icon Zinedine Zidane was spotted in the stadium. He lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in five sets in the first round at the claycourt Major, that sent his ranking tumbling. The Austrian had trouble with the Nadal serve, and he gave up an easy hold.

Dominic Thiem of Austria was no match for the veteran, and the cramp was simply the latest in a significant string of fitness issues which have plagued Nadal over the course of the competition. Thiem was still on the back foot in the third set, being forced to save four break points in the first game. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him.

Nadal added another US Open crown at Arthur Ashe Stadium in NY in 2013 and a third past year.

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts as he plays Austria's Dominic Thiem during the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Sunday

The Austrian speared a 222 kilometers per hour ace just for good measure in the fourth game to save a break point.

Even this year, injury has continued to hound Nadal with a hip problem forcing him to quit his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic.

"So Rafael Nadal got away with one there, there's no doubt".

Thiem however was able to hold serve regularly and had a chance to get back on serve but his break chance at 2-4 evaporated when Nadal hit a sublime drop shot, then passing shot.

Thiem started the match quite poorly.

Rafael Nadal bids for his record-extending 11th French Open championship when he faces Dominic Thiem in the final.

With 8770 points, he remains just 100 points ahead of his biggest nemesis, Roger Federer.

Thiem now needed to win three straight sets against Nadal on clay - and the lone person to do that was Djokovic in their 2015 quarterfinal.

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