Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Rolland Garros Final: Nadal vs Thiem

Rolland Garros Final: Nadal vs Thiem

If you listen to Thiem's coach, Gunter Bresnik, his chances of winning are akin to landing a million dollar jackpot.

The only thing that could stop Nadal now was surely an injury. "It doesn't matter what sport". He's not going to give you a free point if he is up 5-0 or down 5-0. Injuries have hampered the King of Clay throughout the past year.

Ruthless Rafael Nadal punished Argentine Juan del Potro for missed opportunities as he reached his 11th French Open final with a 6-4 6-1 6-2 victory on Friday.

Nadal is now just the second man to reach 11 finals at the same Slam‚ equalling Roger Federer's mark at Wimbledon.

Nadal, in an on-court interview, also said he's sure that runner-up Thiem will win the tournament in "the next couple of years".

Yet Bresnik obviously isn't throwing in the towel.

Dominic Thiem says he has a plan to beat Rafael Nadal when he faces the reigning champion in the French Open final.

Thiem is also the first Austrian to reach a grand slam final at Roland Garros since Thomas Muster's victory in 1995.

"Forget the 10 (French Open titles) and forget what happened previous year, Thiem has to remember what happened in Madrid which is a title Nadal wants to win nearly as much as the French", Wilander, Eurosport's chief analyst, told Reuters. Those conditions might have contributed to the cramping that affected Nadal about two hours into the final, at 2-1 in the third set.

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"Second thing, if you don't feel the pressure, it's because you don't love the sport", said Nadal, who has never failed to win the title in Paris after reaching the semi-finals.

Prevailing on Nadal's favourite court in Paris over five sets will be far harder, however. Still, I know how to play against him. But after the loss, I go a little bit down mentally and physically.

And the underdog soon faded as Thiem kicked on, racing to two swift breaks in the third and rescuing two break points to serve out the match in style. He was not playing his best tennis. "He has the power".

However‚ it was Del Potro who was in the ascendancy in the rallies in the first set.

World number one Nadal edged a tight first set against Del Potro, but then simply blew the fifth seed away. Or at least not a blowout. "Good tactics and mentality in the first set". He has undergone four wrist surgeries but the issue, thankfully, was a minor hip complaint.

"You can win a set, but not a match against Rafa", said Del Potro keen not to over-egg any hint of weakness in Nadal's game.

It rarely is for Nadal at a place he has lorded over the way no other man ever has at any Grand Slam tournament. Nadal saved that second trio of break points Friday, held there, then broke in the next game to grab that set.

"It's tough to speak now", said an emotional Del Potro.

And on the penultimate point of the semifinal, after being run ragged, the 2009 US Open victor could only offer up a smile.

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Marco Cecchinato of Italy was defeated by Dominic Thiem of Austria during day thirteen of the 2018 French Open.

"The second-set tiebreak was the big key to the match, 100 per cent, because obviously he felt all the matches from these two weeks after that", the seventh seed said.

The 16th-seeded Gauff, who is 14 years old, beat 15th-seeded Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 6-3.

A fourth set point for Thiem vanished because of one of Cecchinato's many drop shots.

"I can not believe it now", Karin Thiem, a tennis coach, told a group of reporters. I don't want anyone to think that it's a routine.

The smile never left her face.

Robin Soderling, who famously inflicted Nadal's first defeat at the French Open in 2009, insists Thiem has to take the initiative from the start.

He concluded, however, by saying: "It's not easy".

"I told him he needed to hit the ball very high and try to come inside the court. It was nearly impossible to beat Nadal".

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