Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Nadal beats del Porto, advances to final

Rafael Nadal's French Open set streak ends in quarterfinals WATCH: Del Potro directs frustration at Paris spectator
Jennie Wade | 10 June, 2018, 16:59

The world number one is still the overwhelming favorite to pick up his 11th French Open title, but former victor Mats Wilander thinks Juan Martin del Potro, Nadal's semi-final opponent could cause him some troubles.

Nadal dominated the Argentine in three sets, beating him 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in the clay court bout.

"With Nadal, you need to play at the top level, I would say, minimum, three hours, otherwise don't even think about having a chance to win", said Bresnik.

"I am very happy to be in another Roland Garros final, it is the most important tournament of my career". For me it's incredible.

"Sometimes you play better, sometimes you are more nervous".

On Sunday, Nadal will face No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian who reached his first Grand Slam final by eliminating unseeded Marco Cecchinato in straight sets.

However, the 32-year-old, who has won 16 Grand Slam titles, including 10 on the famous red clay, showed no signs of weakness when play resumed on Court Philippe Chatrier as he grabbed 12 of the first 13 points to lead by a break after he capped the second set.

Nadal is looking to win his 11th French Open, whereas Thiem is aiming for his first Grand Slam title. "And I will try just to be calm during the match and try everything I can".

Thiem has beaten Nadal on clay in each of the past two seasons, including just a few weeks ago on clay in Madrid, so that will certainly boost his confidence.

Brett: I don't know if Rafael Nadal would've lost to Diego Schwartzman if there wasn't the delay, but the delay certainly didn't hurt the ten-time Roland Garros champion.

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His only defeats in the tournament came in the 2009 fourth round against Robin Soderling and in the 2015 quarter-finals against Novak Djokovic.

"The big key was the second-set tiebreak because it was very close and I saved I think three set points", Thiem said after the match.

There was a sense of inevitability in the air when Del Potro served at 4-5 and sure enough Nadal turned the screws to grab two set points at 15-40. Del Potro had forced six break points during the first set, but the Spaniard fended each one off.

Young pretender - and perhaps heir to the throne - Dominic Thiem has been dubbed the Prince of Clay and he will get a shot at the undisputed ruler of the Parisian land for more than a decade.

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.

'Good thing is I played a lot of good matches this clay court season.

Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash told BBC Radio 5 live that Nadal's experience makes victory "tough for Thiem".

In 2016, Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.

Thiem had to weather three set points for Cecchinato, at 7-6, 9-8 and 10-9. The most recent meeting was in this years Rome Masters, a match Thiem won in straight sets.

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