Monday, 20 August, 2018

Rafael Nadal ready for 'tough final' against Dominic Thiem on Sunday

GETTYRafael Nadal is in the French Open quarter-finals GETTYRafael Nadal is in the French Open quarter-finals
Jennie Wade | 13 June, 2018, 08:49

Paris: Ruthless Rafael Nadal punished Juan Martin del Potro for missed opportunities as he reached his 11th French Open final with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory on Friday. That led to 34 winners (eight more than Nadal) but also 42 unforced errors (18 more than Nadal).

Del Potro seemed to hurt his left hip during the third game of the match after getting wrong-footed and called the tournament doctor with Nadal leading 3-2.

Nadal did not have almost as hard a time against the fifth-seeded del Potro.

Thiem went through one pivotal stretch against Cecchinato, a 25-year-old from Sicily who never had won a Grand Slam match until this tournament and was the lowest-ranked men's semi-finalist at the clay-court major in 19 years.

"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. Over the past two years, including best-of-three matches, the Spaniard is 49-2 at clay tournaments.

Earlier, the Japanese duo won 6-2, 6-2 against Hao-Ching Chan of Taiwan and Zhaoxuan Yang of China 6-2, 6-2.

The No. 6-seeded pairing from the Czech Republic beat Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday.

Nadal then took the set 6-4 when Thiem hit a forehand long. Both players dropped serve four times.

However‚ the 29-year-old was unable to capitalise and Nadal made him pay in the 10th game when he claimed the opener off a netted backhand.

Rafael Nadal says he was "very scared" when he suffered cramp to his left hand in the third set of his French Open victory against Dominic Thiem.

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

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"I'm feeling so, so happy to make the right decision to play here".

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

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic have won the French Open for their first Grand Slam title in women's doubles. The two stars have combined to win the past six Slams. The Argentine dropped the second set against the Croat but came back strong to take the match 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

It was the Austrian's third consecutive appearance in the semifinals at Roland Garros. He lost to eventual champions Novak Djokovic in 2016 and Nadal in 2017.

Ten times he has lifted La Coupe des Mousquetaires and the "King of Clay" has looked as hungry as ever to retain his crown during yet another dominant run to an unprecedented 11th title in the French capital.

Nadal will face Austrian Dominic Thiem for the championship on Sunday. Their semifinal is later Friday.

While Thiem faces an nearly impossible task on Sunday, Nadal was taking nothing for granted against the man who beat him in Madrid. After breaking Nadal's serve to take the ninth game, Schwartzman hit a forehand victor at 40-30 to take the first set 6-4. He held the game with a combination serve and volley victor.

But while the Swiss has succumbed in three title matches in southwest London, Nadal has never tasted defeat in a final in southwest Paris, as Bresnik - and the rest of the tennis world - knows.

The boys' final at the French Open will pit top-seeded Sebastien Baez of Argentina against Chun Hsin Tseng from Taiwan.

Nadal has a 9-5 head-to-head record against del Potro.

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