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Nadal strolls to yet another French Open final

12 June, 2018, 23:31 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Juan Martin del Potro serves against Marin Cilic

"I thought that after nine years I will play a different one, not Rafa or Roger", he added. Nadal's introduction included a year-by-year accounting of every time he'd already won the French Open. And for good reason.

If Austrian Dominic Thiem does win on Sunday in what will be his first Grand Slam final he will join Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling as the only two players to down Nadal on his favourite claycourt battleground.

Thiem, who beat Nadal in Madrid this season, Rome a year ago and in Buenos Aires on clay in 2016, trails 3-6 in the pair's head-to-head.

"I think it helps, definitely, knowing that you were the last guy to beat him", said Bresnik, whose association with Thiem spans more than 15 years.

Thiem's ability to bully opponents from the baseline was on display in his 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 victory over No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals. I played two sets at the same level as Dominic Thiem.

"He's a big favorite against everybody", he told reporters. I felt that I was playing a little bit under more stress than usual, and he was able to take control of the point too many times.

"But I have a plan".

"Of course there is pressure especially in grand slam finals, because I went a very long way now and I don't want to lose the finals", he said.

Converting break points has become close to impossible against Nadal on the red clay of Paris. "Barely walking. Playing tennis next to a bunch of 5- and 6-year-old screaming kids", Murray recalled.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion has been in imperious form in the ongoing clay-court swing of the season, winning 24 and losing just one match. "He has the power".

Nadal won the second set in 53 minutes. Or at least not a blowout.

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Del Potro said resuming a match at 5-5 in a tiebreak with his serve to come had been a odd situation but his aim was true and he moved 6-5 ahead before his cagey backhand slice induced a poor forehand error by Cilic. He has undergone four wrist surgeries but the issue, thankfully, was a minor hip complaint.

Nadal, by contrast, had not had a sniff on Del Potro's serve until, at 5-4, two swishes of his forehand forced two set points, the second of which he converted when the Argentinian netted. The two traded games the remainder of the set, allowing Stephens to seal it on her serve in the 10th game.

Rafael Nadal is trailing by a set and is down a break at 3-2 in the second against Diego Schwartzman at Court Philippe Chatrier.

"It's tough to speak now", said an emotional Del Potro. At No. 72, he is the lowest-ranked French Open semifinalist since 1999.

Rain still starring in the French Open!

Thiem led 6-3 but suddenly lost focus.

One of those victories came against Thiem in last year's semi-final and was, if anything, more comprehensive than this one.

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

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".

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