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Rafael Nadal reaches French Open final

12 June, 2018, 04:48 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Rafael Nadal celebrates a point against Juan Martin Del Potro in the French Open semifinals on June 8.
Cameron Spencer  
Getty Images

Not only does Nadal boast the best win percentage on a surface, a staggering 91.89%, he has also won more than 60% of the clay court events he has played in. It will be followed by the all-American matchup between Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens.

At long last, Thiem converted his fifth set point when Cecchinato sent a forehand long. Rain meant that the final was completed on Monday which was tough on Djokovic who was a break up in the fourth set when the match was halted for the night.

But Nadal, 32, is nothing if not a hard worker who loves a challenge, and even if winning another French Open would hardly be a novelty, that should not diminish the achievement.

Rafael Nadal held serve in the opening game against Juan Martin del Potro in their French Open semifinal.

The world number one has won all five of his meetings with 11th seed Schwartzman.

Once Nadal stole the opener with a break in the 10th game, it was one-way traffic as he left Del Potro trailing in a cloud of Parisian clay dust to set up a final against Dominic Thiem.

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.

-Tennis Channel Plus features up to 10 courts of live action from Roland Garros beginning Sunday, May 27 at 5:00am ET.

I won't be going in again and backing Thiem in the final, but I won't be trading out of my pre-tournament bet either.

Cecchinato, who was suspended for match-fixing in 2016 before being cleared on a technicality, proved to be no pushover even though he had never won a match at a major before this year's French Open.

Dominic Thiem celebrates his semifinal victory over Marco Cecchinato at the French Open on June 8.
Matthew Stockman  
Getty Images
Dominic Thiem celebrates his semifinal victory over Marco Cecchinato at the French Open on June 8. Matthew Stockman Getty Images

Appearing in his third consecutive appearance in the final four at Roland Garros, Thiem finally got to face someone other than eventual champions Nadal (2017) or Novak Djokovic (2016), and he took full advantage. Now, del Potro will seek to break it open and steal a win on Friday.

"He is a nightmare opponent for Nadal", three-times French champion Wilander, hosting Eurosport's flagship Game, Schett and Mats programme at Roland Garros, told Reuters. "If I lost that tiebreak it would have been a very close match and I didn't want that. Being in a final here is something I should rejoice about and be happy about", he said.

"The only way to beat Rafa on clay is to take risks.to over-achieve you have to over-play and risk more than you feel comfortable doing", Wilander said. The second set like, the first was dominated by serve until Cilic fired himself up to break at 4-4 - a furious Del Potro throwing his racket at the changeover.

Top-ranked Simona Halep will have another shot in the French Open final.

However, having squandered one set point, he went in for a simple backhand volley victor only to dump it into the net.

Also back in action after a suspension was the quarterfinal between past U.S. Open champions Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro.

At the press conference following the game, Nadal was asked what "biological age" he was at after a study which showed Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was just 23 (the footballer is actually ten years older than that). Coincidentally, the only time he has looked in any danger was on day 11 when Diego Schwartzman, the 11th seed, took the only set of the tournament off him.

One of those was a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 rout in the Roland Garros semi-finals 12 months ago.

"Could he beat Nadal in the final, probably not, but Nadal is not guaranteed to get to the final".

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