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Dominic Thiem books first major final at French Open

12 June, 2018, 10:56 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Top seed Rafael Nadal Simona Halep cruise through to quarter-finals Serena Williams withdraws on Day 10 of French Open

On Friday, del Potro was by far the better player in the first set while, in the quarter-finals, Diego Schwartzman won the first set.

"He likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure".

Anything can happen in a Grand Slam final.

The Argentine has never beaten Nadal on clay. "It's going to be a tough one but I will fight all the way".

Thiem, who was playing in his third successive French Open semi-final, admitted the second set had been a nervy encounter after needing five set points to get through it.

Thiem was the aggressor early on and he broke in the first game before holding to love for a 2-0 lead. "I played a great match against a great player", said Nadal. Some of the moves and shots he displayed against del Poltro were throwbacks to 2010 and 2011.

"I'm so happy to be in the final again", said Nadal afterward. However, Thiem did beat Nadal on the clay of Madrid last month. Nadal is 49-2 since 2017 when playing on clay.

Thiem does indeed have punching power: both with his serve and his groundstrokes, with the forehand doing most of the damage.

The Austrian is hitting is stride, and seems to be in his prime, and so we could be in for a compelling final. This year marks another successful run at Roland Garros for the rising tennis star. The problem is executing it. Nadal is an astounding 85-2 at Roland Garros, with his only defeats coming against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and against Djokovic in the quarterfinals in 2015.

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But Del Potro bided his time, applied some pressure at 5-5 and Australian Open runner-up Cilic cracked.

"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. At this point, tennis enthusiasts would likely welcome it - but might just as well appreciate Nadal if he were to overpower his way to another Coupe des Mousquetaires piece of hardware. "If Nadal gives him opportunities, he should be confident enough to go for the kill", Becker pointed out. Both in 2017 and 2018, the Austrian youngster was the only man to beat Nadal at a clay-court Masters tournament (although he went on to lose both to Alexander Zverev) and he is well aware of the fact.

Croatian Cilic played an bad game when serving for the set, making four unforced errors, but he was gifted another chance to serve it out after breaking Del Potro again and levelled the match at the second time of asking.

If Thiem's going to be able to overcome Nadal, beating the backhand is vital.

Thiem, who ended the Cinderella stint of Italy's Marco Cecchinato 7-5 7-6 (12-10) 6-1, is one of only three men to topple Nadal at least three times on the "terre battue".

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.

40 - Halep became the first woman from Romania to claim a Grand Slam title since her current manager, Virginia Ruzici, won the French Open 40 years ago.

Cecchinato had never won a grand slam match until the French Open.

The No. 1-seeded Spaniard, who has lost just one set in his march to the final, will look to capture a record-extending 11th title - and 17th major overall - on Court Philippe-Chatrier against Dominic Thiem on Sunday.

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