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'A little hope': Nadal vs Thiem in French Open final

13 June, 2018, 19:27 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Playing at Roland Garros was the right call admits jubilant Del Potro

But Nadal's domination on the Roland Garros clay, where his record now stands at 85-2, is without equal and he will be a huge favourite to beat Grand Slam final debutant Thiem. One down-the-line forehand victor landed right at the baseline, leaving Thiem sagging his shoulders and muttering.

More prize money is up for grabs than ever before at this year's French Open but it remains the least lucrative of the four Grand Slams for players to win. "He was a little unfortunate", said Nadal who reeled off 14 of the last 17 games, having seen Del Potro fail to convert any of his seven break points. After serving a fault, Nadal took the unusual step of heading to the sideline in the middle of a game.

Nadal appeared to be suffering with cramp in his left arm early in the third but even that discomfort could not derail him as the "King of Clay" extended his scarcely believable French Open win-loss record to 86-2, further underlining his status as the greatest of all time on the red dirt.

In the second-set tiebreaker Friday, Thiem went ahead 6-3, but missed out on three set points there, including a bad volley into the net at 6-4 that left him chewing ruefully on his left index finger.

"For me, the motivation to play here is always high, as high as possible", he said.

Thiem was on the couch, watching on TV, in 2005, when Nadal earned his first Grand Slam trophy in Paris at age 19.

Thiem has been to the semifinals in Paris three years in a row, but he lost to eventual champions Novak Djokovic in 2016, then Nadal in 2017.

"If Thiem can do that and build enough hope in the first hour, hour and a half, maybe get the first set he can make it physical like he did in Madrid".

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"Today, all day, on Philippe Chatrier, the fans said "Forza, Marco", so I think this is the best moment for me", said Cecchinato."Against Dominic Thiem, he is top 10, and today all the people were for me".

Rafael Nadal has consolidated his lead in the French Open final by breaking Dominic Thiem in the Austrian's first service game of the second set.

Nadal will retain the world number one ranking if he wins - but that will be the last thing on his mind.

"If you lose, you lose, but I'm going to play with my highest passion and love for the game and for the sport, to try to have success".

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 then crushed a tired looking Zverev 6-4 6-2 6-1 before halting the fairy tale run of Cecchinato 7-6 7-6 6-1. I played so many matches. Stephens won last year's U.S. Open; Halep is 0-3 in major finals.

It looks a daunting mission for the 24-year-old Thiem but not necessarily an impossible one. "It was nearly impossible to beat him", del Potro said.

Thiem has shown in the past that there is a way to beat Nadal on a clay court by simply hitting every ball as hard as he can.

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