Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Nadal thumps Del Potro to ease into French Open final against Thiem

Nadal thumps Del Potro to ease into French Open final against Thiem

Rafael Nadal is coming off a straight sets win over Juan Martín del Potro that took 25 games to decide.

The seventh seed, the first Austrian man to reach a Grand Slam final since Thomas Muster triumphed at Roland Garros in 1995, is the only player to beat Nadal on his favourite surface this season.

If Nadal's march toward an 11th championship at Roland Garros was going to be stopped on this day, things were going to have to go del Potro's way right then. For me it's incredible. I mean, not many players can beat him on clay. "I know I have to play my best if I want to have chances".

"But for me, I believe that there are limited chances in your career", he said.

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.

"It's not easy. I've been on court just a couple of minutes ago".

Rafael Nadal held serve in the opening game against Juan Martin del Potro in their French Open semifinal. He's never even been pushed to five sets in those contests.

6-1 defeat of surprise semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato ended that miserable streak, and Thiem, who has already beaten Nadal on clay this season, could now face the defending champion in the tournament decider. "That gave me the possibility to play much better later on the match".

"It's a very nice feeling to come through that and make the final here for the first time".

World 72 Cecchinato had knocked out three seeded players to reach the semi-finals, including 12-time major victor Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

While Thiem faces an nearly impossible task on Sunday, Nadal was taking nothing for granted against the man who beat him in Madrid. "But I guess the way he's been playing the last three sets yesterday and the last two sets today is going to help give him confidence", said Moya on Friday.

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World number 38 Khachanov accelerated away with the third set, earning a double break after Zverev missed a chance to hit back. I might as well stay on court and entertain you guys", the 21-year-old Zverev joked with the crowd in Paris .

The battle wore on and on, before, on the Austrian's fifth set point, Cecchinato went long to fall two sets behind.

It was the first time in three years that Nadal had dropped a set in Paris.

"Rafa is playing every point better, from the beginning to the last point of the match", del Porto said.

This historical analysis doesn't lend itself to fancying Thiem's chances of denying Nadal an 11th French Open title this afternoon, and neither did my model pricing either.

The 37-set run was Nadal's longest at the French Open.

We picked up a victor in Friday's semi-final with Rafa Nadal comprehensively thrashing Juan Martin Del Potro, to cover the -6.5 game handicap easily.

Nadal acknowledged that Thiem has been a "very complex" opponent.

Thiem weathered three set points for Cecchinato, at 7-6, 9-8 and 10-9.

Last year, Nadal completed a "Decima" in Paris, lifting the trophy without dropping a set and losing just 35 games in total. Then Thiem got to 10-all with a drop shot of his own.

"That was definitely the key to the match", Cecchinato said.

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