Ruthless Nadal crushes Del Potro to set up final with Thiem

Heather Diaz
June 10, 2018

Del Potro failed to break Nadal, while Rafa broke him five times.

Nadal may be historically dominant, writes Jack Houghton, but Sunday's final could be a changing-of-the-guard, and an aggressive approach to the Set Betting market is the call. He doesn't cede a thing and he doesn't let up.

Nadal was broken three times and lost the opening set of his quarterfinal Wednesday against 11th-seeded Diego Schwartzman of Argentina by a score of 6-4.

The 24-year-old Thiem, the youngest man since Nadal to reach the final in Paris, ended the contest on his first match point with a forehand victor.

"You know when you start the clay court season that Dominic, he's one of these players that have the chance to win every tournament that he's playing, and maybe even more here in Roland Garros because he's strong physically".

Thiem remains confident that history won't repeat itself on Sunday, adding he will arrive on Court Philippe Chatrier with a clear mind.

Del Potro saved one but a backhand error handed Nadal the set and he never took a backward glance after that. It's not a bad idea, but I do think certain players shouldn't do it, like [Zverev]. But I get closer to them, just asking who was it? "We don't have to forget that, we have to be aware of that, but also not give too much importance to that otherwise it can get in your head and it's not helping". If he wins the game, OK.

"I've gone a very long way now and I don't want to lose the final, otherwise it's not a very nice feeling", he said. I always hear from players that in a match they will do it differently, but if you don't practice that way, you are not going to do it in the heat of the battle.

Del Potro had required treatment on a hip problem suffered early in the first set and he visibly wilted in the second, raising his arms in mock celebration when he won a solitary game while already 5-0 behind. He missed the tournament every year from 2013-16 because of injuries, including three operations on his left wrist. "I will play my game against (Stephens) as I did a year ago", Halep said.

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"But anyway, I did a attractive tournament, better than expected".

Being that far back, it's almost impossible for Nadal to consistently return the ball deep into his opponent's court, but that hasn't affected him the way traditional tennis X's and O's would suggest. Both defeats have been at the hands of Thiem.

This included a quarter-final success in Madrid last month.

So, if a player as good as Thiem is on clay is still struggling for parity with Nadal, and there is no other obvious contender to trouble him, his path to at least 13 or 14 French titles would seem to be one covered in rose petals - if he stays healthy. He lost at this stage to eventual champions Novak Djokovic in 2016 and Rafael Nadal in 2017.

In Saturday's women's final, number one Simona Halep of Romania will face number 10 Sloane Stephens of the United States.

The fifth seed, playing in his first Roland Garros semi-final in nine years, had three break points in the third game and three more in the ninth.

Thiem's massive forehand allowed him to race into a 5-2 lead in the tiebreak.

Bresnik has taken plenty of flak through the years for pushing Thiem to play such a dense tournament schedule, but the coach has long insisted that it is part of a master plan to build a resilient champion.

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