Published: Sat, June 09, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

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 will face Dominic Thiem in the final of the French Open final after coasting to a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory in his semi-final against the Argentinian Juan Martín del Potro.

The second set was also dominated by serve until Cilic fired himself up to break at 4-4 - a furious del Potro throwing his racket at the changeover.

Nadal's match against the fifth-seeded del Potro on Friday will mark his third consecutive day of competition, though the 10-time Roland Garros champion isn't fazed by the extra work. Dominic Thiem has found a way to sprinkle Kryptonite into the clay courts of the great European capitals once in each of the past two seasons, defusing Rafael Nadal's superpowers in Madrid and in Rome.

"It is nearly impossible to beat Rafa", said Del Potro who had his chances but failed to convert any of his seven break points before his challenge petered out into tired hopelessness. After he held there, that was pretty much that for del Potro.

A superb backhand crosscourt pass helped Nadal to make the crucial break and with it wrap up the opening set in 54 minutes, but what followed was a procession as Del Potro struggled to contain his frustrations at missing crucial chances to establish a lead.

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.

At least Thiem can boast being the only man to have defeated Nadal on clay in the last two years.

While Thiem faces an nearly impossible task on Sunday, Nadal was taking nothing for granted against the man who beat him in Madrid. He played some incredible aggressive tennis to get through Djokovic in the quarters, just like he played incredible aggressive tennis to get to the quarters.

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Cecchinato had never won a Grand Slam match before this year's Roland Garros but made the semis with a string of stunning wins.

"I don't have any obligation to win, first thing".

"If lost that tiebreak it would have been a very close match I think and I didn't want that".

He did not look unduly affected though and his heavy groundstrokes took a toll on Nadal, who rescued three more break points in the ninth game, one with a sublime drop shot.

"If he continues with this desire, he can win many more times, like Federer for Wimbledon, and other major tournaments", said Del Potro whose own Grand Slam collection remains stuck on one - his 2009 US Open breakthrough.

Cecchinato's career has been tainted by his involvement in a match-fixing scandal; he was banned for 18 months in 2016 before having the suspension overturned.

Thiem weathered three set points for Cecchinato, at 7-6, 9-8 and 10-9. "I felt that I was playing a little bit under more stress than usual, and he was able to take control of the point too many times", Nadal said about the match's start. Having squandered one set point, he went in for a simple backhand volley victor only to dump it into the net.

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