Rafael Nadal sees off Juan Martin del Potro, storms into final
13 Juin, 2018, 17:16 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
"That's the only way for me to approach the tough moments".
Nadal said of his cramp: "I was very, very scared". Nadal saved that second trio of break points Friday, held there, then broke in the next game to grab that set. "But in the end, it was not too hard".
The statistics illustrate Nadal's concerns - he has missed at least eight Slam tournaments in his career through a legacy of wrist and knee problems.
Rafael Nadal has defeated Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to win a record-extending 11th title at the French Open.
It was hard not to feel sympathy for Thiem, playing in his first grand slam final against a man who simply does not lose this particular battle.
Both players face each other in the Grand Slam final on Sunday. That began a run of four consecutive French Open triumphs through 2008. The two stars have combined to win the past six Slams.
Nadal will remain at the top of the ATP rankings ahead of Roger Federer.
Nadal has a 6-3 record against the seventh-seeded Thiem but the Austrian player prevailed the last time they met, in Madrid last month.
But those are not quite the same as the French Open, where Nadal is 86-2 for his career.
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. Best of five is also a different story.
Truth is, there were not many the rest of the way, as Nadal finished with 35 winners and just 19 unforced errors.
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But at 4-5 Thiem's serve let him down badly, handing Nadal three set points. A forehand wide. A forehand into the net.
Nadal raced away with 14 of the last 17 games. If Thiem can not find the court enough with his attempted winners, then the match will swing in Nadal's favour. Yes, that's right: Thiem.
The punishment continued, with Thiem by now looking up to his coach and shrugging as another forehand whistled past him.
"To beat him in five sets on clay is hard".
Nadal dominated the Argentine in three sets, beating him 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in the clay court bout.
In Madrid, Thiem said the key was to be positive against Nadal. "I was not (in) control of my finger". "It has to be a player that plays extremely well", said the Swede. At the following changeover, he was given a salt pill by a doctor and had his left forearm massaged by a trainer. Over the past two years, including best-of-three matches, the Spaniard is 49-2 at clay tournaments.
Shortly, he'd be holding the silver trophy, the one he knows so well, and crying. He'll look for an 11th victory in the final against Dominic Thiem at 9 a.m. Sunday on Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris.
He said: "What you did and what you're doing it's one of the most awesoming things that (an) athlete ever achieved in sports, to win this tournament 11 times". It added more voices by the time 2008 rolled around.
"I couldn't play my best because of him", said del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion. "But here we are".
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