Monday, 20 August, 2018

Thiem ends Cecchinato fairytale to reach French Open final

Top seed Rafael Nadal Simona Halep cruise through to quarter-finals Serena Williams withdraws on Day 10 of French Open WATCH: Del Potro directs frustration at Paris spectator
Frederick Owens | 12 June, 2018, 14:19

What I've done to legitimise the process and outcome is identified some of the greatest single-surface players that the game has seen in the Open Era, and drawn up a statistical comparison on multiple parameters.

"I think that was my chance of the match". Again, Nadal finished the tournament without having dropped a set. The French Open, like all Grand Slam tournaments, is best-of-five for men. The best? Roger Federer, of course, who's made 30 Grand Slam finals and won 20 of them.

The victor of 10 French, three US Open, two Wimbledon and one Australian Open titles has won 87 of his 89 matches at the French. He has already won titles in Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid while the only loss came in the quarter-final of Madrid Open against fellow French Open semi-finalist, Dominic Thiem.

Del Potro missed six break points in the opener, including three at 4-4.

"Not a very nice feeling", Thiem said.

Del Potro insisted his hip had not troubled him during the match, instead putting the defeat down to one simple fact: "His game is too good for me".

Thiem improved on serve during the second set, facing zero break points, but he was not able to seize on any of the three break points as the set went to the tie break.

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. It was part of a run in which he claimed 14 of the last 17 games to overwhelm the No. 5-seeded del Potro 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 and earn yet another spot in the title match at Court Philippe Chatrier. This second break was not just decisive, it was a intuitive point from the Austrian that showed his match awareness.

But Nadal, 32, is nothing if not a hard worker who loves a challenge, and even if winning another French Open would hardly be a novelty, that should not diminish the achievement. His last few seasons have been marked by inconsistency and injury, and Diego Schwartzman demonstrated that there are weaknesses to be exploited in Nadal's game.

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

And on the penultimate point of the semifinal, after being run ragged, the 2009 US Open victor could only offer up a smile. "He's the biggest in our sport in Austria", he said.

Thiem led 6-3 but suddenly lost focus.

He put out seeded players Pablo Carreno Busta and David Goffin before the seismic shock of knocking out 2016 champion Djokovic in the quarter-finals. "I was so nervous before the match because I knew it would be a tough match".

"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. Being in a final here is something I should rejoice about and be happy about", he said.

So what will he need to do to counter the credible threat of Thiem, the only man to beat him on clay this year, on Sunday?

He concluded, however, by saying: "It's not easy. I'll try my best and hopefully do better than previous year".

Del Potro said resuming a match at 5-5 in a tiebreak with his serve to come had been a odd situation but his aim was true and he moved 6-5 ahead before his cagey backhand slice induced a poor forehand error by Cilic.

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