Ruthless Nadal crushes Del Potro to reach final

Jun 10, 2018, 03:13
Ruthless Nadal crushes Del Potro to reach final

Plenty have gone in with sound tactical plans against the 16-times Grand Slam champion in Paris but when the forehand bombardment begins, the best-laid plans usually fall apart as was the case in Friday's semi-final when Nadal thrashed Juan Martin del Potro who many thought posed a credible threat.

Thiem has yet to prove that he can stay with Nadal in a best-of-five-set match, losing in the second round of the French Open in 2014, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3, and again in the French Open semifinals previous year by the lopsided and deflating score of 6-3, 6-4, 6-0, after plenty of prematch buildup.

Once Nadal stole the opener with a break in the 10th game it was one-way traffic as he left Del Potro trailing in a cloud of Parisian clay dust to set up a final against Dominic Thiem.

Nadal will become only the second man in the Open era to play in more than 10 finals at the same Grand Slam when he takes on Dominic Thiem on Sunday - Roger Federer being the other with his Wimbledon exploits.

Thiem is the only man to beat Nadal on clay this year, having triumphed at the quarter-finals in Madrid Masters event and also earned success in last year's Italian Open in Rome. For me it's incredible.

"My feeling is on Sunday I have a very hard match against a player that is playing great", said Nadal, who has won six times out of nine matches against Thiem, including in the semifinals of the previous French Open. "I don't feel the pressure now in semifinals", Nadal said. After holding there, Nadal broke del Potro to take that set and was on his way, taking 14 of the past 17 games.

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.

In a total of 21 sets played, Nadal and Thiem have contested just two tie-breaks, or one around every 10 or 11 sets. Del Potro had forced six break points during the first set, but the Spaniard fended each one off.

Nadal crushed Del Potro's spirit with the intensity of his tennis in the second set, bounding 5-0 ahead before the Argentine registered a game to lift the spirits of his fans.

Thiem insists he has a "plan" against Nadal, one which he hopes translates to the longer best-of-five set format.

Cecchinato, the world number 72, played fearlessly and used his whole arsenal of claycourt weapons, but he came up short against the only player to beat Nadal on his favourite surface this season.

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

There were two massive underdogs competing in the men's semifinals at the French Open on Friday.

The final between Nadal and Thiem is expected to get underway around 2pm United Kingdom time on Sunday.

In 2016, Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.

Thiem then held his serve at love for a 2-0 lead.

Cecchinato's nerves settled and the Sicilian unleashed some trademark backhand winners but Thiem had too much pace and power.

Thiem weathered three set points for Cecchinato, at 7-6, 9-8 and 10-9. If not, you have the second and the third sets of today's match, it speaks for itself.

Of the 31 sets they've had available to play in their matches, they've used only 21, or 67%, only once requiring more than the bare minimum of sets.

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