Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

French Open glance: Nadal taking on Thiem in final | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

French Open glance: Nadal taking on Thiem in final | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Nadal sealed his place with a convincing 6-4 6-1 6-2 win over Juan Martin del Potro to reach an 11th French Open final.

THE only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay in two years, Dominic Thiem has earned the right to press for the ultimate: the Spaniard's French Open crown.

If Thiem is, as he is widely regarded, the second best clay-court player in the world then he probably has a few more of these pummellings to look forward to at least until Nadal, 32, finally calls it a day.

"It was a really close tiebreak and I didn't want that especially after I missed an easy volley at 6/4".

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. So there was mild concern when Nadal called for the trainer midway through a game, requiring treatment on what looked like cramp in his hand.

Nadal won the pair's only previous two meetings at the French Open, including their semi-final clash a year ago, but Thiem is confident he can upset the world number one on Sunday. "He beat me in Madrid‚ he has big power so I have to be at my best and improve‚" said Nadal.

Caty McNally and Cori Gauff will meet in an all-American girls' final at the French Open after winning their semifinals.

He saved three break points in his first service game but a wayward backhand ensured Nadal took the fourth.

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.

Thiem survived two tough sets against Marco Cecchinato before cruising through the third for a 7-5, 7-6, 6-1 success.

He takes on rising tennis star Dominic Thiem for the title.


Nadal has dropped only one set so far in reaching the final - one more than he conceded in winning the 2017 title.

And the first set was indeed tight, even with del Potro calling for the trainer at 2-3.

Nadal, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, claimed his 85th win here against just two losses after weathering a big-hitting opening from 2009 US Open victor Del Potro to win 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

Nadal has a 6-3 career ATP singles record against the young Austrian.

Nadal will retain the world number one ranking if he wins - but that will be the last thing on his mind.

"You can win a set, but not a match against Rafa", said Del Potro keen not to over-egg any hint of weakness in Nadal's game.

Nadal is looking as comfortable as ever on the Philippe Chatrier court where has previously won the title 10 times.

The 16th-seeded Gauff, who is 14 years old, beat 15th-seeded Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 6-3.

Converted to dollars, the French Open's total offering comes out at $46.3m - ahead of Wimbledon's $45.6m and the Australian Open's $44.5m. That would move him to within three of the all-time mark of 20 held by Roger Federer.

Del Potro, the US Open victor in 2009, is playing the tournament for only the second time since 2012 after a spate of injuries.

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