Del Potro had required treatment on a hip problem suffered early in the first set and he visibly wilted in the second, raising his arms in mock celebration when he won a solitary game while already 5-0 behind. Next up on Philippe-Chatrier was Nadal-the King of Clay on his court-and he delivered a terrific performance, making del Potro look patently average en route to a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory.
Thiem is not only trying to overcome Nadal's massive psychological and experiential edge in his first-ever Grand Slam event final, but attempting to join an elite club of men who have elbowed their way into the Big Four's monopoly on major titles over the last 10 years. I'm not interested in these things, I just play tennis. "I have a plan".
Yesh: It has been nearly a decade since del Potro made the semifinals here.
"Just thinking in a positive way and just thinking that I have to hold".
"I don't give much attention to those studies". If he wins the game, OK. "He's one of the best players in the world on this surface", Nadal said. "I have never been arrogant", he said in Spanish late Friday, and as that has proved true throughout his long stay on a world stage, it also has lent fuel to some outrageous facts. Against Cecchinato, he had six aces and 37 winners to just 26 errors.
With his good run at Roland Garros, Del Potro is now guaranteed to return to the top four in the rankings for the first time in more than four years. He missed the tournament every year from 2013-16 because of injuries, including three operations on his left wrist.More news: Xi, Putin meet as United States tensions brings them closer
The big serves, the monstrous forehands and the clever changes in pace seemed to have an effect on Nadal in the first set.
Soon enough, he was yelling at himself, the very picture of exasperation thanks to Nadal's relentless ball-tracking and shotmaking. And what I'm really impressed of is that, you know, even though he won it 10 times, he's here to win 11 times. I think this is too good of an opportunity for Thiem to pass up.
Too good for almost everyone, nearly every time, on clay.
After struggling in his quarterfinal against Diego Schwartzman, Nadal is approaching his best form ahead of the final and hopes are high that the Spanish star will emerge victorious.
At least Thiem has in the past found the key to unravelling the Nadal clay court enigma.
Thiem is responsible for both of those losses - at Rome in May 2017, and at Madrid last month - which at least lends a little intrigue to Sunday's proceedings.
"It's not going to be easy but he's facing Dominic, we know he's the only player that beat him on clay the last couple of years".More news: Guatemala Volcano Toll Rises To 75; almost 200 People Still Missing
In what was expected to be a close encounter between Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro at the French Open Semifinal turned out to be exactly the opposite. The last time Del Potro contended a Grand Slam final, he won it at the 2009 US Open.
The clay courts of Roland Garros host the second Grand Slam of the season.
Facing set point as he trailed 9-10, Thiem audaciously sliced a backhand drop-shot victor.
The No. 7-seeded Thiem beat Cecchinato 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 in the semifinals Friday.
A fourth set point for Thiem was erased with - what else? - a drop shot by Cecchinato.
Any discussion about Cecchinato's match-fixing scandal should start with an acknolwedgement of his ultimate acquittal, but the circumstantial evidence certianly isn't particularly favorable (read this thread for details).More news: NASA Solves The Mystery Of Jupiter's Lightning
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