Spain’s Rafael Nadal defends his Roland Garros title on Sunday (June 10th) against Dominic Thiem. In the semifinals, he quickly took the measure of Juan Martin Del Potro.
Spaniard Rafael Nadal has qualified for the final of Roland Garros, where he will seek an eleventh historic coronation Sunday 10th June, beating Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro (6th) in three sets 6-4, 6- 1, 6-2 in just over 2am on Friday.
In the final, Nadal will face Austria’s Dominic Thiem (8th), the only player to have dominated on clay last two seasons, once in 2017 and once in 2018.
Dominic Thiem, the outsider
That’s what will make the salt of this final. Titled for the eleventh time at Monte Carlo and Barcelona on the road to Roland Garros, and for the eighth time in Rome, Majorquin, who has just turned 32, was beaten by Thiem (7-5, 6 -3) in the quarterfinals in Madrid early May.
It was already the Austrian who had inflicted his only setback on ocher last year, in the quarterfinals in Rome (6-4, 6-3) mid-May.
“I know that I will have to play at my best. I progressed over the fortnight. I will probably have to raise my level again. Dominic (Thiem) is an extraordinary player. It will be hard but I will be ready.”
In Paris this year, Nadal lost only one set – his first since 2015 – to reach the final. It was against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman (12th) in the quarterfinals.
L’Espagnol Rafael Nadal était en démonstration sur le central face à Del Potro (6/4 6/1 6/2) ! Le numéro un mondial s’est montré confiant pour la finale ce dimanche face à Thiem !! #RG18 #ROLANDGARROS pic.twitter.com/d9dCzzdYvh
— France tv sport (@francetvsport) June 8, 2018
“First set very difficult”
On central court Friday, in a first high-level set, where both players have aligned more winning strokes than direct fouls, Del Potro may regret not having been able to convert the many opportunities – six – he is provided on the service of the master of the place. The Spaniard, meanwhile, only waited for his second, at the most opportune moment, at 5-4 on the Argentinian’s commitment.
“The first set was very difficult, Juan Martin (Del Potro) had many opportunities, I was lucky to win,” said Nadal.
The rest of the match did not have the same physiognomy at all. “DelPo” was less punchy, “Rafa” was on the contrary ramped up, multiplying winning strokes along the line, and the gap was irretrievably widened.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 8, 2018
The tall Argentinean (1.98m) saved only one game in the second set, and again, after sidelining two 6-0 balls on his face-off. He won just two in the third.
Del Potro (29), whose body, especially his wrists, has often been martyred during his career, was frightened in the third game of the game, obviously blocking his left hip on a recovery of restraints.
As nine years ago against Roger Federer, the winner of the 2009 US Open stops in the semi-final Porte d’Auteuil. But his nice run on clay Paris will be rewarded by a return to the top 5 Monday for the first time since February 2014.