Nadal, Thiem meet in final at Roland Garros

Nadal, Thiem meet in final at Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal, the 10-time champion, takes on Dominic Thiem in the French Open final on Sunday.

Such is his motivation to win today, that the task facing Austrian 24-year-old Thiem was described as "almost impossible" by Del Potro, who believes that Nadal is playing better than he has for years.

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. "You can't tell what he's going to do before he does it, but when he does it, it all looks so obvious!"

Thiem, meanwhile, becomes the first Austrian to reach a Grand Slam final since Thomas Muster triumphed at Roland Garros in 1995. I mean, not many players can beat him on clay.

"True, I understand that everybody here, you have to write things", he said.

Even a relatively one-sided semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro saw the fifth seed set up seven break point chances.

He beat the Spaniard in the Madrid quarter-finals this year having won in the Rome last-eight in 2017. Dominic Thiem has found a way to sprinkle Kryptonite into the clay courts of the great European capitals once in each of the past two seasons, defusing Rafael Nadal's superpowers in Madrid and in Rome.

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The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Argentine wiped away tears during his on-court interview, telling fans who chanted his nickname, "delPo": "It has been a long time without good feelings on my body. I'll try my best and hopefully do better than a year ago".

"I came here without big expectations", said 2009 US Open champion Del Potro who has flirted with retirement on numerous occasions after a career-long battle with wrist injuries.

"If I lost that tie-break it would have been a very close match and I didn't want that".

The 24-year-old Thiem, the youngest man since Nadal to reach the final in Paris, ended the contest on his first match point with a forehand victor.

"For that, I'm going to practice tomorrow with this idea in mind".

Ominously, perhaps, for Thiem, Nadal said: "I have to improve a little bit".

However, it was Del Potro who was in the ascendancy in the rallies in the first set.

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Juan Martin del Potro, the latest pretender to be run ragged by the world number one on Court Philippe Chatrier in this year's semi-finals, insists it's nearly impossible to beat Nadal on clay.

"He is a nightmare opponent for Nadal", Wilander said about Del Potro, as quoted on Tennis World USA. "That's why he's the No. 1 and beating all the guys", Del Potro said.

"He's an wonderful player", Nadal said of Thiem.

"He's been a very complex opponent, and one of the best players in the world on this surface".

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 sent Cecchinato scurrying around the court before breaking decisively for a 6-5 lead with a lovely forehand victor.

The Spaniard maintained his momentum to take a 2-0 lead in the second, executing the drop shot to perfection and making Del Potro run in the heat, claiming another break with a searing backhand.

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Someone in the stands cried out during his serve, disrupting his focus as he double faulted and handed Cilic a critical break for 5-4 in the second set.

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