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Rafael Nadal speaks about his latest fantastic achievement

09 June, 2018, 20:30 | Author: John Swanson
  • Rafael Nadal

He's the pretender to the throne of the King of Clay, but rising star Dominic Thiem has a chance to usurp Rafael Nadal after reaching his first French Open final. Del Potro had forced six break points during the first set but Nadal fended each one off.

Nadal edged a tight first set against Del Potro but then blew the fifth seed away.

The Spaniard needed just over two hours to take down the Argentine en route to another French Open final with Thiem waiting in the wings.

There was a sense of inevitability in the air when Del Potro served at 4-5 and sure enough Nadal turned the screws to grab two set points at 15-40. It is nice to get the two best clay courters possible in Sunday's final.

"It's been a long time without a good feeling with my body", an emotional Del Potro said in an on-court interview.

The first set always looked key and Del Potro clinched the opener as Cilic blinked first, netting a routine forehand on the second point of the second installment of the match.

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With that being said, Thiem is on the upswing of his career.

"If he continues with this desire, he can win many more times, like Federer for Wimbledon, and other major tournaments", said Del Potro whose own Grand Slam collection remains stuck on one - his 2009 US Open breakthrough.

Over the past two seasons, Nadal is 49-2 on red clay, with both losses coming against Thiem: in the quarterfinals at Rome in May 2017, and the quarterfinals at Madrid in May 2018.

'As you suffer, when you have bad moments, for example, in Acapulco when I was stuck and couldn't play in Miami, as well, these are hard moments.

Halep will face Stephens after the US Open victor maintained her ideal record against fellow American Madison Keys with a 6-4 6-4 win in the other semi-final.

"He is a nightmare opponent for Nadal", three-times French champion Wilander, hosting Eurosport's flagship Game, Schett and Mats programme at Roland Garros, told Reuters.

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"I couldn't play my best because of him", said del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion.

He will face Rafael Nadal in the semi-final. "But I think he's very enthusiastic". "His game is too good for me".

Nadal is now 110-2 in best-of-five-set matches on the surface, 85-2 in Paris.

Nadal admitted that he was being out-played by his Argentine opponent, despite him going on to win the opening set 6-4.

Cecchinato's catalogue of drop shots which helped account for Novak Djokovic kept Thiem on his toes throughout, but once the pivotal tie-break went the seventh seed's way Cecchinato's unlikely run was all but over.

He has proved that he is a major threat to Nadal in best-of-three-set matches on clay, beating him three times, most recently in straight sets in the quarter-finals of the Masters 1000 event in Madrid this year.

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Also, while the players had the same amount of unforced errors with 26, Thiem was rewarded for his aggression as he prevailed in the winners battle 37-24. He was also able to raise his level when in danger, saving three break points in the eighth game of the third set with great shot-making, and four more in the final set.

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