Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Dominic Thiem beats Marco Cecchinato, books French Open final birth

Rafael Nadal lost his first set at Roland Garros since 2015 Rafael Nadal lost his first set at Roland Garros since 2015
| 10 June, 2018, 13:28

But Nadal's domination on the Roland Garros clay, where his record now stands at 85-2, is without equal and he will be a huge favourite to beat Grand Slam final debutant Thiem.

Del Potro would recover to win the match, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5. However, after the game, Nadal revealed that he was struggling against Del Potro in the first set.

Cecchinato mixed it up with drop shots and gradually found his range to set up three break points at 4-3, which Thiem saved thanks to his strong first serve.

In Sunday's final, Thiem will face either No. 1 Nadal or No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro.

"I am very happy to be in another Roland Garros final, it is the most important tournament of my career".

Rafael Nadal held serve in the opening game against Juan Martin del Potro in their French Open semifinal.

The Serb has a deal of work to do to get back to the stratospheric levels he reached before his right elbow gave up on him so spectacularly a year ago.

Where do I watch the matches live on television?

He is the only player to beat Nadal on clay in the past two years - in Rome last year and in Madrid last month - and this season no other player, not even the undisputed claycourt king, can count as many match wins on the red dirt.

Thiem had three set points at 6-3 but Cecchinato quashed them all and reversed a triple of set points in his favor, but he couldn't convert a tiebreaker win this time as Thiem moved ahead after two errors.


The fifth seed, playing in his first Roland Garros semi-final in nine years, had three break points in the third game and three more in the ninth.

The world No. 8 made history of his own Friday, becoming the second Austrian male to advance to a grand slam final after the hard-nosed 1995 French Open champion, Thomas Muster. "And losing against Rafa on his best surface, his best court, I'm quite relaxed about that". Nadal has also won six of his last eight grand slam final appearances and is 10-0 in French Open final appearances.

The victor will play either seventh seed Dominic Thiem, who appears in his third straight semi-final in Paris or Italian Marco Cecchinato, who will hope to continue his dream run having beaten former champion Novak Djokovic in the last round.

Nadal added Wimbledon crowns in 2008 and 2010, an Australian Open title in 2009 and completed the career Grand Slam in 2010 by defeating Djokovic in the US Open final, becoming the youngest in the Open era (since 1967) to complete the four-event career sweep.

"I have lost a lot of opportunities through injuries, and I know the years are going quick".

Del Potro insisted his hip had not troubled him during the match, instead putting the defeat down to one simple fact: "His game is too good for me". I will try everything for my plan to work out here, not only in Madrid or in Rome. "I think he likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure, and best of five is also a different story".

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

"He's been a very complex opponent".

"Today, all day, on Philippe Chatrier, the fans said "Forza, Marco", so I think this is the best moment for me", said Cecchinato.

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