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Ruthless Rafael Nadal crushes Del Potro to reach final

09 June 2018, 08:45 | Winston Chapman

GETTYRafael Nadal is rumoured to be struggling with a stomach injury

GETTYRafael Nadal is rumoured to be struggling with a stomach injury

He was in a good mindset ahead of the match.

"I'm happy and I accept my age".

Cecchinato's bid to become the spoiler's spoiler ended, for all intents and purposes, when he was unable to convert any of three set points in an entertaining second-set tiebreaker that was the middle chapter of Thiem's 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 win. I am so proud to be playing tennis. Del Potro, who has struggled with injury, recently, may find it tough to stick with the Spaniard physically and won't have what it takes to knock off the King of Clay.

Del Potro gave 11 break point chances in 23 service games (0.48 per game) in this quarter-final, considerably higher than his 0.35 per game figure on clay in 2018.

His remarkable run-remember, he won his first-round match 10-8 in the fifth set-is offset a bit by these allegations. The second set like, the first was dominated by serve until Cilic fired himself up to break at 4-4 - a furious Del Potro throwing his racket at the changeover.

Perseverance is a useful - sometimes even necessary - virtue against Nadal.

Yesh: It has been nearly a decade since del Potro made the semifinals here.

In the third game, he hurt his hip whilst twisting and stretching to get close to a screaming Nadal forehand that had completely wrong-footed him. He got some treatment, but carried on. Nadal is 2-0 against Thiem at the French Open.

Such is his motivation to win his 17th Grand Slam on Sunday, that the task facing Austrian 24-year-old Thiem was described as "almost impossible" by Del Potro. The realisation of the herculean effort he had to put in to survive on his own serve prompted him to look heavenwards and pump both his fists.

Yet Nadal, whose all-time claycourt record now stands at 414-36 says nobody should assume his feats are routine and that each victory is celebrated like the first. Del Potro was returning well, too.

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Nadal missed a match point on Schwartzman's serve and spurned two more in the following game.

After discussing his aspirations with an incredible 11th Roland Garros title now in sight, Rafa - a fervent Real Madrid fan - concluded, "I'm glad Cristiano is 23".

"He's too strong. He's improving his backhand a lot". That's why he's the No 1 and beating all the guys.

"He looks fresh. He is healthy. And the strength that he has and the mentally, everything is ideal, works flawless for him playing in clay", Del Potro added. But by now, he will be wondering if it was some sort of a glitch in the space-time continuum. "Still, I know how to play against him. Best of five is also a different story".

In order to get a shot to defeat Nadal on clay, Thiem had to first get past an improbable semifinalist, No. 72 Marco Cecchinato, which no one else had managed to do at this edition of Roland Garros.

Dominic Thiem says he has a plan to beat Rafael Nadal when he faces the reigning champion in the French Open final.

Nadal's game appeared more suited to the warmer and quicker conditions on Thursday, although he believes the change in weather did not have a major impact. For, he's healthy, in imperious form, and motivated to do something that he's done ten times before.

This was the No. 5-seeded del Potro's first semifinal at Roland Garros since 2009.

What? Increase the level?



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